Fifty Days after Passover Jews observe the Feast of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, which originated as the conclusion of the Spring harvest season in Israel. Between Passover and Shavuot barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates and lastly wheat would be harvested. According to the Biblical command (Deuteronomy 8:8) growers would bind the first fruits […]
Many Christian Churches in America were founded by a pastor who had a Bible, a microphone and a conviction that God wanted him to preach. So he gathered a few followers (often his own relatives), rented space and scheduled services. Americans see nothing unusual in this – after all freedom of speech and individual initiative […]
Several hymns of Pentecost allude to promises made by Christ concerning the coming Holy Spirit. He would be “another Paraclete” (Comforter or Advocate), Jesus Himself being their first Paraclete. The Holy Spirit, being immaterial, would “abide with you forever” (John 14:15). He would be “everywhere present and filling all things,” as we say in the […]
In monastic or religious circles it is common for spiritual leaders to leave their followers a “spiritual testament,” an outline of the teachings and instructions which they want uppermost in their disciples’ minds. Christ’s prayer in John 17 is a kind of spiritual testament. In it the Lord expresses His holy will for Himself, for His apostles, for the Church and for all mankind on the eve of His crucifixion.