Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
Today we are observing the Festival of Pentecost. We are giving thanks to the Father Almighty, through Jesus Christ our Lord; according to Whose most true promise, the Holy Ghost came down as at this time from Heaven, lighting upon the disciples, to teach them, and to lead them into all truth; giving them boldness with fervent zeal constantly to preach the Gospel unto all nations; whereby we have been brought out of darkness and error into the clear light and true knowledge of thee, and of Thy Son Jesus Christ.
"Jesus said unto His disciples, If ye love me, keep My Commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth." "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things."
"I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets."
We address our prayers to God the Holy Ghost with devout remembrances. We remember what the angel said unto Mary. "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
We remember that when all the people were baptized, "it came to pass that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove, and a voice came from heaven which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased."
We remember the glory of this Festival, "When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the place where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."
We remember when the Bishop prayed for us, "Almighty and ever living God, Who has vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants with water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins; strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength, the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them, O Lord, with the Spirit of Thy holy fear."
We remember how, in our interior and most personal lives, we were conscious of leadings which amounted to an over-ruling Providence which, as we afterward recognized, saved us from disastrous mistakes.
We remember how, in times of aloneness, we were conscious of God's Presence standing beside us and strengthening us.
We remember how, in times of conscious ignorance, we were led through darkness and out into the clear light of God's truth.
We remember how in times of danger, when literally our foes pressed on from every side, a strange sense of power, a spirit of might, possessed us, and we were strong, for the moments when we most needed to be strong.
We remember days when our prayers were languid, not because we did not care, but because we cared so much. There was a double weight of grief and fear. And we were exhausted. And yet we were sustained, weak as we knew ourselves to be. And things were happening. We were being aided by an unseen Advocate.
We remember sorrows that were turned into joy.
We remember Pentecosts of our own. We thank God for them.
Affectionately in Our Lord,