Saint Sophia Cathedral, Washington, DC. - The Holy Wisdom of God

Mid Penetecost Icon.jpg

Celebrated on the Feast of Mid-Pentecost

Consecrated May 10, 2015, 111 years after its founding.

[To] those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [is] the power of God and wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24

How is Christ the Power and Wisdom of God?

God's power allowed Him to become human in a way that flummoxed nature. He became man to rescue us from the grips of death, both in Hades and in sin, and to restore the human relationship with God that Adam and Eve had lost us. Thus He allowed us to be able to live with Him forever. Christ is the Power and Wisdom of God because of this brilliant mission.

Couldn't God have reversed Adam and Eve's fall from grace without having to endure the horrible crucifixion?

How? God wiped out all of sinful humanity from the face of the Earth except Noah and his family. Within minutes, Noah's son sinned with no opportunity for repair; the situation rapidly deteriorated again.

Then, God gave humanity the Law, the judges, and the sacrifice system to guide His people away from sin and back into relationship with Him. Yet death still prevailed.

So, there was no other way. He had to come to Earth Himself, and die in order to enter Hades, and release the dead. Then God could come in the form of the Holy Spirit to be an internal guiding light to His people.

Through the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Spirit, the grip of sin and death does not have the lasting effect that it once had. Αγία Σοφία, Christ, the Holy Wisdom of God!

Two Passovers and Two Pentecosts

Passover was the night when the Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Jews whose doorways were painted with the sacrificial lambs’ sin-infused blood. The next morning, when Pharaoh found his own first-born son dead, he released his hold on God's people and freed them from slavery's harsh bondage. The blood of the lamb repelled the Angel of Death and the death of Pharaoh's first-born son freed the slaves. Sound familiar?

Fifty days into the Exodus, God handed the Law and the Ten Commandments to Moses. This transfer is celebrated as the feast of Pentecost. It was God's first attempt to reunite with all of His people by telling them what He liked, and therefore how to be like Him.

On Pascha, the second Passover, the blood of the Lamb of God drove Christ into Hades to free the captives of death. This time, the blood of the 'Lamb' not only repelled death, it annihilated death. The death of Pharaoh's first-born son, which released Jews from slavery, was bested by the death of God's only begotten Son, which released both Jews and Gentiles from the bondage of sin and eternal death.

Fifty days after Pascha, God completed the first Pentecost. The first Pentecost gave the Jews the Law. The second Pentecost gave first to the Jews, and then to the converted Gentiles, the Holy Spirit. As our internal companion, the Holy Spirit helps us understand the spirit of the Law, the likeness of God, written on our hearts.

But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:33

So what is Mid-Pentecost?

Pascha and Pentecost, meet on the 25th day between them. Like the child of two loving parents, Pascha and Pentecost, Mid-Pentecost commemorates the totality of the Holy Wisdom of God, Αγία Σοθια.

Mid-Pentecost joins the two most essential events that join us to God, to herald their common purpose, that is, to restore fallen mortal man to the immortal image and likeness of God, our Creator.

To all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12, 13

Spirit- filled believers gradually become a new creation of man; we are becoming children of God.

What does Mid-Pentecost have to do with the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple?

And when He was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival (Passover). When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents did not know it. Assuming He was in the group of travelers, they went a days journey. Then they started to look for Him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him. After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, Child, why have You treated us like this? Look, Your father and I have been searching for You in great anxiety. He said to them, Why were you searching for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Fathers house?But they did not understand what He said to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. Luke 2:42-51

If there is only one thing we know about God, it is His affinity for shrinking, for the small things, for condescending, for humility. He can't get any bigger, so He does the opposite (1Kings 19:12). His power is represented in the small ways in which He reveals Himself. Christ's wisdom as an adult during the festival of Passover, when He preached in the temple, indicates to us how wise He was. But the twelve-year-old Jesus, shows us His Godly wisdom even more: He was so young and rarely travelled to the temple because He lived so far away in Nazareth. "And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding."

Holy Child Jesus had not yet performed any miracles. He had not yet been baptized or healed anyone, or walked on water, or raised from the dead Lazarus, or the son of one and the daughter of others. He had not yet been crucified or resurrected. But He was still God and, at twelve years old, all He had to show for it was His wisdom.

How does that relate to us?

Parishioners of Saint Sophia Cathedral, whether five or ninety-five years old, should reflect on the Holy Child Jesus. As we enter the temple of our church, let's be reminded of the Αγία Σοφία, Holy Wisdom of God, which vivified us with Resurrection and Pentecost. More than that, let's recognize ourselves to be reflections of the twelve- year-old Christ, in the temple of our Father, thirsting for knowledge. Let's ponder in our hearts how to embody the Wisdom of God at Mid-Pentecost in its nascent form, through the boy Jesus.

As with the Holy Child Jesus, each of us Saint Sophians has a magnificent future: a future of small deaths and large resurrections and, being filled with the Holy Spirit, an eternal life in which we will meet God face-to-face in new bodies. As Orthodox Christians we live in continual anticipation of a glorious eternal life, for which we express our gratitude now through our works.

Names have meaning: they identify us, and they purpose us. To be a Saint Sophian is to be aware of the power and wisdom of Mid-Pentecost, and to worship with the enthusiasm of twelve-year-old-Jesus.

We don't have to walk on water; we don't have to raise the dead; we don't have to feed five thousand with a loaf of bread. We have only to enter the temple as the home of our Father and learn and worship until someday we find ourselves transformed into full-fledged children of God. Δόξα ο θεός.

The Love Mom Mark

The fifth commandment demands that we honor mom...every day. 

They need more wine.  (Jn 2:3) Woman what does your concern have to so with me? (Jn 2:4)  Whatever He says to you, do it. (Jn 2:5)

One man said he would do it and did not, the other refused, but regretted it and and went. Which of the two did the will of his father? (Mt 21:28)

Look your mother is seeking You. Who is My mother or My brothers?  For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and My mother. (Mk 3:33-35)

John, behold your Mother. (Jn 19:27)

This mark says to do what she asks, whether you want to or not.

Never leave your mom vulnerable. Care for her. If you must go, then find John and turn her over to him.

The Mark of Christmas

The Mark is the target formed by the commands of Christ. They teach us how to be like God, how to become a child of God. Unlike most teachers and preachers, Jesus Christ shows by example everything He tells us to do, and more. The wisest among us study Christ's life as much as we study His teachings. Even his birth teaches.

I wonder if it was even harder to be born than it was to be crucified. We think that the pain and humiliation of the crucifixion was the ultimate act of love because we can identify with the unfair trial, or imagine people jeering at us with disdain. We can imagine the embarrassment of the public flogging and the grief and agony of leaving behind our friends and family at death.

On the other hand, we can no more imagine the human birth of God’s only begotten Son than we can remember our own.

When Christ told the man to sell all he had, give the money to the poor and follow him, was He reminded of Christmas when He shed the glory of the heavenly throne to become a helpless infant born to modest parents in a stable? Jesus Christ let go of everything He had to give us eternal life in obedience to His Father. He has indeed done everything He asks us to do.

The Mark of Christmas is to find ways to emulate this level of love, humility, and adventure!

Hark! Do you hear herald angels singing?

I pray that this Christmastime brings you the humbling awareness of the enormous sacrifice that became Christmas.

Maybe our extensive debt-making gift-buying is one way to do it! Spend all that you have on your friends and enemies and follow Him.

Peace to you,

Abundance to you,

Light in you,


Ascension to Pentecost - Our Turn

Last Thursday, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, ascended to God His Father after His great mission on earth to reverse the separation between humanity and its Creator caused by our friend Eve, and her husband Adam. Jesus went back home to heaven from where He came. Apostle John told us this in his Gospel when he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

The time between Easter and the Ascension, when Jesus walked on earth in His new body is spectacular. There are only 11 sightings of Him. We know He ate food and walked through walls: two very fun things to do. It is said that He was showing us what our immortals bodies will be like. I’m so glad we will still be able to eat! “Thanks God!”

Finally one Thursday, because the powerful 40 day time period had passed, as it did when He was in the wilderness being tempted, as it did when Moses visited God on Mt. Sinai, as it did when Noah was in the ark, and the 40 year Exodus, and the 40 years of David’s reign; when the 40 days had passed, Jesus was ready, willing, and able to go Home.

It was no longer useful to God to have Jesus walking around His beloved planet Earth because His mission was accomplished. Besides, one man, as divine as He was, could only do so much. God, the Father, would replace Jesus with His own Holy Spirit.

Miracles are not enough, and never were, to restore the relationship between God and those whom He made in His image and likeness: that’s us aspiring immortals, His children, and His creation called mankind. Miracles are a good start, but only a start.

So that we could follow Jesus’ ascension to heaven, to God the Father in the presence of the host of angels, we need the Holy Spirit to guide us, and teach us, and heal, and comfort us.

In these days between Ascension and Pentecost, we experience in our souls, those receptors of God’s communication with us, the mysterious period of time when neither Jesus is here, nor has the Holy Spirit been sent. It is an empty time of loss and anticipation. Stop, think, and feel.

To experience through the imagination, is no less an experience. It is replete with sensory information that can be quite valuable to our formation as true children of God. In this ten-day period between the ascension and Pentecost, let us take some time to look around at a world with only the memory of Jesus and His amazing mission and His spectacular ascension. Let us anticipate something we could never imagine in our wildest dreams. God, the Holy Spirit will come to dwell within our bodies and minds one person at a time. If we can imagine what it is like to live without that aid, then perhaps when the time comes, we will be able to perceive the presence of the Spirit within and be in a perfect position to have our own ascension to the Father. Follow the Leader.

The Slow Birth of the Bride

It is written that God made man on the sixth day, and that it was a terrible disappointment how he turned out because man disobeyed God’s warning not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so the man and his woman died of distrust and disobedience. God does not make mistakes. He knew that was only the first step in the creation of His most glorious opus—self replication for the purpose of creating His Bride.

After many thousands of years when the creation had time to settle in, God’s magnificent endeavor was ready for the next phase. During Passover, the miraculous escape from the tyranny of slavery of the children of Abraham-Isaac-n-Jacob extracted from humankind a chosen body.

Fifty days after Passover Moses brought down from the mountain Sinai the Tablets of Law. Shavuot is marked by the harvest of winter wheat, the Festival of Reaping. From His place on high God sent wheat and words to live by. The Lord provides. The chosen were to replicate God by being Law abiding people. Heppy Shavout or as the Greek-Jews would say, ‘Heppy Pentecost.’

After many thousands of years when the chosen of God had time to settle in, His magnificent endeavor was ready for the next phase. Just as the first step of the sixth day birth of mankind was not a failure; the second step of replication by Law was not a failure either. They were the slow deliberate steps-necessary for the formation of the immortal Bride of God, a single golden thread of light glimmering in the woof and weave of earthly life. Birth takes time.

The third trimester began at Pascha/Easter after the miraculous escape of the natural body from the tyranny of death by the archetypal Golden One among the chosen ones, the immortal Christ Jesus.

Fifty days later, from a mountaintop light-years higher than Sinai, the gift of the Law was supplemented by the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s opus to create His Bride, His helpmeet, His counterpart was complete. She was born in a room filled with men of the Law of Likeness. She spoke in words everyone could understand. She was crowned with tongues of fire. This Bride of God gives birth to children of God, filled with His Holy Spirit to replicate Him throughout the world and unto the ages of the ages!

This, my aspiring immortal friend is why and how it took so very long for God’s Bride to be born. The Pentecost of the Law and the Pentecost of the Spirit mark release from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, and release from mortality to immortality with one purpose, to replicate God in His Bride.  In English Her name is Church, Ecclesia in Greek. She is Jewish and she is gentile. E pluribus Unum, ‘Out of many, One.’ She is One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic, a genuine beauty!

Heppy Birthday Bride of God. Let’s get our white gown ready! I hear the Bride Groom coming!