The Little Office of the Birth of the Christian Church for Renewal on Pentecost Sunday

Joe Colletti, PhD,
Society of Urban Monks
May, 2017

 From ancient times to the present day, designated hours of the day have been set aside for sacred times with God, whether it be early morning, mid-day, twilight, late evening, or the middle of the night. These times are filled with scripture reading, periods of reflection, and prayers.

Certain days and periods of time have also been set aside as sacred times with God that are also filled with scripture reading, periods of reflection, and prayers.

Pentecost Sunday has been set aside as a sacred time with God. Christians commemorate this day as the birth of the Christian Church and there are passages of scripture that tell the story.

The Little Office of the Birth of the Christian Church for the Society of Urban Monks helps proclaim the story. The Little Office is comprised of passages of scripture for reading, reflection, and prayer that are framed around hours and periods of time noted in chapters 1 and 2 of the Book of Acts that lead up to, and include, the Day of Pentecost.

You are encouraged to observe The Little Office by designating a little time during the three Saturdays before Pentecost Sunday (June 4) for scripture reading, reflection, and prayer.

First Saturday (May 20)

The first Saturday is today, May 20, and the passage of scripture for reflection and prayer, Acts 1. 1-11, focuses on the time that Jesus spent with his disciples after the resurrection and right before his Ascension. You are encouraged to read the passage and designate a little time for reflection and prayer.

 Acts 1. 1-11

 1The first account I composed, Theophilus,
about all that Jesus began to do and teach,
2until the day when He was taken up to heaven,
after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders
to the apostles whom He had chosen.
3To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering,
by many convincing proofs,
appearing to them over a period of forty days
and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
4Gathering them together,
He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem,
but to wait for what the Father had promised,
“Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me;
5for John baptized with water,
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit
not many days from now.”
6So when they had come together,
they were asking Him, saying,
“Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs
which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
8but you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria,
and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
9And after He had said these things,
He was lifted up while they were looking on,
and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going,
behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.
11They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?
This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven,
will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

 A Time for Reflection: Be Renewed with the Holy Spirit

The passage above states that Jesus appeared to his disciples many times during the 40 days after his resurrection and before his ascension. On one occasion, he gathered them together and “commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised,” which was to “be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (verses 4 and 5).”

It is not yet 40 days after Easter Sunday, the day we commemorate the resurrection. This year, Easter Sunday was April 16. The 40th day after Easter Sunday is Friday, May 26.

So, let today (May 20) symbolize one of the 40 days in which Jesus appeared to his disciples before his ascension—the day he told them “to wait for what the Father had promised” which was to “be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Then, let Pentecost Sunday (June 4), “not many days from now,” be a time for you to be renewed by the Holy Spirit—for have you not “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Col. 3.10)?

Have we not been “urged” to offer (our) bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is (our) spiritual service of worship” and to “be transformed by the renewing of (our) mind. Then (we) will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Romans 12.2).”

As it has been in ancient times and into the present day, may you set aside certain times today as sacred times with God, whether it be morning, mid-day, twilight, late evening, or the middle of the night. And, may you fill these times with scripture reading, periods of reflection, and prayers in preparation to be renewed by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.

Second Saturday (May 27)

The passage of scripture in The Little Office for reflection and prayer for the second Saturday will be sent on the second Saturday before Pentecost Sunday, which is May 27.

Third Saturday (June 3)

The passage of scripture for reflection and prayer for the third Saturday in The Little Office will be sent on the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday, which is June 3.

Pentecost Sunday (June 4)

A time to be renewed by the Holy Spirit.

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