5/12/13 What are Apostles?
5/19/13 Is there an "office" of Apostle?
5/26/13 Are there any Apostles in the church today?
6/2/13 Is there new revelation in the church today?
Panel: Jonathan Switzer, Senior Pastor at Crossroads Valley Chapel; Dr. Brian Lee, Senior Pastor at Christ Reformed Church in DC.
6/9/13 What is Quakerism?
6/16/13 What is the ground for belief and behavior?
6/23/13 What is the path to peace?
6/30/13 What is meant by "all people are created equal"?
Panel: Jonathan Switzer, Senior Pastor at Crossroads Valley Chapel; Annette Breiling, Founder of Friends Meeting School in Ijamesville and Trustee of Sandy Spring Friends School.
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Crossroads Valley Chapel
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[Public Domain: Free for download]
A Harmony of the Four Gospels in English By Edward Robinson http://tinyurl.com/34fvwc (available as text or pictures)
The NIV Harmony of the Gospels
By Stanley N. Gundry, Robert L. Thomas
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, "Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God."
Shavuot, a Jewish festival mandated by the Law of Moses is the root of the Christian celebration of Pentecost. Shavuot commemorates the day when on Mount Sinai the Torah was given to the Jewish people. In Scripture it is called the "festival of weeks" (cf. Exodus 34:22 & Deuteronomy 16:10). It is also labeled the "feast of the harvest" (cf. Exodus 23:16) and the "day of firstfruits" (cf. Numbers 28:26). Pentecost or "Pentekoste," the transliterated word from the Greek, means "the fiftieth" and is linked to Shavuot because Pentecost arrives fifty days after Easter, although literally celebrated on the forty-ninth day; and Shavuot recalls the Torah being given on Mount Sinai fifty days after Israel's departure from the land of Egypt. It is actually during Shavuot "when the time for Pentecost was fulfilled". Blessed Columba Marmion wrote: "The Holy Spirit appeared under the form of tongues of fire in order to fill the apostles with truth and to prepare them to bear witness to Jesus. He also came to fill their hearts with love. He is the Person of Love in the life of God. He is also like a breath, an aspiration of infinite Love, from which we draw the breath of life. On the day of Pentecost the Divine Spirit communicated such an abundance of life to the whole Church that to symbolize it 'there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they [the apostles] were sitting.' The Holy Spirit came to remain with the Church forever. This is the promise of Jesus Himself. He dwells in the Church permanently and unfailingly, performing in it without ceasing, His action of life-giving and sanctification. He establishes the Church infallibly in the truth. It is He Who makes the Church blossom forth with a marvelous supernatural fruitfulness, for He brings to life and full fruition in Virgins, Martyrs, Confessors, those heroic virtues which are one of the marks of true sanctity" (Les Mysteres du Rosaire). To expound a little on Blessed Columba's thoughts about the tongues of fire preparing the apostles to bear witness to Jesus, the image of tongues perhaps more specifically points to the power that would be prevalent in the apostles' preaching. Also coming to mind is a statement made by Saint John the Baptist: "He [Christ] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Luke 3:16). Our liturgical text reads that the tongues "parted" which means that before the parting they were together indicating the unity the Holy Spirit would give to the Church; and then by parting intimates the dispersion of the Good News to all nations and peoples. The universality of the Church is revealed by the many nations and languages present and yet all understanding the proclamations "of the mighty acts of God". Acts 1:14 indicates that the Blessed Virgin Mary was present in the Upper Room. If there was ever a time the ancient world needed a mother's assurance and love, this was it. Jesus is no longer physically present to the apostles. It was surely a stressful time; but they were all "persevering with one mind in prayer" (Acts 1:14). Perhaps it was the Blessed Virgin Mary who opened their hearts to prayer. She did, after all, exemplify trust in God at the Annunciation: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). Blessed John Paul II shared these words: "In the atmosphere of expectation that prevailed in the Upper Room after the Ascension, what was Mary's position in relation to the descent of the Holy Spirit? Having already had a unique experience of the effectiveness of such a gift, the Blessed Virgin was in a condition to appreciate it more than anyone; indeed, she owed her Motherhood to the mysterious intervention of the Spirit, Who had made her the way by which the Savior came into the world. Unlike those in the Upper Room who were waiting in fearful expectation, she, fully aware of the importance of her Son's promise to the disciples, helped the community to be well disposed to the coming of the Paraclete. Thus, while her unique experience made her ardently long for the Spirit's coming, it also involved her in preparing the minds and hearts of those around her. It was appropriate that the first out pouring of the Spirit upon her, which had happened in view of her divine Motherhood, should be repeated and reinforced. Indeed, at the foot of the Cross Mary was entrusted with a new Motherhood, which concerned Jesus' disciples. It was precisely this mission that demanded a renewed gift of the Spirit. The Blessed Virgin therefore wanted it for the fruitfulness of her spiritual Motherhood. While at the moment of the Incarnation the Holy Spirit had descended upon her as a person called to take part worthily in the great mystery, everything is now accomplished for the sake of the Church, whose Image, Model and Mother Mary is called to be. Thus Pentecost is also a fruit of the Blessed Virgin's incessant prayer, which is accepted by the Paraclete with special favor because it is an expression of her Motherly love for the Lord's disciples. Responding to the prayer of the Blessed Virgin and the community gathered in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit bestows the fullness of His gifts on the Blessed Virgin and those present, working a deep transformation in them for the sake of spreading the Good News. The Mother of Christ and His disciples are granted new strength and new apostolic energy for the Church's growth" (L'Osservatore Romano, June 4, 1997).