CALLED TO SOMETHING NEW
(Tuesday, July 11)
“O Lord, You sent Your most Holy Spirit upon Your Apostles at the third hour. Take Him not from us, O Good One, *but renew us, who pray to You* (ἀλλ᾽ἐγκαίνισον ἡμῖν τοῖς δεομένοις σου / но обнови нас молящихтися.).” (Troparion of the Third Hour)
We may tend to think of our Orthodox faith as something old, as an “ancient faith.” And historically speaking, it is that. But in practice, in our daily lives, it is always something new, challenging us to be “renewed” by the grace of the Holy Spirit, as were the Apostles “at the third hour” of Pentecost. How were the Apostles “renewed”? They were empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit to speak in a new way, “with other tongues” (Acts 2:4), so that “others” who did not speak their language could understand them.
As those of us on the Older Calendar prepare to celebrate tomorrow’s feast of the “chiefs of the Apostles,” Sts. Peter and Paul, I’m reflecting on how the above-quoted Troparion of “The Third Hour,” (a brief prayer-service that is meant to be celebrated daily at some point between 9 am and 12 noon) connects *us* and our *Third Hour* (our late morning) with the one the Apostles experienced on Pentecost. The Troparion challenges us to accept change, to accept the *newness* that comes from letting the Holy Spirit act in our lives, through our ups and downs, through the loss of the old and receiving of the new. We ourselves can be born anew, and can learn to speak with *others* in ever-new ways, from each loss or rejection of the old, when we let ourselves be led not by fear but by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Holy Apostles, pray to God for us today!