Zeleni sviata literally translates into Green holy days. This is what we call Pentecost when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Disciples. On this Sunday our entire Church commemorates the dead, visiting cemeteries and singing panachydy. Does it seem paradoxical? Green is the colour of new life, hope, growth, and care for the natural environment. Underlying these dynamic attributes is Love. Divine Love generates this flood of greenery and gives us fresh oxygen for life. We decorate our homes and churches with boughs of greenery to symbolize our shared spirit with each other in our communities, with nature, and yes—even with those who have joined the angels. Monday is the second Green holy day: the feast of the Trinity.
On these days we renew the vows we made through our Godparents at our baptism! When we were anointed we received (sacramentally) the Holy Spirit. From that moment on, like the apostles, we acknowledged God in us. We were infants, but our family and our community vowed to bring the Spirit to life in us. We are one in the Spirit of God. We are one in Christ. Each of us has the flame of the Spirit in our souls; each of us is given this gift of God’s Love. But we must fan the flame into fire. How? Through loving. By practicing love, we learn to love and to be loved. That’s why our parish community is so important. Together we emulate the Trinity, forever reaching out to others, embracing others and supporting each other in living a life of love. Love begets love only when one is open to consciously trying to be loving: we try and perhaps daily or even hourly we fail, but with the Spirit we try again and again, rejoicing in the goodness we can see and feel with our renewed attempts. When we ignore the Spirit in us, when we deny its presence and stifle its flame, we open ourselves to greed, selfishness, distrust and even hatred. This stifling of the Holy Spirit brings war and oppression.
We are so blessed to have each other, here in our church of the Transfiguration of our Lord. Each person’s kindness, welcome, and generosity continues to nourish the Trinitarian flame. Just as the apostles marveled that they could share the Good News of Christ with those who spoke various languages, so too we can be glad of our bilingual community: praying together and sharing the Eucharist, whether we speak English or Ukrainian. As community we grow in compassion and delight in opportunities of service, whether it is to clean the church grounds or take volunteer to visit a parishioner who is unwell. These Zeleni Sviata, we pray together for the Holy Spirit to rekindle the flames of our collective energy, so that together we may grow in courage, strength and joy, bringing the love and peace of Christ to all who join us.