We have come to the midpoint of the days that commence with Pascha and the saving Resurrection and that conclude with the feast of holy Pentecost.
Connecting these two greatest feasts, drawing splendor from both of them, this holiday is splendid.
We solemnly celebrate Mid-Pentecost, anticipating the Master’s glorious Ascension.
Halfway between Pascha and Pentecost comes the celebration of Mid-Pentecost, not a popularly recognized feast of the Church but solemnly observed with the Divine Liturgy every year on the Wednesday after the Sunday of the Paralytic.
As the hymn above states, it is a feast that partakes of the grace of both the Resurrection and the Coming of the Spirit. In one sense it looks back at the victory of Christ over death, but also looks ahead to the Promise of Christ, that after ascending into heaven He would send the Holy Spirit.
In John 7:37-38 Jesus says:
“If any one thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.”
Here, the Lord is speaking about the Gift of the Holy Spirit, the priceless grace of receiving the Holy Spirit through believing in Jesus as the Messiah sent by God the Father. This is made clear in the next verse:
“Now this Jesus said about the Spirit, which those who believed in Him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39).
Jesus’ glorification is the totality of His death, resurrection, and ascension, and it is only after these events that the Holy Spirit is sent upon the Church.
And so, at this midpoint between Pascha and Pentecost, while chanting, “Christ is risen!” we also pray with St. Symeon the New Theologian concerning the Spirit of God:
Come, true light. Come. life eternal. Come, hidden mystery. Come, treasure without name. Come, reality beyond all words. Come, person beyond all understanding. Come, rejoicing without end. Come, light that knows no evening. Come, unfailing expectation of the saved. Come, the raising of the fallen. Come, the resurrection of the dead.
Come, my breath and my life. Come, the consolation of my humble soul. Come, my joy, my glory, my endless delight.