Posted on in Saints Are Us by The Rev. David Marshall
I want to take us on a background journey to the time leading up to Pentecost. Our Jewish brethren know this time period as “Counting the Omer,” coming from Leviticus 23:15-16. It is a time of special daily prayer and ritual 49 days between the second night of Passover to the holiday of Shavuot (the 50th day), the celebration of receiving the Law, the Torah on Mount Sinai, at the beginning of the month known as Sivan.
The Omer, the counting of the 50 days, has many spiritual traditions. Each day has ritual and prayers. The counting of the Omer demonstrates how much a Hebrew desires to accept the Torah in his or her own life.
The omer (“sheaf”) is a Biblical measure of volume of grain. One day following the shabbat (today called the feast of the unleavened bread) was the celebration of first fruits. The lead offering would have been a sheaf (omer) of a grain, rye, and then wheat. It is the time when you would offer from your first crop and sacrifice of the first fruits of your crops to God.
Now take the time to use your Christian faith, knowing the brief outline of “Counting the Omer:”
- the members of the early church, in the upper room, as faithful Jews would be involved in this practice;
- the Spirit of God descends on them bringing the “fruits” of the Spirit, God’s gifts to empower the Early Church and equip it for the work of the Gospel.
So I conclude, they, like us, ARE THE GIFTS OF THE FIRST FRUITS of the Spirit of God to the world. We go beyond the giving of a gift and become the gift God is giving.
See you next time,
– bro. John, O.C.P.