The first Lesson for the morning service (Joel ii.) contains the prediction of the descent of the HOLY SPIRIT, the actual completion of which prediction the Church on this day looks forward to commemorate on the ensuing Sunday. The second Lesson (John xvii.) is part of the animating prayer of CHRIST for his disciples, that they might be sanctified and preserved in unity by that SPIRIT of truth which was to descend upon them. The first Lesson for the evening service (Zeph. iii.) is principally occupied in celebrating the salvation which was to be conferred upon the Church the spiritual Zion; which salvation was completed, when CHRIST, ascending into heaven, became the “king of” his spiritual “Israel”; and sent the HOLY GHOST, through whose mighty power his people are to be gathered and redeemed from their captivity to sin and Satan, and made “a praise throughout the earth.” The second Lesson for the evening (2 Thes. iii. 1-17) directs us to pray, that the “word of GOD may have free course, and be glorified”; which we may be assured will take place, through the powerful operations of the HOLY GHOST, whose coming we are soon to commemorate; and also exhorts us “patiently to wait for the coming” of that blessed Saviour who has ascended into heaven; and “not to be weary in well-doing,” since we have the prospect of a glorious reward in heaven.
The Collect prays for the descent of “the HOLY GHOST to comfort, and to exalt us to heaven, whither our Saviour CHRIST has gone before”; the Epistle exhorts us to make a good use of all the gifts of the HOLY GHOST; and the Gospel contains the promise of this blessed Comforter.
During this week, the apostles and disciples continued in the lively expectation of the Comforter, and in earnest prayer for him; on which account this week has been styled the Week of Expectation.
[Excerpt from John Henry Hobart, A Companion for the Book of Common Prayer, Containing an Explanation of the Service, 103-104. 1859.]