Visual Arts & Drama - Sunday, 28 May 2023 – Pentecost, Year A.
SYMBOLS OF THE SPIRIT
Some symbols of the Holy Spirit include:
- The descending dove: from the stories of Christ’s baptism, the dove is one of the oldest and the best known symbols for the Spirit. The dove is usually drawn in a conventionalised or stylised manner, rather than realistically; it is always white and occasionally shown with a three-rayed nimbus. Seven doves have been used to depict the ‘sevenfold’ Spirit of Isaiah 11:2-3a.
- The flame of fire: from the story of Pentecost (and Sinai), fire is also a popular symbol. This may be depicted as a single flame, or as seven flames.
- Seven burning lamps or torches (or a seven-branched candle stick): from Revelation 1 and 4:5.
- The seven-gift scroll: In order to depict the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit, a scroll may be used with the names of the seven gifts on it. The Old Testament form is given in Isaiah 11:2,3a, where the Latin Vulgate interepreted 3a as another ‘gift’ of the Spirit. The gifts are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, piety, fear. The New Testament list is taken from Revelation 5:12 (though these are not commonly recognised as ‘gifts of the Spirit’ today, they were once more common than the OT list): blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honour, power and might.
- The nine fruits of the Spirit: Again, often written on a scroll, these are taken from Galatians 5:22,23a: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
There are various possibilities for decoration:
- Use red and white flowers in the sanctuary. Could use poinsettias (like flames) or strelitzia (bird of paradise). Could include white dove and/or red candles (see last point below) in the arrangement.
- A flame design could be created using red/orange flowers.
- Arrange twelve torches (candles on high stands) at the end of the pews along the aisle (as sometimes done for carols by candlelight at Christmas), but use either red candles or red chimney glasses.
- Decorate the church with red, yellow, and orange streamers. Arrange the streamers so that they highlight the places where the Spirit works through the means of grace: the altar, the baptismal font, the pulpit/lectern.
- Decorate the church with the flags of different nationalities, especially those represented by congregational members.
- Candles in the church are usually white. This is said to be because they symbolise Christ. However, on this occasion the candles on the altar and in the sanctuary could be red, to symbolise the fire of the Spirit.
Altar Colour: Red
Simply download your preferred slides and copy the liturgy and songs into each slide.
Recommended Sources for Images
Dramatising the Readings
The readings can be read by more than one person to make the dramatic meaning of the text clearer.
For instance, the reading from Acts 2:1-21 could be read by five readers: narrator, person from another nation, person asking about meaning, person sneering, Peter; and either of the two alternative gospels could be read by two readers: narrator and Jesus.
Part of the reading from Acts 2 (eg verses 1-6) could be read first in English, and then in various languages, especially languages of people present. The rest of the passage is then read in English.