Whitsunday: Part One

Dude, I didn’t even know what Whitsunday was.
Then I was like, oh, yeah. It’s that.  The tongues of fire. The disciples. The Holy Spirit. I had known it as Pentecost. I didn’t realize they were one and the same.
I had heard the story many times before --- I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home. Though I confess, as a child, the term “tongues of fire” brought a bit of confusion, and some unusual imagery. It was celebrated in all the faith traditions I had visited, but I never connected it with Whitsunday or a part of the liturgical calendar.
I had never been to an Episcopalian Whitsunday service before last year, and just by chance [or perhaps by divine intervention] I just happened to wear red. Which I found was not a requirement, but a part of the celebration.
I’m a very visual person. I think many artists are. I remember the choir in a procession singing, and one of them had –not really a puppet, I’m not sure how to describe it— a large, decorative, paper dove at the end of a pole that he caused to dance over the heads of the congregation.  It was a beautiful scene…though I confess, I’m a bit of a klutz, so I did start thinking, thank GOD I’m not the one assigned to do that,because I could see me smacking some member of the congregation upside the head with it. Or tripping. (Needless to say, I will not be seeking to become a lay chalice bearer.)
But when I saw this gorgeous image and the singing of Holy Spirit come to us, something clicked.
Yes. Spirit. Fire. Peace.
God is with us even now.
PS—here’s a painting of Pentecost by Jean Restout (1732) that I came across. I thought it looked cool, so I wanted to post it.

Oh, and special thanks to my priest—S---for patiently pointing out to me that it is tradition to abbreviate Book of Common Prayer as BCP. And everyone, feel free to call me on anything like that. I’m learning. I guess, in some ways, we all are.

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