Sunday, while the country celebrated Memorial Day weekend -- some by remembering those who died in war and some with barbecues and trips to the beach -- St. Stephen’s celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. We did so by lighting a bowl of alcohol so flames shot up as the reading of Acts spoke of tongues of fire landing upon the disciples. We hung red banners – one created to move as if by the breath of God. We had red candles on the altar representing the seven gifts of the Spirit; we had red banners naming spiritual gifts lining the walls. There were red geraniums scattered throughout and streamers the colors of fire blowing in the doorway. And four people confirmed their faith.
One young adult afterwards shared, “I wish my confirmation had been like that – multi-sensory.” Multi-sensory – that is how the Spirit works, isn’t it?On all different levels – in all different ways, she catches us up and catches us off guard.
As service began Sunday the wind blew the Holy Spirit streamers into the sanctuary over the baptismal bowl and over me. I had the urge to move out of their way or grab them and hold them aside as I led the beginning of service, but then I thought, “Take a breath; let them blow over you like that uncontrollable Spirit of God.”
Later as the young people were confirmed, the Holy Spirit streamers blew over them and two people did grab them until we encouraged them to let them go. It was then that this holy moment happened as the assisting minister sprinkled the baptismal water over all of us, I felt the water hit my skin as I saw and heard the Spirit rushing through the streamers. Maybe you had to be there, but it certainly felt like the Spirit of God was blowing and descending upon us.
As service ended and we began to leave, the wind changed and the streamers began to blow out into the world blowing us with them, now touched and clothed with the Spirit’s power from on high, ready to go forth to proclaim and live the wondrous deeds of God.
That’s what I’ll remember about this Memorial Day weekend. How about you?
-- Pastor Dianne