Encouragement for the Journey 25 May 2014

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Encouragement for the Journey 25 May 2014

Encouragement for the Journey 

Pentecost (resized)

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Last year in my Pentecost reflection I spoke about Holy Spirit Holes. I remind you: Pentecost was one of the great festivals celebrated in the great church buildings of mediaeval Europe. Their doomed and vaulted ceilings often beautifully painted with ornate scenes and designs, also had disguised a number of trap doors, which were used for Pentecost celebrations, these are called ‘Holy Spirit Holes.’

During worship some poor parishioners would be drafted to climb up on the roof. At the appropriate moment in worship they would release live doves through the trap doors of the painted skies and clouds of the ceiling. These doves would come swooping down on the congregation as living symbols of the presence of the Holy Spirit. At the same moment, the choir boys were encouraged to make whooshing and drumming sounds, like a holy windstorm.

Then, finally, as the doves swooped, the trap doors were again opened, and rose petals were showered upon the congregation, symbolising tongues of flame falling upon the faithful below.

Imagine the people standing below, for seating was only a recent addition in cathedrals after the reformation in 16th Century. The whole experience brought the power, wonder, mystery and the experience of Pentecost to the gathered people. Far from Pentecost being a cerebral experience, it was holistic, felt, smelt and touched experience, as the people were dramatically involved in the drama. Imagine doves flying around the high domes and arches of those majestic gothic cathedrals and churches, demonstrating utter freedom, the petals gently falling freedom to land where they will. No wonder the early Celtic Christians described the Holy Spirit like ‘A wild Goose.’ Theimagery is powerful, utter freedom, doing its own thing, without human constraints or influence.

I leave you with this reflection from The St Hilda Community:

Flame dancing Spirit, come Sweep us off our feet and Dance us through our days. Surprise us with your rhythms; Dare us to try new steps, explore New patterns and new partnerships; Release us from old routines To swing in abandoned joy and Fearful adventure. And in the intervals Rest us In your still centre

Meanwhile peace in the beauty of the wild goose

Alf