Pentecost is followed by Ordinary time, the longest season of the church year. It gives us plenty of time to think about what happened when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles. I have always loved the idea that this one moment changed us, it was and is the fulfillment of God’s promise to pour out the Holy Spirit on all flesh, empowering diverse people to exercise divine power. It is commonly understood that the first to receive the power from on high are the male disciples, “locked in a closed room for fear of persecution.” Apparently these Jewish disciples were not too worried about their wives and children.
After painting several Pentecost Feast Day icons as an artist, iconographer and child of God I cannot remain silent with what I think the icon has taught me. It feels obvious that the great gift of the Holy Spirit was for all of humanity. I want to commemorate an ongoing Pentecost, a time to fill the world with spirit, where women and children are invited into the closed room and given a rightful place at the table. Images have a great deal of influence in opening the heart and the mind. Imagine a new contemporary understanding of divine light touching all human beings as well as the planet.
The Spirit Descending
A half circle of twelve descending rays is commonly found at the top of any Pentecost icon. This representation is critically important for the beginning of our narrative. “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:2-4)
Imagine that these rays represent the uncreated energies filling the universe, the same rays any of us might feel when touched by grace. These divine rays envelope us as they come from beyond time and space.
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