Pentecost: relighting the candles of faith

Would it have been a disaster if our 4 year old son had blown out the candles? Probably not. We could have re-lit them. It could have been embarrassing though.

We were visiting Clifton Cathedral (Catholic), in Bristol. Thankfully for us the building was more or less empty at the time. Our younger son, standing in front of a stand holding a ring of votive candles alight with flames thought 'birthday cake candles'.

He filled his little lungs with air ready to make an enormous effort to blow the candles out. I grabbed and diverted him just in time. The candles stayed lit.

So, what has that memory got to do with the Feast of Pentecost?

3 things:

  • In that same Cathedral is the beautiful stained glass window by Henry Haig entitled 'Pentecost', symbolising the event recounted in Acts 2: 1 - 11. I love it! There is also another window by the same artist called 'Jubilation', symbolizing the joy of the Holy Spirit.
  • Pentecost ('Whit Sunday'), at the end of the 50 days of Easter, is sometimes called 'the birthday of the church' because the apostles were empowered to proclaim the good news of Jesus and the community of Jesus' followers grew fast from that day. Some churches have a birthday cake with candles at Pentecost to celebrate and share. Much fun can be had with blowing out the candles, especially if they are the the re-igniting variety.
  • However hard you try you cannot extinguish the Spirit of Jesus. The Holy Spirit cannot be controlled, but can be welcomed. Our little flames of faith can flicker and dim, but they can be relit or fanned into flame and that is part of the point of celebrating the Feast of Pentecost.

A Prayer Song for re-lighting the candles of faith

(from Taizé)

Holy Spirit, come to us,
kindle in us the fire of your love.
Holy Spirit, come to us.

Image Credit: Wikipedia