Pentecost is one of my favorite days in the church year. Here’s why: I love the color red (although green is my favorite); I love the story of the followers of Jesus not knowing what hit them and how everyone else thought they were drunk; and I LOVE Johnny Cash’s Burning Ring of Fire, which in my mind is THE Pentecost Anthem (with Dolly Parton’s version of Shine a close second).
And, if you’re at all familiar with the work I do with visual worship, you know I LOVE hanging stuff from my church’s ceiling. And Pentecost is the perfect time for just that. My first Pentecost at Westfield involved an oven, lots of plastic cups, hot glue, floral binding wire, and fishing line. It was stunning. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea–I mean, 3,000 neon yellow, pink, and orange plastic cups just won’t be–but it was striking in that people responded to it. It caught the light and, when the sun hit them just right, set the room on fire with color.
We’ve been suspending things from our ceiling since early February. For the season of Lent, you remember, we had giant words that lingered throughout those 40 days. Each was a theme to a sermon for the season. They were particularly striking on Maundy Thursday.
Then Easter came along, and with it dozens of tissue paper poofs that helped our brooding words flower into celebration.
So on Pentecost, something had to happen. The answer this year? 350 yards of ribbon. Each flower was replaced with a red, orange, or yellow ribbon three yards long. And it created a stunning effect.
CONFESSION: These pictures don’t do it justice–not by a long shot. The photos just don’t communicate the depth of this installation–they don’t communicate the way the ribbon surrounds you when you’re in a pew, how it rests on your shoulder or head or hangs beside you when you stand to sing.
With the help of some faithful members (and fixers of all things), the poofs came down and the ribbon went up.
Each ribbon simply clipped into the existing binding clip that suspended the poofs. It was, in the grand scheme of stuff we hung from the ceiling–one of the easiest projects we’ve taken on at Westfield.
Here’s a picture of our pickup ensemble singing for a little perspective.
Admittedly, ribbon felt like a bit of a cop out when compared to all of the bigger ways we’ve celebrated Pentecost. Yet when I walked in on Sunday morning, what struck me was its simplicity and elegance. A simple reminder of a remarkable moment in time.