Friday, June 10, 2011
This Sunday is Whitsun. The word Whitsun, which means "white Sunday', comes from the tradition of wearing white baptismal dresses at the festival of Whitsun, or Pentecost. The word Pentecost comes from the Greek and means the fiftieth day after Easter.
At our dining table we shall have a circle of twelve candles around one larger candle in the center. On Whitsun morning we will light the center candle and say a verse (still deciding on which one). Then we will each light a candle from the center one. The girls will then light the remaining candles for others who are connected with them, and those who have passed away. Each girl experiences a community of people surrounding them. This deed of lighting candles for others will later grow into prayer for other people. The symbolism of the candle is of the twelve disciples. The fire of the Holy Spirit hovered as twelve flames, one above the head of each disciple.
K's white dove she made at school, now residing on our nature table
The white dove is a symbolic image of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is sometimes called the Spirit of Truth. In celebrating Whitsun we celebrate the insight that the singularity of the individual is sacred, that a spark of divine fire shines from each one of us, and that the accord between individuals rests on the ability truly to understand one another. To communicate in a spirit of truth is often difficult challenge in today's world. If this challenge can be met, even in modest ways, then the vision of the dove descending - the symbol of the Holy Spirit and the symbol of peace - becomes a reality for individuals, for groups, for nations.
Such a beautiful celebration, don't you think?
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and a joyous Whitsun!
*Information can be found in 'Festivals with Children' and 'All Year Round'.*