Wind, Red and Cake Mark Pentecost Celebration at Peace Lutheran Church
Color, movement and music will celebrate the Holy Spirit this Sunday at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley. And then there’s the birthday cake.
Sunday, June 8, is Pentecost, the day when Christians believe God sent his Spirit to Jesus’ followers, giving them power to overcome their fear and embark on their mission to the world. Along with Christmas and Easter, Pentecost is among the three holiest days in the church year, though the least well-known in the secular world. Inspiration from the Holy Spirit in the form of music will be showcased Sunday, with the Peace Choir singing in place of the usual sermon during the 8:45 and 11 a.m. worship services. (Peace is at 828 W. Main St., at the top of the hill near downtown Grass Valley.)
“Washed Anew,” “Canticle of the Turning” and “On the Day of Pentecost” are among the works the choir will sing, accompanied by instrumentalists. The choir has been led for many years by Director Myrna Heppe, of Nevada City. Artistic inspiration has led congregation member Ingrid Dreyer to use red banners, flowers and other objects to create a sense of wind and fire – both symbols of the Holy Spirit – in the Peace sanctuary.
“I never really think about it,” said Dreyer, of the Union Hill area. She gets “a feeling” for her art when she sees beautiful fabric. “I get this vision all of a sudden…Then, it’s a matter of how to put it together so that it’s meaningful.” Dreyer’s goal is “to make people think in a visual way,” she added.
Roots in Jewish festival
The Christian celebration of Pentecost draws from the Jewish celebration of Pentecost, or Shavuot in Hebrew, a harvest offering made 50 days after Passover. Jesus’ followers were in Jerusalem for Shavuot when the Holy Spirit came in the form of wind and flame. Suddenly, they could preach in the many languages of the city’s pilgrims, according to the Bible.
Some consider Pentecost the birthday of the Christian church, which views the Holy Spirit as “the power of God among us that heals, forgives, inspires and unites,” according to “Evangelical Lutheran Worship,” the worship book of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
That’s where the birthday cake comes in. Worshippers at the 8:45 a.m. service will be invited to sing “Happy Birthday,” and cake will be served after both services.