One of the largest icons at our parish, Saint John Orthodox in Memphis, is of the Feast of Pentecost (at left), which we will celebrate this coming Sunday. Art, poetry, and music are all important aspects of the spiritual world for me, so I’m going to share a bit of art and poetry with you today in anticipation of the feast on Sunday.
Whatever your spiritual tradition, I hope that these images and words will bring peace and joy, which are fruits of the Holy Spirit—the One we celebrate at Pentecost. (To see a slide show of all the icons in the nave at Saint John, click here.)
Note the first poem mentions a “maid,” which refers to the Mother of God. I’ve included an icon of Pentecost in which she is seated with the apostles.
The Icon of Pentecost
At the Church’s birth,
Licked clean by flames of Spirit
Maid and Apostles in horseshoe
Make sweet maternal crib
In whose dark cave
The World, that Old King,
Waits with a swaddling cloth.
Frances Hall Ford
Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.