Preparing for Worship

by | May 17, 2024 | Preparing For Worship

By Juliana Moore. 

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day on which the worldwide Christian church remembers the gift of the Holy Spirit. To mark this occasion in the church year, our Sanctuary paraments and the choir stoles are red, symbolizing the tongues of flame described in the second chapter of Acts.

But my favorite aspect of Pentecost Sunday at Wilshire is the tintinnabulum because (a) it’s just a fun word to say, and (b) it’s got BELLS! The word derives from Latin, literally translated “to jingle.” Liturgically, tintinnabula have been employed as a means of illustrating the free-flowing work of the Holy Spirit. Wilshire’s tintinnabulum was created around 2006 by fabric artist Shirley Cunningham, who also designed the Sanctuary paraments.

So yes, today’s service is filled with the symbolism of the Holy Spirit. We start by seeing the red stoles and paraments and hearing the sounds of the marimba and tintinnabulum. Then we experience all the feelings as we witness the baptism of our beloved friend and staff member Chelsea, and we recognize, bless, and send out our graduates. Finally, we dedicate and welcome a new child of God. It is so much. It is a red-letter, spirit-filled day at Wilshire.

As I preview the order of worship, I find joy leaping off the pages. However, I must recognize that people sharing the pew with me may not be having the same reaction. You may be experiencing significant melancholy at the thought of graduation. You may struggle with baby dedications. Instead of beautiful jingling bells, your internal tintinnabulum may be barely audible, or it may sound like a tornado inside your head/heart/soul.

Nevertheless, whether it’s a calming sound of refuge or a siren song of distress, thank God, literally, for the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity. The Spirit, who comes to help us in our weakness. Our comforter and intercessor. Whether the Spirit comes as tongues of fire or as a dove, as a mighty rushing wind or the gentle chiming of bells, thanks be to God.

Lord, thank you for the gift of your indwelling Spirit. Bless this service of worship that we may hear your Spirit, that we may feel your Spirit and that we may know its abiding presence in our lives.