Pentecost fails to ignite

Pentecost is no match for the World of Wearable Art that puts the Wow factor into Wellington. The festival where art, fashion and theatre collide, the only boundaries being the limits of human imagination .

Festivals need to promise good times, strutting their stuff with music, laughter, food, entertainment and, if we allow them to, speaking subtly of a deeper connectivity, that becomes apparent through the creativity of the human spirit.

The ancient Artemisia festival had it all. People gathered from all over Turkey to enjoy food, wine, music, games and theatrical contests in honour of the Goddess. As well as providing a boost for the economy it was an opportunity to flutter eyelashes and flex muscles to impress a potential mate. Definitely a crowd puller, even Pliny the Roman writer thought so.

The Temple to Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a sanctuary to those fleeing from persecution or punishment. But today it lies barren and forgotten. There are no festivals. No special days. Little marking what was once a pinnacle of cultural sophistication and spiritual enlightenment.
The Christian festival of Pentecost may be headed in this direction, even though its beginning, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, was the big bang event for the church.
So the story goes, a great wind came from heaven and filled the house where a group of Jesus followers were gathered. Tongues of fire rested on each person and they were filled with what the writer calls the Holy Spirit. Quite a sensational story; no wonder Archbishop Justin calls it a cataclysmic event.
He also says that this Holy Spirit is what enables Christians to embrace diversity and be comforters in the world. Drawing them together from different backgrounds and traditions into a body that loves one another. We live in hope about that but surely people who are not Christians have these qualities too. Continue reading

Sande Ramage is an Anglican priest and blogger.

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