Written by: Louise North, Principal

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The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost 

2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them. 

12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 

Pentecost (also sometimes referred to as Whitsun) is the festival when Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is celebrated on the Sunday 50 days after Easter and is regarded as the birthday of the Christian church, and the start of the church’s mission to the world. 

At Pentecost, as described in the Reading, the Holy Spirit descended on the Disciples and others, in the form of flames and fire which explains why Church ministers often wear red vestments during Pentecost to symbolize these “tongues of fire”. In the Reading, the people are filled with the Holy Spirit which then inspires them to speak in many tongues, i.e. many different languages.  

Now Fire has been symbolic of passion, purification, destruction, energy, and volatile emotions throughout history. If you have fire in your belly, or if you are firing on all cylinders or if you are fired up, you are passionate and stirred up about something. If you are leading the way on something, you might be described as blazing a trail or if someone has lit a fire underneath you, it suggests that you are motivated and driven to get something done. 

Songs about fire represent a range of emotions from negative feelings of anger, regret, and betrayal to more positive feelings such as freedom or intense love.  

Adele set fire to the rain, the Doors sang Light my Fire, Bruce Springsteen declared I’m on Fire, The Stones sang of playing with Fire. The Bangles sang about their Eternal Flame (one of my favourites) and Dan Hartman called to us to Relight my Fire.  

I would encourage you to feel passionately about things, to feel strongly, to have an opinion, to have fire in your belly, to believe in things. This does not have to equate to being angry, or falling out with someone but to feel passionately about something is better than staying safe and sitting on the fence.  

For example, if I were to ask you to choose between the following, I hope that you could choose confidently and that you would not sit on the fence… 

  • Toast or bagel 
  • Jam or Marmalade 
  • Plane or train 
  • Staycation or Vacation 
  • Snow or sun 
  • Radio 2 or Radio 4 
  • Book or Kindel 
  • Thank you letter or text 
  • Coffee or tea 
  • Roller coaster or water slide 
  • Animals or people 
  • Day or night 
  • Messy desk or clean desk 
  • Time machine or magic wand 
  • Money or love 
  • Success or happiness 
  • Hero or antihero 
  • Regret or doubt 
  • Painful truth or comforting lie 
  • Batman or superman 

Of course, these things are quite trivial but if you found yourself without an opinion, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what you do feel about these things. Perhaps it is time to challenge yourself with the question What gets you fired up? What puts fire in your belly? What makes you fire on all cylinders? When did you last blaze a trail? You might get fired up about a global cause, or it could be about whether a team played well or badly, it could be a political issue or it could be a family argument over who was cheating in Monopoly. The fire in your belly could be the motivation you need to work hard for those exams or train hard for that place in the team. It could be the deadline or the goal you have set for yourself or it could be the drive that keeps you going on your DoE expedition. 

And if you have yet to find that thing that does fire you up, think of these words from Simon Sinek: What good is having a belly if there’s no fire in it. Wake up, drink your passion, light a match and get to work. 



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