"When the day of Pentecost had come..." Luke says in Acts, "all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit."
Two symbols for God's Holy Spirit therefore, the flame and the dove, are prominently featured in our two banners for Pentecost, the fiftieth and final day of the Church's celebration of Easter.
Since the gift of languages that was poured out upon the first Christians by God's pentecostal Spirit is often understood as a reversal of the curse that was pronounced by God on the builders of the tower of Babel, the dove in one of our banners for Pentecost holds an olive branch over the blue, cloud-swept world, symbolizing the gift of peace made possible when, by overcoming the barriers of language, race, and nation, the Spirit of God enables human beings to communicate with and fully understand each other.
The raised and open hands in our second banner for Pentecost may symbolize not only the reception of God's fiery Spirit by those who faithfully waited in Jerusalem for the realization of Jesus' promise and the fufillment of Joel's prophecy, but also the aspiration of all humans beings whose hands fervently reach out to God for the red-hot, purifying, and energizing flames of holy love while praying.
Teach me to love thee as thine angles love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven-descended Dove,
My heart an alter, and they love the flame.