Pentecost is on Sunday! And I have a Pentecost Playlist that I’d love to share with you.
Get your password to the library for access to the playlist, then hit play and keep reading for reflections on some of the songs.
The First Pentecost After Christ’s Resurrection
Pentecost is the day that the Holy Spirit came to the Church. One way it’s often described the birthday of the Christian Church (although that’s problematic because of the ways the Christian movement was tied to the Jewish tradition so deeply that many early Christians understood themselves as Jews).
Anyway, in Acts 2 we read about a great rush of wind and “tongues of fire” that “rested on” each person. Some heard them speaking of God’s great power; others said they were just drunk. Peter explains what is happening using the sacred texts; about three thousand people converted; the chapter concludes by saying that many signs and wonders were being done by the apostles.
The Pentecost Playlist: Because We Celebrate with Music
For a little while, I’ve been compiling music into playlists for each liturgical season. Because we celebrate with music. It’s been a really rewarding practice with regards to noticing the intertwining of symbols and themes throughout the Christian year.
Today, I want to share my playlist with you. Click here for access to the entire playlist. Below are 5 songs from the playlist and a few words on why I love listening to it during Pentecost.
1. “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys. Fire here is restored to being a powerful symbol of anointing, of set-apart-ness. But made better, because with its connection to The Hunger Games it connects to a narrative for our time (well, for a not-too-distant-future time) that shows us what it means to live as one who is set apart.
2. “Gust of Wind” by Pharrell Williams. Mostly I love it because of its energetic and energizing feel — I imagine this is “I’ve-just-gotta-dance” feeling is similar to the impact that the Spirit had on the early Christians. And that chorus! If we can get past oru obsession with romance in music, it reads like a Spirit-led theology of creative endeavors.
3. “Hearts on Fire” by Cut Copy. Again, that energizing feel that encounter with the Spirit brings. And the reaching out to one another is a pretty good image for the forming of a community.
4. “Drop and Roll” by Breathe Owl Breathe. A song that’s strangely calm, considering it’s about being “on fire half the time,” which is maybe what happens when we learn to live with the Spirit’s dwelling in and among us. We have coals in ourselves that keep us going with a steady heat. And their use of “lover”! In Jesus’s day, “Father” was a term of unexpected intimacy with the divine; today, it’s a distant and formal title for a parent, who we likely have a complicated relationship with. “Lover” ups the intimacy while leveling out the power dynamics.
5. “Speaking in Tongues” by Arcade Fire featuring David Byrne. Speaking of complicated “father” imagery, this song speaks to some of the problems we’ve inherited through 2000 years of generations using and abusing the imagery in the Acts 2 passage. For me, it implies that it’s through escape from these previous understandings (“sneaking out the window”) that we get the Spirit.