‘Pentecost’ by Shadow Play Puppets
Dan Stevers produces “mini-movies for the creative church.”
He’s produced a shadow puppet play to tell the story of Pentecost - video below a short introduction to the artform from Asia.
Shadow play or also known as shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses flat articulated figures (shadow puppets) to create the impression of moving humans and other three-dimensional objects.
Shadow puppets are cut-out figures which are held between a source of light and a translucent screen or scrim. The cut-out shapes of the puppets sometimes include translucent color or other types of detailing. Various effects can be achieved by moving both the puppets and the light source. A talented puppeteer can make the figures appear to walk, dance, fight, nod and laugh.
Shadow play is popular in various cultures; currently there are more than 20 countries known to have shadow show troupes. Shadow puppets is an old tradition and have a long history in Southeast Asia; especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia. It is also considered as an ancient art in other parts of Asia such as in China, India and Nepal. It is also known in the West from Turkey, Greece and France. It is a popular form of entertainment for both children and adults in many countries around the world.
Thanks to Pastor Charlie for this find.
Congolese Worship by Mike Kalambay - ‘Lamentations’
Mike Kalambay was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Read his bio in French at
CISSA sings ‘Doom ju Reer’ (Prodigal Son, Wolof, Senegal)
Bernard Cissa is “a versatile artist: singer, songwriter, and professional pianist” in Senegal.
“Born in 1980 in Dakar, Senegal, CISSA arrived early in life in the world of music. At age 15, after having participated in the choir at the Methodist church, he decided to expand his repertoire. As such, he mastered different singing parts, as well as learning to play the piano.”
Learn more at
Here’s his song based on the story of the Prodigal Son, sung in Wolof. Thanks to Gloria for this find!
About the album:
Near the Heart “is an album with optimistic and committed lyrics and the sublime melodies that will not leave indifferent lovers. It consists of 10 titles in French and Wolof.” [translated from French]
Download the album at
A Global God for a Global World - Celebrating Pentecost
The journal Reformed Worship has numerous articles on celebrating Pentecost Sunday. Here’s links to 5 o them that clearly connect Pentecost with the global Church, multicultural worship and world missions.:
1. ‘From the Cross, through the Church, to the World: Resources for Celebrating Pentecost’
2. ‘Compelled by the Spirit’
(includes a few global songs)
3. ‘Songs for the Ascended Christ and the Descending Spirit’
Four songs, including one from Egypt and one from Singapore
4. A Global God, a Global Task: Pentecost Litany
5. Inner-City Pentecost, c 1992: Bridging the gap between congregation and neighborhood
Story of a congregation becoming more multicultural to reflect their neighborhood, in connection with Pentecost.
Pentecost Sunday = Whitsunday in UK
Whitsun (also Whitsunday, Whit Sunday or Whit) is the name used in the UK for the Christian festival of Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s disciples (Acts of the Apostles chapter 2). In England it took on some characteristics of Beltane, which originated from the pagan celebration of Summer’s Day, the beginning of the Summer half-year, in Europe. Whitsuntide, the week following Whitsunday, was one of three vacation weeks for the medieval villein on most manors he was free from service on the lord’s demesne this week, which marked a pause in the agricultural year.
The Young Tradition sang The Whitsuntide Carol in 1967 on their second album, So Cheerfully Round. Heather Wood commented in the album liner notes:
The Whitsuntide Carol which we sing was collected from Thomas Coningsby of Whaddon in Cambridgeshire. He tells how the men of the village used to go into the woods on Whit Sunday morning, cut oak branches and lay them on the doorsteps of all the houses. Then they would go round in a group singing this carol.
Now Whitsuntide is come you very well do know,
Come serve the Lord we must before we do go.
Come serve him truly with all your might and heart
And then from heaven your soul shall never depart.
How do you know how long we have to live?
For when we die oh then what would we give?
For being sure of having our resting place
When we have run our simple wretched race.
Down in those gardens where flowers grow in ranks,
Down on your knees and to the Lord give thanks.
Down on your knees and pray both night and day,
Pray unto the Lord that He will lead the way.
Come all those little children all in the streets we meet
All in their pastimes so even and complete
It’s how you may hear them lie, boast, curse and swear
Before that they do know one word of any prayer.
Now we have brought you all this royal branch of oak,
God bless our Queen Victoria and all the royal folk
God bless our Queen and all this world beside
That the Lord may bless you all this merry Whitsuntide.
For a very detailed history of this song - apparently highly obscure - see
Gina Tuck - ‘Hymn to the Holy Spirit’
Here’s another one of the 25-song collection ‘Songs for Pentecost.’ This one’s an original composed by Gina Tuck, who plays piano in this recording. I like the lyrics a lot, which you’ll see after the song.
Download the entire album (released 2011) on a pay-what-you-like basis at
One with the Father and Son
Declare to us things to come
Pray for us when we can’t speak
Strengthen us when we are weak
Spirit of Him who rose from the dead
Live in me
Spirit of Truth who pierces my heart
Breathe in me
He who hovered over the birth of the waters
Bring forth the birth of my soul
Remind me that He who set me free
Will make me whole
Come upon us when we pray
Grant us your words to say
With us, in us
Power to rest in your grace
With us, in us
Power to finish this race
Ruth Naomi Floyd Ensemble performing “Mercy”
I learned about Ruth Naomi Floyd last year and have been enjoying her jazz renditions of Christian songs ever since.
Here’s a live version of the first song from her 1994 album ‘Paradigms for Desolate Times.’
Matt Boswell retunes hymn ‘God the Spirit’ for Pentecost
‘Pentecost Hymns’ is a 2011 album, mostly of retuned hymns (old lyrics with new Americana music), that gets it sooo right - for 25 God-blessed songs, gets it right! Kudos to friend Bruce Benedict and his mighty band of tunesmiths.
Every year around this season I’ll highlight a few of the 25 songs. Here’s my favorite one today:
music: Matt Boswell, 2010
By whose gift the great of old
Spoke the word of revelation
Marvelous and manifold
God the Spirit we adore Thee,
In the Triune Godhead One
One in love and power and glory
With the Father and the Son
Author of the new creation,
Giver of the second birth
May thy ceaseless renovation
Cleanse our souls from stains of earth
When we wander Lord direct us,
Keep us in the Master’s way
Let thy strong swift sword protect us
Warring in the evil day
Shall the church now faint or fear
When the Comforter is near
WORDS BY SAMUEL J. STONE
MUSIC BY MATT BOSWELL
(C) 2010 DAYSPRING MUSIC, LLC (BMI)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
‘David Taylor – A Reflection on Pentecost Songs’
Pentecost Song: ‘Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God’ (Ireland)
Keith Getty has made this song available as a free mp3 download. Get the link after his song introduction:
“Holy Spirit” is the final hymn I wrote with Stuart Townend as part of the ‘Apostle’s Creed’ album we created in 2005. This collection of songs focuses on the basic tenants of the Christian faith outlined in the ancient creed.
As in much of our songwriting, we wanted to connect the radical truths of what we believe with everyday life. In this particular song, we desired the hymn to function as a sung prayer about the Holy Spirit’s renewing power. In church services, it works well used just prior to the sermon or at its conclusion, as well as before the service or during a prayer time.
We divided the hymn into three verses. The first expresses a prayer for inward change, asking the Holy Spirit to transform us from the core of our being. Without such change, all religious attempts are futile. We must daily ask for renewal and the desire to love and treasure God’s word and his ways.
Verse two petitions the Spirit to abide in us so we’re able to bountifully bear His fruit, such as the kindness and gentleness described so beautifully in Galatians 5:22-23. Closing this verse is a prayer “to show Christ is all I do.”
Verse three is a more expansive prayer for the church. During the songwriting process, we kept revisiting this verse as we examined the role of the Holy Spirit throughout the New Testament. In passage after passage, evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power in someone’s life was marked by two characteristics—Christ is magnified, and the individual is led on a path of sacrifice.
We thus combined the lyric and arrangement of the last verse to build through the first five lines as we convey the power of the Spirit and our desire to see the church hunger for His ways. Then in line six, we suddenly stop with the prayer, “Lead us on the road to sacrifice/ That in unity the face of Christ/ Will be clear for all the world to see.” Artistically, this works as a bit of a surprise as we underscore the paradox and wonder of Christ’s power in us. Only through experiencing sacrifice are we unified as the body of Christ. Only through reaching the end of ourselves can we achieve a vibrant Christian witness that everyone on the outside can see as different.
Get a free mp3 download of the studio version of this song at
[right-click & save, don’t know how long they will leave this up]
Holy Spirit, living Breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Bring the presence of the risen Lord
To renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see;
Give me passion for Your purity.
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.
Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do—
Love enough to cover ev’ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.
Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show Your power once again on earth;
Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise.
Lead us on the road of sacrifice
That in unity the face of Christ
Will be clear for all the world to see.
Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
© 2006 Thankyou Music
Are the Dying Encouraged by our Liturgy?
Here’s a great question, asked and answered at
This is a question to which I didn’t really give thought until the unexpected happened. Our long-time and beloved secretary heard three terrifying words from her physician: “You have cancer.”
Upon reflection, I began to wonder, Does the liturgy of the church encourage those who are dying? Even if we don’t have a specific disease with which we are afflicted, aren’t we all dying because of the curse (disease) of sin? And what would encourage us in our current state to not lose hope?
Great article on how our services should speak to those who are dying (i.e., all of us, but some faster than others).
Here’s part of the answer
This is where the liturgy of the church can either help point us to our future glory or can leave us helplessly wanting… feeling like we are on our own, and that somehow our sickness is directly organic to sin we committed. If we follow the church calendar and have something of an historic Christian liturgy, I think we will effectively point people to the ultimate hope that is found in Christ; our Savior, Advocate, Intercessor, and Friend. If we point people to our Christian view of “the good life,” then I think we will be effectively mitigating the curse by the remembrance of our ultimate hope.
The author of the original blog post goes on to examine 7 common parts of church services, asking if we can find “hope for those who are dying” here.
As we plan our worship services in a church or parachurch context (like a college chapel), let’s remember that it’s very likely that one or more people present are dealing with difficulties such as grave illnesses, in their own lives or the lives of their family. Our church services need to present Christ in ways that meet these people where they are.