Images of the Holy Spirit

Written By:
Sara Hargreaves
Bible Refs: Acts 2, Matt 3, John 7, John 14
Lectionary Weeks: Day of Pentecost (Year A), Day of Pentecost (Year B), Day of Pentecost (Year C)

This is an idea that we came up with for the Alternative Celebration at Spring Harvest back in 2011. The theme was the Holy Spirit and the aim was to allow us all to reflect on the different images we have of the Holy Spirit in the Bible and elsewhere. We started by showing the powerpoint slides with the different images of the Holy Spirit - expertly created by Richard Lyall.

The script, crafted by Chloe Axford, was read along with the images, as our amazing musicians improvised underneath in order to 'paint' a musical picture of the images. As a response the congregation was asked to consider which image of the Spirit they related to most at that moment in time, or which side of him the felt they needed the most. This could be done as group discussion or quiet reflection.

As seen on the slides, we gave each image of the Spirit a particular colour, and the response from the congregation was to paint with that colour. We provided a large sheet with a 'squiggle' (imagine letting a black marker pen go nuts!), where people could fill in one or more spaces with their nominated colour. We ended up with a beautiful painting, full of colour, respresenting our corporate need for more of the Holy Spirit.

Sam has also used the pointpoint in a simpler way during a recent youth service. They simply showed the images and read the Scriptures. The young people were then asked to respond in different ways, for example by being prayed for.

Feel free to use one or all the different elements of this idea!

This was one of those ideas that happened in community, and it's impossible to say who came up with what first, but thanks to Richard Lyall, Chloe Axford, Matt Long, Richard Morgan, Sunil Chandy and Sam Hargreaves who were part of the creative process!



Sara co-leads together with husband Sam, drawing from her experience in music, worship and youthwork. She is also a mum of two wonderful children and they all live in groovy Luton.

Comments / Responses

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Previous Comments:

Philip Nichols
31 Oct 2012 21:17
this looks really intersting. I am trying to encourage the church to think in terms of worship without being "led" by musicians. We can fall into familiar paths and be directed by the songs. Activity like this can allow for a greater freedom of expression. I'd like to try it out. Large paper and encouraging folk to write or draw scripture, poems and prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit sounds fun!
Vicky Jones
19 Mar 2013 10:23
This looks fantastic will be trying it in our family service this pentecost.
09 Jun 2013 19:23
Use this today for our Children and Youth Sunday and it was awesome! made a change to the art project: using a 3'X5' (1m X 1.5m)paper,after the power point, asked the congregation "What does the Holy Spirit look like to you? please join (named a few people) in drawing your image of the Holy Spirit" When people were drawing, we played inspirational music over the PA (Icarus by The Paul Winter Consort because we don't have a regular worship band). The paper was prepared with a pretty border someone drew beforehand and a few images of the holy spirit pasted in the center (from Google images input "Holy Spirit as fire" etc). Be sure to include a works cited page to give credit. It was great!! many people participated who usually don't. The teens ran the whole thing. Blessings to you from Connecticut
09 Jun 2013 19:27
Just want to add that the order on the download power point doesn't jibe with the order on the script- just need to shift the slides around. We also added a slide of a celtic wild goose for the "wild goose image
Ros Holt
31 Mar 2014 11:14
I used this idea at my church yesterday. I added a slide or two between the main ones, to further illustrate the theme. I gave some Bible teaching for each image, and chose relevant songs to intersperse. We then painted, as our prayer, two (smaller)strips like yours as our response and they will be hung at the front of the church for a while. The Ppt gave me a brilliant framework for the teaching I felt we needed, and encouraged one of our artists who prepared the pattern for us. I agree that music can come to be regarded as the only 'art' for worship. It was very well received indeed. Thank you. Ros
Dita Naguit
02 Jun 2014 14:56
How long did the session take?
06 Mar 2015 16:31
Thanks! Hard to find good ideas some times, and this one is great!

I changed the order of the script to be chronological and made the script say 'He' instead of 'it' when referring to the HS.
Andrew Mackie
26 May 2015 16:42
We did this at Pentecost, using the slides as the basis of a talk about what each of the symbols tells us about the Holy Spirit. I did the same as Ann - shuffled the order to suit the talk and added the Celtic symbol of a wild goose. We also interspersed the talk about the symbols with people talking about what the Holy Spirit had been doing over the previous year in our church. He's been working with young (so we briefly told the story of Samuel and Eli) and old (so we briefly told the story of Simeon and Anna), and we had someone directly involved with these parts of our ministry speaking about what he has been doing.
20 Apr 2016 13:47
Looks like the images were somehow overlaid across a blackboard from which the original chalk writing had not been entirely erased. I don't understand the technology you may have been using - this is just a comment on what I see.
Is it possible to reshoot for 2016 with a fully black background? Thank you.
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