The great commission – 6 June 2022

This picture links “The Great Commission”, the sending out of the disciples into all the world, with Pentecost. On the left, Jesus, the Son, is dancing. He holds a vessel which contains the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. Fire and wind emanate from Jesus enveloping the disciples. On the right the disciples , men and women, take up different poses as they wait to receive. Some are open and expectant, others bow before the holiness revealed, some draw back, hesitant.

The colour tone of the picture is hot with reds. This gives a sense of excitement, but also power. The lightest motif is around the Spirit/dove. The picture contains many circles: Spirit and power, hands and heads, rounded bodies, which together bring a sense of movement.

The picture is ‘The Great Commission’, by the Sri Lankan artist Nalini M. Jayasuriya (1927-2014). She was an internationally known artist, who exhibited her paintings in Manila, London, Bangkok, Paris, Toronto, Tokyo, Jerusalem and New York. She lectured on sacred art in many universities, including Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut, and Tokyo University, Tokyo, Japan. She was artist in residence for two years at the Overseas Ministries Study Center (OMSC) in New Haven.



Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:18-20


Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother tongue is Love in every nation.

Malcolm Guite, Pentecost