by Patrik Peterson (Psalto, Sweden)
This article was first published in the December 2016 edition of the ICDF Newsletter, “Flags & Banners.”
I took part in meetings in public squares containing worship, prayer and testimony, during early “Jesus manifestations” in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. I felt a need to celebrate and indicate the Lord’s presence in some tangible way during these public events. I took a large piece of blue cloth and put it on a stick as a banner. People asked me “What does the banner mean?” I found some Tipp-Ex and wrote “JESUS” on the cloth. That removed most questions. I used this banner for some time.
After a while, I wanted to make Jesus’ name clearer and more easily visible, so I made it in thicker letters. I also added the crown of the king and the crown of thorns. I have used this banner on many occasions, and it is my favourite banner for outdoor locations.
Later on, I wanted a similar flag in lighter material. I studied carefully the colours of the veil and the tabernacle and made a design with sky blue, crimson red, gold, white, silver, and purple red. I added black to contain the crown of thorns. I purchased white linen and gave the design to a group of flag-making friends named “God is”. They are located in Sävsjö in Sweden. A woman there skilled in the art of painting on silk made the banner for me. The banner floats nicely in the air. I tend to use it indoors during soft music in worship or adoration.
I like to use these Jesus-banners in larger gatherings during worship, when I occasionally feel led to do so by the Holy Spirit. If I am sensitive to and obedient to the Spirit’s leading, the congregation at times responds strongly emotionally to the presence and movement of the banner. This is pure grace – God acts and brings about things that I can not. God uses my movement of the flag as a help to achieve what He desires which often is to stir the hearts of the congregation in awe of Him, or in commitment to Him, or in a conviction of Jesus as victor.
I am sometimes concerned by the over-use of flags in worship. While few spontaneously burst into song or dance, many feel free to use even large flags. Some don’t understand what they do to a meeting. They can disturb and distract. I often begin waving my flag or wielding my banner at the back of the room, where it is not noticed, and I do not move to the front unless urged by the Holy Spirit. I would encourage beginners to learn from those who are more experienced.
Let me also add that this use of flags is not my everyday thing. Usually, I am just a member of a team of many wonderful dancers who celebrate and serve together. We occasionally use flags, banners, scarves, and longer cloth in freedom and many creative ways but most of the time, we just use our bodies. They are perfectly fine 🙂
I came to think of a special choreography that I do to the song “How great is our God”. I like to have a 2.5-m long stick in that choreography. This dance conveys something about God’s power and majesty. People seem to like it. This is usually danced as a solo or duet.