It was good to see so many gathered in celebratory red for Pentecost, and the birthday of the church. We had visitors, balloons and a birthday cake – hooray! We shared the exciting story about the Pentecost moment in the early church, complete with scripture reading (Acts 2:1-21) in different languages. That event was not really about people suddenly speaking in different tongues, but about the Spirit-led ability to hear in their own language what they had not been able to hear before. We reflected on the reality that there is no perfect translation across languages. What purports to be translation is always interpretation, and true understanding requires patience, trust, and most of all, Love. We must stop speaking long enough to listen – listen to the struggles and joys of those around us, and find our common humanity. In that way, we draw closer to one another as individuals, and as communities.
On that Pentecost day, according to tradition, the Holy Spirit “reversed” the scattering of people and languages at the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9), yet we still do things in our nation and world to polarize, scatter and divide ourselves as people, and refuse out of fear to address old wounds. Let us work to bring the Holy Spirit of understanding, of the divine translation of Love, back into all of our interactions.
Peace and grace be with you,