From Pauses for Pentecost
All of the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
The first Pentecost gifted the early disciples with a miracle of communication. When the disciples begin to speak about the amazing things that God has done in Jesus Christ, all people in that diverse and cosmopolitan crowd hear about God’s love in their own languages. They do not need a translator to understand. It is a miracle accomplished by the Holy Spirit. This may surprise us. Usually when we think of the gift of tongues, we think of unintelligible sounds and syllables. The Pentecostal experience is different. It is an experience of remarkable connection across the divisive boundaries of race, gender, age, and nation that we so often create.
What could this mean for us? Especially in diverse contexts, we yearn to communicate the good news of God’s never-giving-up love in a way that others will understand. That communication means so much more than just getting across some information about Jesus to someone else. Instead, it involves us in the miracle of communication whereby the Holy Spirit makes known through and beyond our words the reality of Jesus Christ to the people we are with. This miracle echoes the experience of the early disciples from that first Pentecost. Without their being caught up in a movement of the Holy Spirit, those disciples would have been unable to effectively communicate Christ to others.
I long for this gift. I long to be able to communicate the availability of Jesus’s love, grace, and mercy in the tongues of those around me: in the tongues of teenagers and pensioners and all those in-between, in the tongues of the beaten and the broken and the battered, in the tongues of the rich and the famous and the privileged, in the tongues of the overemployed and the unemployed and the underemployed, in the tongues of the lonely and the rejected and the ostracized, and in the tongues of the sick and the bereaved and the dying. The opportunity to share Christ is endless. If this is your longing too, join me today in asking for a greater measure of the gift of the Holy Spirit who alone can bring about the miracle of communication.
Consecrate your tongue to God today. Ask that your tongue may be baptized with the Holy Spirit so that it may be conformed to Christ and converted to his ministry of loving words.