Baptist-kind of Christians generally don't do a lot with the liturgical calendar (too "catholic" for some) so we generally don't observe Pentecost Sunday- the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Hmm... I am glad that the gift and work of the Spirit was featured in our worship last week.
Acts 2 tells the story of the coming of the Spirit and the enabling of men to speak the gospel message in languages unknown to them but known to the crowds gathered in Jerusalem. The response- "we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" In our service we enlisted multiple readers to read the passage simultaneously: Kim Sherman (English), Kristina Todd (Spanish), Ben Gribble (tagalog- the national language of the Philippines), and Helen Uba (Nigerian). Yes, it was a little confusing- but so was Pentecost! Can you imagine how those folks felt to hear the story of God's great love in their own language!
This may well be the great challenge facing the church today- telling the story of Jesus in an understandable "language." Yes, we are surrounded by ethnic diversity and people with their own native tongue. But "language" is also a generational and cultural. Will we expect people to learn "church speak" and bring a dictionary or will we pray that the Spirit might find our hearts open to learning new "languages"- new ways of communicating and relating- that show and share great love of God?
Thursday, May 23, 2013
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