When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. [Acts 2:1-4]
And so the church begins and this year as I read the passage, I'm struck by how the coming of the Spirit signaled the ability to communicate.
There's a myriad of ways to look at this story, both as a literal text and as a symbolic text. But this time, I'm seeing how the coming of the Holy Spirit on these first Christians brings about a means to easier communication.
In a world where multiple languages were spoken across a relatively small part of the world, that would be an amazing barrier to take down.
In our present world, where I can travel miles and miles and trust that I'll be among people who speak my language, I also see how speaking the same language does not always facilitate our communication and certainly not our unity.
I could easily go into lament about the divisions in the world, in my country. They are disheartening and perhaps there will a be time to look at them.
Here, on the final day of the Easter season, the day we call Pentecost, a festival day to cap a festival season, I am turning to the promise of this story, that the Holy Spirit can come into a crowd of people with many differences and they will understand one another.
May the Breath that spoke the universe into being once again descend on us as flame and bring into existence the new thing, the hope for a way forward. May the Word, in whom there was light and life, be heard through the confusion of many voices.
Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth! Alleluia!