Friday, May 29, 2015

EmmDev 2015-05-29 [Pentecost 2015] Language


4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Acts2:4-8
The account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is a lovely reversal of the tower of Babel story in Gen 11. We don't know if it was a miracle of speaking or hearing, but the bottom-line is that the Spirit closed the gaps between people miraculously bridging the language divide between all the language groups gathered in Jerusalem on this major festival day.

God still does this today. Louis Giglio is in his fifties but speaks effectively to the one of the biggest Christian student movements in the world. He is able to cross a generation gap that many would consider unbridgeable.

What about those who are able to help those whose marriages are in trouble? Or those who comfort the grieving? Those who help people who have depression?

I believe the Holy Spirit is still at work in us, helping us to cross over chasms of language, culture, age, pain and trouble. He gives us language, empathy and connection. He guides us, prompts us and gives us wisdom, knowledge, insight and guidance.

The scriptures provide lists of the gifts of the Spirit. In these lists we find things like knowledge, wisdom, healing, faith, leadership, service, generosity, teaching, speaking in other languages, being able to interpret other languages, discernment, apostleship (being a pioneer) and evangelism.

These gifts are not for our own benefit. They play the same role as the language gift on the day of Pentecost: A way to cross the gaps. Especially the gap between people and God.

  • In what ways is God working in you to build bridges to others?
  • In what ways could God work in you to build these bridges?

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