Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Today’s text

Acts 2:5-8

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves. Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, and each one was bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. 'Surely,' they said, 'all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language?


It had been years, but it happened again last week. I joined hands with another man to pray. Seconds into my prayer for the healing of his heart and relationships, a soft and persistent river of sound flowed from his depths.

It was no language I understood, yet I understood everything. He was speaking in tongues.

A rhythmic pattern of consonants stumbling over a few vowels streamed from his lips in a counterpoint to my attempt to put his need into words. However strange, the stream of sound didn’t overwhelm or drown out my speaking. It moved in tandem, a continuo bass line beneath my prayer, a foundation holding it up, affirming plain language in an unexpected harmony.

It didn’t feel strange, nor was I was startled even for a moment. It all fit together. Two voices, two ‘languages’ in one human speaking, from the Spirit within us to the Spirit who was so far beyond us, seeking the full presence of the Holy Mystery who bound us together, though an hour before we’d never met.

I have no idea what my prayer partner was saying, nor do I feel any need to know whether my companion in prayer had any idea what was coming out of his mouth.

It didn’t matter. I understood that God was being praised, honored and sought. The core of our humanity was affirmed and expressed as words, understood and incomprehensible, flowed from us, bearing our need and hunger for the Inexpressible One, who transcends all human speaking.

Unity in love and purpose was spoken in a harmony of words the meaning of which transcended our abilities to comprehend.

Pentecost happened again. As always, it was a gift. We did nothing to make it happen, except, I suppose, to open our mouths and speak from our hearts.

Pr. David L. Miller

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