Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Day of Pentecost

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The Day of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21

Good morning, everyone!  Good morning!  Buenos dias.  Guten tag.  Bon jour.  Mahalo.  Ohayo gozaimasu.  Dobri ranok.  Yamanga fanin.  Shalom. 

If you didn't understand everything I just said, it's because I was speaking in different languages.  I  just said "Good morning" in English, Spanish, German, French, Hawaiian, Japanese, Ukrainian, Wolof and Hebrew.  People from different countries sometimes speak different languages.  For example, most folks in Mexico speak Spanish, and those in Germany speak German.  If a person from Germany and a person from Mexico were to meet, they would not be able to understand each other, if they didn't know one another's language.  They would need a translator--someone who knew both Spanish and German--to translate the conversation for them, telling each person what the other said in his or her own language.

One day, Jesus' disciples were all together in the city of Jerusalem.  This was after Jesus' death and resurrection.  The disciples were in Jerusalem for a big Jewish festival called Pentecost.  Jews came to Jerusalem from all over the world to celebrate Pentecost in the holy city. 

Suddenly, a sound came from heaven.  It was loud and sounded like a violent wind--like a tornado--and this loud sound filled the entire house where the disciples were gathered.  It wasn't an actual wind, so things weren't blowing around, but just the sound of wind.

Then, the Bible tells us that divided tongues that looked like the flames in a fire, appeared and one of these flame-looking shapes rested on each disciple.  (Don't worry--they weren't  hot, so the disciples didn't get burned.)

And then, the most amazing thing of all happened.  The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages.  They didn't know these languages.  They had never spoken them before.  They were from Galilee and spoke only Aramaic.  But the Holy Spirit made it possible for them to speak in languages, or tongues, from all over the world.

People from the homes and streets nearby heard all the racket and came to the house to find out what was going on.  When the people realized they could understand what the disciples were saying no matter what language they spoke, the people were confused and amazed.  They knew the disciples were from Galilee, and yet folks from as far away as Egypt, Mesopotamia and Asia understood the disciples' words.  The crowd wondered what was happening.  And then Peter came forward and spoke to the people in a strong voice.

He explained that the promises of God were coming true--that God poured out the Holy Spirit just as God had promised.  Peter told them that with the gift of the Holy Spirit, amazing things were going to happen.  And then he told them about his friend and Savior, Jesus, and that Jesus came to be their friend and Savior, too.  The Bible tells us that about 3,000 people believed Peter's message, became Christians and were baptized that day.  Three thousand people from near and far, who spoke many different languages but who were able to understand Peter thanks to the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let's Pray,  Dear God, we thank-you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and all of the amazing, good things that happen in the world because the Holy Spirit is with us.  Thank-you for our friend and Savior, Jesus, and for your love and grace. 

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