The established church across the world is celebrating the season of Pentecost – the birthday of the church.
I want you to cast your mind back to that very familiar story when on the morning of a festival when persons were gathered from far and wide; it was believed that the Jesus’ disciples were drunk because they were talking in tongues.
1 Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven residing in Jerusalem. 6 When this sound occurred, a crowd gathered and was in confusion, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Completely baffled, they said, “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that each one of us hears them in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs–we hear them speaking in our own languages about the great deeds God has done!” 12 All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others jeered at the speakers, saying, “They are drunk on new wine!” (Acts 2:1-13)
Like with so many other stories in the Bible, we miss the big picture or maybe only take from it what satisfies us.
There is a bigger issue, or rather an underlying story, here in this story.
The clear and obvious point that is usually missed is that the disciples were speaking in known languages. They could be understood and interpreted.
When we have persons getting up and babbling nonsense that they don’t understand and nobody else can understand, I have problems believing that to be the working of the Holy Spirit and I have an even bigger problem believing it to be any sort of tongue other than false.
Until Rosetta Stone says otherwise, I am not a believer in that nonsense.
But the other thing we seem to miss is this.
Despite where they came from, they not only heard, but understood the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Jesus we talk about had this way of meeting people where they were and loving them.
Here again we see individuals with language barriers having no difficulty understanding the word of God because it speaks directly to them. And that is the story of Pentecost, that is our story from the birth of the church — reaching out and letting the gospel be heard despite whatever background or circumstance.
Recently there has been much talk about homosexuality and same-sex marriages. We even have some willing to die.
But unless my Bible is missing a few pages I have found nothing indicating or directing me to condemn the homosexual or any other person actually.
In this season of Pentecost I believe the church needs to retreat from persons’ bedrooms and work its way into their hearts. Our job is to love, to share the love of God, to make it known to those we meet. They are expected to see or rather experience that ‘god’ part of us.
However, from the beginning of the Bible we see a story of persons wanting to be like God, they even started constructing a tower to peep in on God and see what he was doing.
We need to stop acting like gods and trying to do God’s job and do ours — love one another as He loves us.
If God has a problem with gay people, that is God’s business, vengeance is His, it is not our place to be condemning and “hell no-ing”. Least we forget, our job here on earth is to love. In spite of and despite whatever, we are commanded to love.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35
Pentecost is a time for us to show our salt. It is time for the church to speak not in the language of piety and holy hypocrisy, but in the language of the sinner — that is what we all are. It is time that the many voices of the church preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ — the Gospel of love to in tones that despite our varied circumstances we can all understand salvation.