Today’s Reading: Acts 2:7-8 (NIV)
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?”
Sometimes I need an interpreter to understand my sweet granddaughter, Madison. She loves to talk constantly! Occasionally, I catch a word or two that I recognize, like “Grandma” or “Taco Bell”. It helps to have Mom and Dad around to interpret what it is she is trying to say. Our grandson Andrew likes to repeat words in groups of three. When he sees me parking the car in his driveway, he stands at the picture window, jumping up and down while shouting, “Nanny, Nanny, Nanny!” Or, if he wants a bag of pretzels opened, he will hand it to me and say, “Open, Open, Open.” His lips get a real workout when he tries to say that word quickly three times. I am convinced there is a universal language for toddlers that only they can understand. Even when I’m not sure exactly sure what they’re saying, I can sense the meaning behind the message.
Our granddaughter Emily was feeling a little out of sorts at the dinner table. She suddenly became very emotional (like little girls sometimes do) and the crocodile tears started dripping all over her dinner plate. Through her sobs, she tried to explain what was wrong, and even though I did not hear a clear word she said, I knew this child’s heart was hurting and that was all I needed to know to immediately respond. Broken hearts hold a universal language all of its own.
Language barriers can become difficult obstacles to overcome as we try to convey important information to people of different nationalities and cultures. I visited New York City in the spring of 2002, just after the terrorist attacks that destroyed Manhattan’s Twin Towers and left thousands of people grieving for lost loved ones. I stood on the makeshift sidewalk at Ground Zero and watched the cleaning crews while they continued to remove the rubble left behind. I listened to the hushed whispers of the people who surrounded me; they had come to see for themselves while trying to make sense of what had happened here. I heard a variety of languages spoken. And while I did not completely understand every word, the universal language of grief and love were crystal clear.
The people who had traveled from different countries to celebrate the festival in Jerusalem were utterly amazed! They could clearly understand the words of the Galileans. A universal love language had instantly emerged! The Apostles testified to everyone they saw that morning of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and how He came to save all people from sin and give them everlasting life in Him. They heard and understood the Gospel message in a language they could clearly relate to. Christ’s love broke through every single language barrier that day.
You see, Jesus died for all people, not just for some. He died for you and for me. His love language transcends every human language barrier – He has the power to reach us and when He does, it is an amazing miracle of grace! Pentecost is not just some historical event recorded in Scripture – Christ’s Pentecost continues today, breaking through to people everywhere! Jesus Christ is speaking to you today. Do you understand what He is saying?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
© Copyright 2009, Deb Spaulding
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