At the first Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples met up in Jerusalem. They were feeling pretty lost and confused, as their Lord had left them to ascend to heaven. But suddenly they were shaken by a sound like a strong wind, and filled with a huge sense of drive and purpose. The Bible says it was like tongues of fire resting on each one of them.
And they rush out of doors, and they stand up in the square, and preach to crowds of people from every nation. And as they preach, people are astonished: they each hear exactly what the disciples are saying, but in their own language, through God’s Holy Spirit.
Was this like a summer’s afternoon in Trafalgar Square – a snippet of Italian here or some German or French or Swedish, over there? Or was it that whatever language people heard, that they each heard something which was meaningful to them…..that it was not so much about the removal of language barriers, but the removal of emotional barriers. People heard the gospel in their own way, in their own concepts, their own words and life experiences.
So Pentecost opens up a new universal way of communicating. We are no longer confined – by language or race, education or history. Instead we find that those things in our depths, what it means to be a person, the core of our being, are shared by all humanity.