Scripture: Acts 2:5-11 (NRSV)
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, 'Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs?in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power.'
Carnegie Hall was packed. I was eight years old, and going with my grandmother to my first concert. Shortly after we sat down the orchestra started to tune their instruments. As the cacophony and dissonance surrounded me, it was hard not to show my disappointment. Really- this is what everyone had been raving about?
Then the conductor came out. The noise ceased. The room began to fill with the most beautiful music I had ever heard. Although metaphors are not perfect, I often think of the church as being like that orchestra when it was tuning up. Although instruments of God's beauty, we can simply focus on ourselves, speaking our own language if you will. We need to keep our eyes on the Conductor who has the whole score in front of Her.
In one church I served, there was a widower in town living with his daughter. He was unable to find work, so some of the members of the church with business connections found him job training. Other members made sure his daughter got to girl scouts and other after school activities. Several years later, this man was employed and his daughter off to college. The consistent daily practice of loving your neighbor spoke more eloquently than words could about the gospel. This community demonstrated the words of St. Francis- "preach the gospel, and if necessary use words." Those church members were focusing on the Conductor, and in working together brought forth something beautiful for God.
Our world is still a world of babble. Different interests, opinions, languages prevail. The Holy Spirit invites us to open our eyes, ears and hearts to God, so that we can direct our lives towards God's vision of justice, peace and love.
Holy One, on this Pentecost, stir our hearts with your Spirit, that we may be faithful to the call of your Son, and willing to give our all for the gospel. Amen.
a spiritual director at the Spiritual Life Center in West Hartford, and a retired UCC pastor.