Posted on August 28, 2019 by Nancy Schmitt
“All of them were filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak
in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”
The story of Pentecost as recorded in the second chapter of the Book of Acts, talks about the coming of the Holy Spirit like the rush of a strong wind that comes upon the disciples of Jesus and others gathered for the spring festival. After the Holy Spirit came upon the people, they could speak and understand in various languages.
Part of my recent vacation was spent hiking in Bryce Canyon in Utah. The canyon is made up of massive rock structures called ‘Hoodoos.’ The Hoodoos have formed over millions of years by melting snow and heavy rains that erode the rocks and leave behind huge standing rocks. The freezing and thawing of ice has weathered the rocks into ‘hoodoo’ shapes.
Hiking trails go deep into the canyon. Hiking into the canyon at sunrise and out of the canyon as sunset was an amazing experience and offered the visible power and presence of God’s Creation. Many hikers were enjoying the beauty and experience of Bryce Canyon National Park and as I hiked into and out of the canyon I noticed a variety of languages being spoken. At one point, I counted hearing at least five different languages.
The amazing ‘Pentecost moment’ came when I realized that on some level we were also understanding each other. While I did not literally understand each of the languages being spoken, the amazing insight was in understanding that joy, awe and wonder is a universal language. As hikers talked to their hiking companions and others, the awe and wonder of the canyon sights caused a language of joy to be spoken and understood. At several points, groups of people were asking each other to take their picture and again, it was a universal language as cell phones and camera were passed around and people showing each other what button to push to capture a lasting image of the experience. Then, more universal understanding came as gratitude was expressed for taking time to help one another along the hiking trails.
There are so many times in life when understanding language, dialect, or accent matter less than the universal understanding of joy and gratitude that comes in being surrounded by the beauty of God’s Creation and God’s own people. May we watch for Pentecost opportunities this week to experience the type of understanding that comes with joy and gratitude.