Thursday, May 24, 2007

A burnt tongue

There is ‘wordplay’ (R.N.Donovan) on the word ‘tongues’ in the first part of the Pentecost story. I have not really taken notice of it before. They saw what seemed like ‘tongues’ of fire that rested on each of them. Then they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to ‘speak in other tongues’ as the Spirit enabled them. I like the expression ‘tongues of fire.’ It somehow powers up the image of what the early disciples began to do as they shared the ‘hot’ message of the Gospel. Peter’s tongue started waging straight away in the first Christian sermon that brought in thousands of people. This gift rested on all of them by the way. The Spirit filled each of them. It was not reserved for particular people. They all began to use this ‘tongue of fire’ and they spoke in different languages as the Spirit enabled them. The theme of tongues, languages, and translation are very dominant in Acts chapter 2. There are of course others dimensions and roles of the Spirit, but the focus here is on how movable this message of resurrection was outside of Jerusalem. Note, it was not the message of the Spirit’s filling that is the message of Peter’s sermon; the message is salvation through Christ. The Spirit’s filling comes with this ‘and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ The closest analogy I can find that describes the goings on here is the Unite Nations translation unit. I don’t know all the ins and outs of it, but the nations gather and as one person speaks his/her language the translators in the background convert the message into the languages of all seated there. Pentecost and the concept of a “United Nations” are very closely linked. The greater vision of Revelation speaks of the river flowing through the city of God, where on its banks grows the tree of life, and on which the leaves grow for the ‘healing of nations.” The Mission vision is reborn in that ‘hot’ room in Jerusalem. A vision of old, but a vision of the future, that would translate itself into all the nations of the world, and into all the languages of the world

1 comment:

David said...