What is the Holy Spirit trying to make know through you?
If you have ever traveled to a distant country, you probably have seen this interchange happen. Someone is asking directions or ordering at a restaurant. When it becomes obvious that the waiter they are speaking to does not understand English – what do they do? They speak LOUDER and S-L-O-W-E-R. As if that will make a difference… It is kind of laughable, isn’t it? Yet I suspect that a lot of us have been guilty of that very thing.
I was at the ordination of three men to the Jesuit priesthood this morning. One of the men was from Vietnam. So, as a part of the ordination mass, the second reading was proclaimed in Vietnamese. And the communion meditation song was also in Vietnamese. And though the lector read wonderfully, I knew that no matter how LOUDLY or S-L-O-W-L-Y she read or they cantor sang, I would never understand. Fortunately for me, and all those who understand only English, they provided a translation in the program.
All of which got me to thinking about one of the roles of the Holy Spirit, as we heard in the first reading/acts of the apostles. The Spirit reverses the sin of BABEL and the confusion of languages. “Each one heard them speaking in their own language,” we’re told. It did not take written translations on a page or someone speaking LOUDLY and S L O W L Y, but rather is the Holy Spirit’s gift to humanity. The Spirit helps us sort out, from all the babble and all the noise – a narrative that makes sense. One of the Spirit’s functions, as it were, is to help us hear clearly.
And what is Luke careful to tell us that Spirit helped people to hear that first Pentecost? “Yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God…” The Spirit’s role is to help us tune into the sound of the voice of God – calling and inviting and challenging us to be a part of THE MISSION for the salvation of the world. And he used the 11 who had gathered, and the other followers to bring that about. For what Pentecost tells us is that is still speaking, still trying to let himself be heard from the babble of all the noise that it out there.
So what is the HS trying to make understood BY YOU? If the Spirit is using us, as he used those early disciples to reveal the mighty deeds of God, then within each of us is a gift, a voice, a note, a song – whatever image you want to use – that is given to us to make heard in the world. What might that be?
- Perhaps it is to work with our youth – either as they prepare for confirmation next fall, or in our outreach to them as members of the community at large – that God wants to make known through you.
- Perhaps it is the call to make the social justice dimension of the gospel known by words and deeds here at St. Ann. Then come to a meeting this Tuesday night at the rectory at 7 pm. – consider this your invitation. There will be at least three of us there…
- Maybe the Spirit is calling you to give a ride to a homebound person who can no longer drive. Let Pat M. know your availability.
- Perhaps it is yours to organize groups of people for activities – as the Men’s club has begun doing with a few social events. But instead of social activities, the Spirit is calling you to organize for a specific need in the community – such as the community garden that Sue Reid is organizing on the lower field. Listen for that invitation…
It was eye opening and ear opening to hear just one of those different languages this morning – and a reminder of the Spirit’s mission among us all. Spend some time LISTENING this week – Listening WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT and allowing God’s Spirit to sort through all the babble and the noise. And then say, with the church, – Come Holy Spirit – fill my heart, kindle in me the fire of your love – so that THROUGH ME and IN YOU, we might renew the face of the earth…