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Speaking without Words

In the church there are often so many things that are shared that sometimes we forget not everyone knows about them. I remember growing up, listening to these words and stories trying to muddle my way through and pretending that I knew what everyone else was talking about. It wasn’t until the Youth and Young Adults Pastor got up and shared that there is no such thing as a stupid question, and that if there was anything we were confused about then she was a safe person who we could ask these faith questions too.

Well, I took the opportunity of a safe place to ask a question that I had been wondering about every year growing up - What even is Pentecost?

Not only was she able to share with me the story of Acts 2:1-21, but she broke it open, sharing about Holy Spirit, what it meant for the people, the church, and what it means for me. I cannot help but be drawn to how this was not only a sharing of the story, but a lived example of the story we read about it. In this moment she translated the Good News in a way that I could hear it and understand.

Often when we read the Pentecost story we are led by our fascination of what it meant to be overcome by the Spirit that the words spoken on that day were vast, varied and still could be understood. What would that be like if we were overcome by Holy Spirit that when we spoke about the Good News people are not only hear, but understand? They were able to hear it with their hearts?

Being able to hear with ones heart reminds me that not only is hearing beyond our ears possible, but that speaking beyond words is possible, too. New and different languages come in many ways, and more than just those of different words - what would it mean to help translate the Good News to other ways? The language of song, body and even senses? I think often we forget that there are many ways we can ‘speak’, and that perhaps to live out the story of Pentecost today is taking the opportunity to break open the Gospel in ways that people understand. What does the Pentecost story mean for you? What does it mean for the person sitting next to you? What are the ways we can ‘translate’ the Gospel story that for a moment for ones heart to hear it - like a ‘lightbulb’ moment. Or in the case of the Acts story, like a ‘tongue of fire’ moment, where the Good News was illuminated so that all are about to understand.

Kelly Skilton

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