A reflection on Pentecost by The Rev. Camille Hegg
Part of the story of Pentecost is that people of different countries and cultures understood each other, for the first time perhaps.
Maybe it was an awakening for them, that they could understand someone from a different culture who spoke in a language they didn’t know. How that happened I don’t know. But I do know that it takes some dedication to understand a language other than the language of one’s birth. The Holy Spirit is always involved in dedication.
Last week my seven year old grandchild shouted out from her back seat of the car we were in….
“omg…Look at the yellow punch buggy.” I was glad I understood. “Oh, my God, look at the yellow Volkswagen.” How does a seven year old know “omg?” And I doubt she knows Volkswagen, just punch buggy. They also yell out “bubblegum” when they see a yellow car.
I was schooled by her 10 year old sister. She taught me “LOL” (“lots of love” or “lots of luck” or “lots of laughs”) “IDK” (“I don’t know”) “BFF” (best friends forever)and of course, “OMG.”
I haven’t taught them some of our initials in the church” “AMGD” : “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – to the greater glory of God” or “HIS” the first three letters of Jesus ‘ name. No, it’snot, “In His Service.”
It’s important to learn the language of the people we are with. We need to know about the cultural and religions sects or groups in Iraq and in the religion of Islam, about the customs of the Japanese, the Hindu, Buddhists, all religious groups.
We need to know about the genocide in Darfur and Rwanda and other regions. We need to know about the recovery in hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the floods of Nashville.
Every now and then I am asked, “habla Espanol?” I can reply ‘um poco” and usually discern what the person needs. Seven years of Spanish in high school and college and I am very rusty at it. But more and more I am meeting Hispanic people who need help and I am grateful that I can do my little bit. They are patient with me.
My friend is very careful to keep quiet about his burning passion. He helps undocumented mothers who have a baby in this country, get the child a US passport. That way, if she gets deported, the baby, at some point, can come back into the country.
There is so much to reading the lessons for Pentecost, and how the Holy Spirit participates in understanding all people.
To be an aware person, we need not to hide our faces, but look squarely at reality hope and an eye to find the holy in the midst all we experience.