Mothers’ Union Devotion Sunday 23rd May 2021 Pentecost

Every Thursday night in the religious community of Taizé in France, the prior, Brother Alois, gives a talk in French and English. As there are people from all over the world present at any one time, the sermon has to be translated into many languages. The most common languages are simultaneously translated and broadcast over speakers in different parts of the church. The rarer languages transmitted through headphones. Therefore, you must sit in the correct part of the church in order to hear in your language.

If you sit in the middle of the church, you can hear all the languages being broadcast over the different speakers at once. A real Pentecost moment from an outsider’s point of view. The message at Taizé is understood by all the different nationalities present, in the same way the visitors to Jerusalem heard that first Pentecost. What I imagine is different from my experiences at Taizé, is that the crowds in Jerusalem did not hear the different languages all at once. I think each person heard the speech of Peter that day clearly in their own language. Each person had a clear personal message.

Unlike the brothers at Taizé who translated the sermon into a language that they already spoke, the disciples spoke in languages they did not know. Including some that they possibly had not come across before, let alone been able to speak. While waiting in the house, altogether in one place, as instructed by Jesus, they had experienced the power of God through the Holy Spirit. When they came out the crowd experienced this miracle as well. They heard the miraculous speech of the disciples that was powered by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enabled each person to hear the message directly from the disciples, not second hand by a translator as at Taizé. And the people listened, were baptised and joined the disciples in fellowship.

Well, the miracle of Pentecost was 2000 years ago. Just like the visitors in Jerusalem who heard a personal message in their own languages, we also can experience highly varied and surprising communication with the Holy Spirit. Maybe a feeling of inspiration when trying to make a decision. A tingling sensation when the words of a hymn strikes us.

A light bulb moment when reading or listening to the Bible. The overwhelming compulsion to help when we hear of someone’s dreadful predicament. A sudden and dramatic commitment to follow Jesus wherever he may lead. The means of communication used by the Holy Spirit are even more varied than the different languages spoken by the followers of Jesus. Sometimes it is just a case of waiting patiently, whilst allowing ourselves to become fully open to the power, prompting and presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

With all my love and prayers

Revd Sandra