2 When the day of Pentecostarrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. (Acts 2:1-6 ESV)
Two thousand years ago on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit transformed thedisciples of Jesus. Their fears were replaced by courage as they proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To reach the people of various nationalities gathered in Jerusalem they spoke in the peoples’ native tongues.
The Holy Spirit continues to work these days in overcoming language barriers so that the Gospel is proclaimed.
In Thailand, where just over 1% of the population are Christian and only a quarter of the people speak English, finding and attending a Christian church where English is used could be a challenge. But a church in Bangkok that I have attended had installed head phones in the back pews for foreign visitors so that they can hear the Thai-language service as it is translated into English.
The American missionary who served my home church in Metro Manila went through intensive language study before being deployed. He had an excellent command of Tagalog; he even had a “provincial accent”. He quickly established rapport with us and won the heart of the congregation as he shared the Gospel with us.
Bible translators continue to work diligently to make the Word of God accessible to remote ethnic people groups.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit continues to inspire individuals as they live out the Gospel and bear the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
Doctors and health workers in various countries have risked their lives attending to their Covid patients. In the Philippines some poor farmers donated sacks of camote (sweet potato) to the community pantry in a depressed village in Metro Manila. In another city, instead of accosting a poor, elderly man for not wearing a face mask, a policeman bought one from a nearby store and gave it to the man. Wherever we see such deeds of compassion the Holy Spirit is there though unseen — prompting, inspiring and empowering.
Through the Word and he Sacraments the Holy Spirit assures us of the forgiveness of our wrong doings when we repent and keeps us in our faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit comforts us in our loneliness. And when at times we are so overcome by emotion that words escape us, the Holy Spirit prays for us (Rom. 8:26).
When are you most aware of the Holy Spirit in your life? How has the Holy Spirit helped you in this pandemic?
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to us. Help us to be intentional in listening to the Holy Spirit that we may proclaim God’s love to others and aid those who are in need or going through difficult situations. In Christ’s Name. Amen.
Photo by Sunguk Kim on Unsplash