We Hear in Our Own Tongue!

Some things never change. Here’s one. There’s not a sweeter sound in all the world than the sound of your own language. And there is, in all the world, no sweeter sound in any language than the sound of your own name. If you doubt it, have someone who should remember forget your name. OR, have someone you wouldn’t expect: remember. Ever since God named the light Day and the dark Night, ever since DAY ONE, your own name and tongue have been a THING with God. A big thing. So … don’t be surprised. On the day God pours out God’s Spirit on the earth to speak the name above every name, JESUS, God speaks our language, to each of us, by name! So it is the Church is born. Happy birthday, Church! And at the same time our mission, yours and mine, is given. This is it. From the newest to the longest baptized. Tell everyone you meet the name of Jesus. Do it, speaking their own language. Call them by name, in the name of Jesus Christ. Show and tell them, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Acts 2. They were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and filled all the house. [Not 1 corner, not one soul was UNfilled, much less missed!] They were [as never before] able to speak each other’s language. Even Peter. Especially Peter. The one who, weeks before, insisted he didn’t even know the man, now spoke Jesus. And everybody understood. From now ‘til Kingdom come, “wonders in heaven above and signs on the earth.” God saving… at the mere mention of Jesus. Ours to embrace and to share. Whatever else today-is-to-you, it’s your day to accept this invitation. SPEAK JESUS! So everyone can understand. Last fall, RB was with us. We were feeding the workers both here and across the street at those new town homes. They didn’t exactly get it over there. O, sandwiches are multilingual. But when Rick began to speak with them in Spanish, eyes lighted. Smiles broadened. The cross and flame on some of our shirts came alive to them. The Spirit flowed. SPEAK JESUS! So everyone can understand. You needn’t know another tongue to speak his name. Only an open spirit to the Spirit. That’s it. Many of our confirmands will go to Rock this year like their older siblings. There, the music speaks teen-speak. And Jesus speaks through it all. Kids meet friends/strangers and fall on each others’ shoulders. Laughs erupt and tears cascade like waterfalls, often without a word. And the Spirit fills all the house. SPEAK JESUS! So everyone can understand. In an elevator at Hopkins, getting off at the Pediatric Floor, parents are getting on. I happen to be in clerics with this cross. The sniffling mom reaches out, nearly clasps it. No word exchanged. The doors start to close. Her arm still reaches. “Thank you,” she says. I don’t know what happened. She does. God does. In a language I can’t speak but the cross can. So we need to take it with us. In our gestures, in our behaviors, in our hearts-for each-other. And whenever we can, however best we can, in our words. And the Spirit will make-due with us, as with them so long ago. God’s gift. And saving wonders will overflow.

Scripture teaches, “They were amazed when each heard in their own tongue, the wonderful works of God.” I ask you. ‘You who’ve been here as long, or nearly so, as you can remember. And you who have come in recent years. And [those of] you who are coming today. Can you feel it? The Spirit blowing again on all who are gathered in this house? I tell you, we have the chance to put Berlitz and Rosetta and the language school over at the Odenton Junction to shame. See, there’s no language-of-the-heart the Spirit doesn’t speak. Or can’t/won’t teach us. No communication’s foreclosed to those who call on the name and cling to the Spirit of Christ. Friday night, an 11 yr. old boy met me in the lower hall, both of us leaving for the evening. Outta nowhere he enthused. “Rev. Ken, I can’t wait to see that new building opened. I wanna see what God’s gonna do in there! …‘With me and you.” I was taken aback. All I can tell you is something over there’s speaking his language! And, I confess, I have a little different question. “What is God going to do with us from there? Where will the Spirit send us in the community to speak somebody’s language? ‘Whom we don’t yet even know? Whom will we welcome to Christ, just by speakin’ their language? Maybe the building will speak to them. (The Cleaners guy, says, “I wanna see it when it’s done.) Maybe the Praise Band’ll do it. (Is there any way we could set ‘em up at OSC or the station?) Maybe the youth and their clowns (next week) will do it at Odenton Day or OFD Carnival. Maybe we can get the Spunk Gym to let us do a little Bible Study (Faith for the Fit, Fit for the Faith). A soccer field’s behind us. In season, 100’s of families. What if we spoke their language? Who knows?

All I know is, from Day 1, God’s been calling creation in its own tongue and time. ‘Naming us and calling us by name. Us too, by the Spirit, in Christ. And inviting us: Now you do it for each other. Now’s the time. Today’s the day. It’s a new day!  It’s our birthday! Happy Birthday, all!

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