“We are All Translators”

"We are All Translators"
 “We are All Translators”                                       Acts 2:1-12   Star Trek was a science fiction television show developed in the 60’s about a crew of explorers bravely going out into the universe where “no one had gone before”.   While it only aired a few years, it later inspired many movies and television spin-offs that are still being shown and created today.  If you are at all familiar with Star Trek then you are probably familiar with the concept of a universal translator.

The universal translator was the program in all the computers on the spaceships or space stations that allowed all the characters to speak to each other whether they were human, Vulcan or Klingon.  No matter what planet or galaxy they might have been from, or how different they were from each other, everyone could communicate through the technological wonder of the universal translator.

Wouldn’t it be great to have such a device when you travelled or encountered people from different countries?  The disciples seem to have such a tool in the reading we will hear from Acts this Sunday.  It is not a piece of technology, however.  Rather, it is the Holy Spirit.

When the Holy Spirit comes upon them on the day of Pentecost the followers of Jesus are driven out into the streets by the rush of a mighty wind and tongues of flame.  Once outside they find themselves confronted by crowds of people from all over the world and they suddenly begin speaking in different languages so that those crowds can understand them.  It is as if the Spirit was a universal translator connecting the diverse group of individuals so that they could understand the message of God’s love.

Unfortunately the Holy Spirit does not seem to magically allow us to speak in different languages today, but could it still continue to work within us to bring about understanding?   Can the Holy Spirit cause us to be more open and patient with those who are different from us?  Whether we know another language or not, could the Holy Spirit move us to be translators of the faith—people who seek to show signs of God’s presence through how we treat others?

-Pastor Erik Goehner

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