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“Happy Pentecost!”

Celebrating the birthday of the church with a prayer to help us truly listen to others.

Prayer blogger Rick Hamlin

Years ago at Pentecost our preacher was trying to get us excited about the holiday. “It’s one of the most important holidays in the Christian calendar,” he exclaimed. “It’s the birthday of the church. We should get dressed up like we do at Easter and do special things. We should have special food for Pentecost …”

At that point a member of the choir leaned over to me and whispered, “Tongue?”

That still makes me laugh. Of course, Pentecost was that day the disciples were gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem when, as the Bible puts it, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

More amazing to me is that when the crowds gathered there from every corner of the globe and heard the disciples speak they heard them in their own tongues. It makes me think my prayer of the day should be one of listening with inspiration as much as talking. Lord, let me hear others as you do. Let me understand what they’re saying no matter what background or what tongue.

A couple hundred people in a remote corner of the Roman Empire mushroomed into the 2 billion Christians who will celebrate Pentecost this Sunday. That’s cause for celebration.

So wish all your friends “Happy Pentecost!” We don’t use that phrase much in English but it’s said in both French and Italian and I think it’s about time we say it here. Have a big cake. Someone will bake one at our church. There might even be candles to blow out. To celebrate that rush of wind that was the Holy Spirit and that has stuck around for much good.

But no, I don’t expect to eat any tongue.

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