When travelling in non-English speaking countries, signs that have obviously been
literally translated into English for visitors can often be confusing and amusing.
Here are a couple of examples.
From the brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo, “When passengers on foot are in
sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles
your passage, then tootle him with vigour.”
In a Greek tailor shop, “Order your summer suit now because if big rush, we will
execute customers in strict rotation”. Making a good intelligible translation from
one language to another is hard work and can be very difficult.
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples had no problem in making themselves understood.
They didn't need dictionaries or people to translate to find the best way to say
something in a foreign language. Normally the disciples with their thick Galilean
accents would have had difficulty speaking to those gathered in Jerusalem. But on
the Day of Pentecost whatever language or accent people were using, everyone understood
what was being said. Here was a marker set down by God that a new day had dawned:
“How is it that each of us hears them in our own native language?.... we hear them
declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked
one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2: 8-12).
There are three words that described what happened on that first Pentecost Day –
Heard, Saw and Spoke. Firstly, those present heard a sound – they heard what sounded
like a mighty rushing wind. Secondly, they saw what appeared to be tongues of fire
which spread out across the crowd and touched each person there. And thirdly, after
hearing and seeing, they spoke. They preached, they testified to the great things
God was doing among them. Jesus had said that he would send to them his Holy Spirit
who would be their helper and stay with them for ever.
The crowd out in the street scoffed saying, “They're drunk!” The mob could not imagine
that God would use ignorant and unlearned people from the backwater of Galilee to
speak the languages of those present
with such skill and precision. In spite of the mockery, Peter preaches a short sermon
about Jesus. His sermon is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Peter tells the
crowd that through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, a world-changing
moment has arrived. That day three thousand people heard and believed and were baptised.
As with Peter and the other disciples, their transformation gives us all hope. They
went from a timid group who struggled to understand Jesus' message and hid away in
fear, to leaders boldly preaching to thousands. Pentecost reminds us that there is
a supernatural aspect to our faith. This is not something to be feared but something
to rejoice in, for the Spirit enables us all to be used by God regardless of our
circumstances, weaknesses and struggles. Whenever we feel we are ineffective witnesses
for Christ, let us not despair, but ask the Holy Spirit to come alongside us and
As history has shown us, great things have been done in our world through the testimony,
conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Just as those first disciples began to
turn the world upside down at Pentecost, so we can be part of continuing to do so.
Living God, we remember today
how you transformed the lives of those first disciples:
how through the breath of your Spirit,
you turned their fear into confidence,
their weakness into strength,
their doubt into faith,
and their sorrow into joy.
Come to us now, through that same Spirit.
Take our weak and hesitant faith
and fill us with unshakeable trust in your purpose.
Take our stumbling discipleship,
and grant us energy and enthusiasm
to proclaim the gospel through word and deed.
Take our fear and anxieties
and give us courage
and your peace that passes all understanding.
Take our gifts and talents and
use them in the service of your kingdom.
In the name of Jesus Christ we ask these things.
Canon Dave Sat. 30 May
Canon Dave’s Weekly Message
As the lockdown rules begin to gradually ease, we hope it won't be long before we
can meet again to worship in Church and say our prayers. At this season of Pentecost
let's all pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show us the way forward for
our Churches. In the meantime please keep safe and well and be in touch if you need