Today, Christianity celebrated the feast of Pentecost. It is also the birth of the Church. One of the significant reading goes like this,
- When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
They were speaking in languages so that people from different situations/context/countries/language groups could understand. Nobody was excluded. What does the word tongues of fire means today? I am not a scriptural theologian to analyze it. Some of the thoughts that went through my mind are
- Today we speak of peace. We speak of the need for harmony, love, compassion. But the languages of one group of people are not intelligible completely to another set. Right wing may not understand that of left wing, conservative of liberal, Christian of Hindu/Muslim. We can’t throw away these categories, but the call of Spirit is an invitation to go beyond these structures to make our message of love, peace, joy, compassion and harmony intelligible to all.
- I don’t know how the Spirit will guide in this mission, but I feel it is an invitation to learn the art of dialogue.
- Just as Spirit helped the disciples to build new connections with people and helped them to re-establish the connection with God, it is an invitation to re-connect with creation and the other human beings. (Ecological issues, human rights and gender issues – atrocities to dalits, tribals, women – makes it all the more pressing)