Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Pentecost Lists

One of my favorite things about Pentecost is watching the poor hapless soul who has signed up to be liturgist that day crash and burn on the list of nationalities present in Jerusalem when the fire came down from heaven. How is it that we each hear in our own language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, and Phyrgia and Pamphylia......" Even brave little engines that chug along through the Medes and the Elamites are completely undone by Phyrgia and Pamphylia. If I were a really good pastor, I would sit down with these folks before church or write the whole reading out for them phoenetically. But normally I only mention the week before that they might want to read through next week's lessons beforehand for real this time. Then I sit back and watch the fun.

Am I the meanest pastor on earth? Possibly. But here's the thing. There is something so true and holy in hearing the miracle of Pentecost proclaimed by someone who is so obviously not speaking in tongues, who's getting it all screwed up and mispronouncing everything. It's like an auditory icon. Hear that? That's what we sound like on our own. That's what happens when we wing it with our own resources. For the gospel to sound like wind and flame, we need something more.

1 comment:

LutheranChik said...

Recently one of our lectors, stymied by the word "Areopagus," looked over at our pastor and asked, "How do I say it, and what is it?":-)