At church yesterday we had the reading from Acts about speaking in tongues. As is the custom in many parishes on Pentecost, people stood up to read the same text in different languages to great dramatic effect. Every Sunday we have an American Sign Language interpreter, and thus there was another native tongue to underscore the drama of the reading!
Parishioners wore red, orange or yellow to commemorate the tongues of fire distributed by the Holy Spirit. The nave flamed with everything from flamboyant dresses and shirts to bright accents on the tasteful ties of business suits. Sometimes in the Christian life, the fire is more of a touch than a blaze. And sometimes the world-including language is more of a single, right word than an outpouring of speech. Witness the impact when “gay” is among the people included in Church and “partner” is among the family ties celebrated and the pronoun of God is simply said as “she.”