As I begin thinking about our Pentecost celebration I find myself mulling over the question of language. This year both readings we are using touch on the topic. In Genesis we hear the Biblical explanation for why we don't all speak the same language. And a major point in the Acts story of the first Christian Pentecost is that all the hearers heard the Good News proclaimed in their own language.
So what challenge does that give us? It challenges us to ensure that we are telling the old story to people in their own language!!!! Thee and Thou are not a big part of many people's language today.
Language is a tricky thing, mainly because it is always (and I mean always) evolving. Not just slang but everyday language changes generationally. Lately it has been even faster. So what language do we need to use? Does it make sense to use shepherding and farming images to inner-city kids who only see food wrapped in plastic wrap on grocery store shelves? What idioms have the meaning that we want to portray when we talk about the Good Shepherd?
In the church we really do need to be multi-lingual--even if we are only using English. What language do we use to tell the Good News to those who are around to hear us?