Written by Rev Dr Apwee Ting, Assembly National Consultant
On the Day of Pentecost one of the great miracles of the Spirit of God was manifested in various languages. The ability to speak and hear the Good News in different languages is an important sign of God's presence. On the day of Pentecost, we see language is part of the diversity and unity of all God’s People. Language is no longer a barrier.
In the coming of the Spirit among the disciples, we see the diversity of society is no longer a threat nor is it something that divides us - rather it is the reality of God's creation. We celebrate our diversity as God’s gift.
We share this video as part of our series reflecting on the Identity of the Uniting Church. We hope it provides a reminder and a celebration of our Identity as an intercultural church – both our commitment to being multicultural and to living our life and faith as an intercultural community.
The Uniting Church is blessed with multiple languages in both our First Peoples and Second Peoples. In the Uniting Church, there are more than 45 languages groups worshipping every Sunday in congregations across the country.
On this Pentecost Celebration, we are grateful to hear 21 UCA members proclaim this reading from Acts 2: 1-21 in their heart languages.
We encourage you to use, share and play this video as you mark Pentecost this week.
A big thank you to everyone who took part (see names below).
Bringing together this video, I felt the Spirit of God was mysteriously at work to bring together the languages for the 21 verses of this passage from Acts.
When I initially reached out to our First Peoples through National Consultant Covenanting Stuart McMillan, we received responses for four languages. That meant I still needed to find 17 other languages.
I then realised that UCA has 13 National Conferences and four of these National Conferences are bilingual:
Middle Eastern National Conference: Arabic and Armenian
Chinese National Conference: Chinese and Taiwanese
South Sudanese National Conference: Dinka and Nuer
Ibero Latino National Conference: Portuguese and Spanish.
There was a video involving 21 languages, and this was all because of the work of the Spirit of God in us. Thanks be to the Spirit!
The Coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-21)
1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. (Rosemary Jinmauliya, Burarra)
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. (Helen Milminydjarrk, Djambarrpuyŋu)
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. (Perry Yankaporta, Wik Mungkan)
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Carolyn Namiriya, Pitjantjatjara)
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. (Rev Dr Emanuel Audisho, Arabic)
6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. ( Anita Soghomonian, Armenian)
7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? (Rev Enshuo Zhu, Chinese)
8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? (Rev Paul Dau, Dinka)
9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (Nina Kautoga, Fijian)
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, (Cecile Surjanegara, Indonesian)
11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” (Rev Seungjae Yeon, Korean)
12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Falala Pipitolu-Talagi, Niuean)
13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” (Elizabeth Leth,Nuer)
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. (Rev Esteban Lievano, Portugese)
15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. (Rev Kili Mafaufau, Samoan)
16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: (Rev Kemeri Lievano, Spanish)
17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams. (Keyna Gem Guerrero,Tagalog)
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy. (Jane Zeng, Taiwanese)
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist. (Sakuntala Roberts Tamil)
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. (Lisita Palutele,Tongan)
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Anh Vo,Vietnamese)