Thoughts for Thursday 28th May 2020

Psalm 33:12-22; Exodus 19:1-9a; Acts 2:1-11

 Thursday 28 May - Rev. Jerry Eve

 My initial thought as I read our three passages today, influenced most of all by the mention of so many different peoples in Acts 2, is ‘language’. There are 15 place names (16 if we include Cyrene), and this reminds me of a similarly multi-lingual situation I once found myself in. It was important, I soon realised, that if someone was going to have to go to the bother of translating what you had to say, that it was something that was worth saying in the first place. I can remember, therefore, doing a lot more listening than speaking – which was no bad thing.

If you’ve ever been to the British Museum, you’ll have seen the Rosetta Stone. It’s the most visited object they have. And it is remarkable. Dating from Biblical times (196 BC), and then re-discovered in 1799, it was used to help decipher hieroglyphics. And, as such, it’s become a byword for any clue to a new field of knowledge.

 The Bible itself, I always feel, is like that. It’s like a Rosetta Stone, in that the more we study it, the more it opens up new fields of knowledge, and the more we find we do actually have something important to say; and even maybe important enough for someone to go to the bother of translating it for us so that others can hear and understand it. Which is surely the message of Pentecost i.e. that the Good News of the Gospel is something we need to share, and everyone needs to hear.

 Just another couple of thoughts occur to me today. And the first is: a few days ago we were wondering why there were two stone tablets containing ten commandments, and we did have some suggestions, but maybe other might be that one was a ‘translation’ of the other – and possibly of Hebrew into hieroglyphics (I know that sounds preposterous, but why not?)

 And the other thought: The word for Pentecost means ‘fiftieth’. Pentecost is named as such because it falls on the fiftieth day after Easter. The other time that the word ‘pentecost’ is used in the Bible is at Leviticus 25:10 where we have an account of Jubilee:

 “In this way you shall set the ‘fiftieth’ year apart and proclaim freedom to all the inhabitants of the land. During this year all property that has been sold shall be restored to the original owner or his descendants, and anyone who has been sold as a slave shall return to his family.”

 It’s inconceivable, I think, that the very earliest of Christians wouldn’t have celebrated Pentecost without direct reference to that key Old Testament text.

 Let us pray:

 Jubilate, Everybody,
Serve The Lord In All Your Ways,
And Come Before His Presence Singing,
Enter Now His Courts With Praise.
For The Lord Our God Is Gracious,
And His Mercy’s Everlasting.
Jubilate, Jubilate, Jubilate Deo, Amen.

 (Fred Dunn)


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