Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
The story of Pentecost in the story of the beginning of the church, sometimes called the birthday of the church. The Pentecost means 50 days after the Resurrection. And the apostles and other followers of Jesus are waiting for their instructions on what to do next. And the story begins like this. When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound of a rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire place where they were sitting. And the divided tongues, as a fire appeared, and a tongue rested on each one, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages. The tongues that are referred to; first there are the divided tongues of the fire, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but they are enabled to speak in other languages. And what follows is they begin to talk about the mighty deeds of God's in all these different languages. It happened to be people from all over the Roman Empire who have come to Jeruselum for this festival. They hear the languages and they're...""What does this mean? How is it that we hear them speaking of God's mighty deeds in our own languages? Are these that are speaking Galileans, dumb farmers from the north? How is it that they can speak all these languages?"" Some say, ""Ah, they're just drunk."" But Peter stands up and says, ""Oh, people of Judea, they're not drunk. It's only 9 o' clock in the morning!"" No, this is what was spoken about by the prophet, Joel. Then God says, ""I will send out my Spirit among all God's people; and the young will see visions and the old will dream dreams, and proclaim what God wants for God's people."" Tongues sometimes refer to the experience of what's called ""Glossolalia"", a charismatic outburst of just sound that occur in some churches, but here, tongues are referring to speaking in other languages, which is so that all the people can hear the story of Jesus.