Last night I was sitting in the Discipleship Legislative Committee meeting and turned around to behold what you see in this picture. Translators working to interpret the goings on of General Conference in (at least) six different languages. This was a powerful sight to me, especially on the day before Pentecost Sunday. It is an amazing sign that we are a global church telling of God’s works in many languages. It’s also a powerful reminder that this is what our church is called to do: communicate the great works of God so that every person can intimately understand it.
This morning I was looking for a church to attend, so I pulled up the UMC.org website to find UM churches near me. Several of the churches near me didn’t have websites, their information wasn’t updated, and I had trouble finding the worship time for those who did have websites. I don’t mean to be picking on Portland. This is a reality for many UM churches across the U.S. in every community. In a world that speaks digitally, most churches are still speaking analog. I know that decent, updated websites, are not the end-all-be-all that will ultimately transform the world, but a well used Facebook page, and a focused effort to speak to a world walking around with supercomputers in their pockets would go a long way.
The Pentecost fire is, of course, much more than websites and social media. It is the power of God to proclaim God’s good news to the nations. It is a consuming fire which I hope will fall upon all United Methodist no matter what language they speak!