June 2022 Newsletter
On the first Sunday in June, we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. One of my most meaningful experiences with Pentecost took place outside the United States. I was in Haiti on Pentecost Sunday in 2010. On January 12th at 4:53 PM a 7.0 magnitude quake struck, claiming the lives of more than 220,000 people. I will never forget seeing hundreds of buildings flattened with the bodies of thousands of people entombed. Multitudes of people were rendered homeless. They lived in relief tents with no privacy to bathe. I lodged in the second floor of a mission house. The first floor had sustained a fire when a propane gas line was severed during the strongest tremor. Deep fissures rendered our well dry. Most people were afraid to return to their homes and chose to sleep outside under tarps.
On Pentecost Sunday, 2010, my team and I walked to church for an outdoor service. It would be some time before the congregation returned inside. Haitian Creole is the language of Haiti. This was the language of worship. While I recognized the music of Amazing Grace and other hymns, I could not understand a word of the prayers nor sermon. But I understood something of what was being said. The language of worship is delivered in ways that express praise, petition, intercession, passion and more. I did not feel excluded. Our team felt a holy privilege to be chosen to join in the worship of a people who lost family, jobs, homes and what was left of an impoverished infrastructure. I lost a colleague, Rev. Clint Rabb, director of mission volunteers for the United Methodist Church. We spent a week together in Nicaragua the previous year. Rev. Rabb was in the Hotel Montana attending a meeting with mission partners when the building collapsed. He lived long enough for the flight to Miami giving us hope our friend and fellow pastor would survive. His injuries were too severe.
I thought about Clint and countless others whose lives were unexpectedly cut short. In Christ, our life is not “cut short.” We live and worship with God forever in the place made with our Creator. English speakers will be a minority of those who worship together. We will each speak in our own language unless the Lord gifts us with another, but we will understand one another.
Churches were packed on Pentecost Sunday 2010. A people who had lost much did not lose the faith to worship with great passion.
Join me on Pentecost Sunday! Worship the Lord! Praise His glorious name!