In the fourth century, a woman named Egeria traveled to the Holy Land and wrote back to her sisters in northwestern Spain about everything she saw along the way, especially how people in Jerusalem observed the church’s festivals.
Egeria wrote that Bishop Cyril preached in Greek. But not everyone in the assembly understood Greek. So, Syriac and Latin interpreters stood there alongside the bishop passing on what he said so that everyone could understand.
That caught my attention—that the early church in Jerusalem made sure that everyone could understand, no matter what language they spoke. I really like the idea of the early church simply making room for different languages.
So, this Easter Season, whenever you hear a language other than your own, think of what Egeria saw and heard in Jerusalem. Making room for different languages as the church in Jerusalem did so long ago is a way of carrying on the Holy Spirit’s work.
This message is excerpted from “Using language everyone can understand to carry on the work of the Holy Spirit” by Audrey Novak Riley from the March 31, 2021, blog of the Women of the ELCA.
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