The first gift given to the brand new baby church was the gift of all languages.
Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs, in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power."
This was not the gift of tongues speaking a heavenly language. This was the gift of all languages of the people of earth. The disciples could be understood by people from all over the world, in each language that was needed. This ought to give us in the 21st century a hint that since the first gift given to the church was understandable communication, that we are called to talk with each other in a spirit of loving fellowship. Whatever differences we have, we have an obligation to sit down together and speak each other’s language. “When in Rome,” you not only “do as the Romans do,” if you want to be understood, you “speak as the Romans speak,” as much as possible in their language. So, when there are differences in our international Communion, the first thing the Spirit calls us to do is to communicate with each other gently and courteously and continue to walk together in the work of the Kingdom. And when there are differences in our diocese or in our parishes, we need to come together and communicate peacefully and in loving partnership in daily ministry. Having differences is no excuse. We are called from the first moment of our existence as church to listen and talk to each other, that we may walk together in the footsteps of Christ.
My new, homemade Pentecost t-shirt, printed front & back.