Pentecost is coming! My favorite day of the church year is Pentecost Sunday. While I’m not much for cheesy connections between ordinary life and the spiritual life (like seeing the virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich*),I am a firm believer in the workings of God to allow ordinary things to speak to my soul.
During this week leading up to Pentecost, I’ve felt a strong pull to my homeland and my heart language: Brazil and Spanish, respectively.
One of the reasons I love Pentecost so much is because I have never felt the holy spirit with me to the extent that I did during my graduate school summers interpreting for mission teams in Baja California, Mexico.
I use the word “interpreting” intentionally. It carries a stronger weight, a deeper impact than “translating.” Even though we called ourselves translators (famlators, as we would later be known because you can’t help but become besties when you’re doing what you love with people who love it just as much), our jobs were to hear the words spoken in English, translate from English to Spanish in our heads, interpret the core meaning while extracting out colloquialisms that don’t translate well, and speak them back to the people in their native tongue.
Only the holy spirit of God could allow us to do this well, to do this effectively, in a matter of about 30 seconds per sentence spoken in English. It was a tremendous weight, a wonderful gift, and a glorious revelation of God with us.
This week, I have been enjoying Brazilian treats like coconut flavored cornstarch cookies and “drumsticks” which are tear drop-shaped mounds of dough made from flour and chicken broth, stuffed with chicken and olives then breaded and deep-fried. My mornings have been incomplete without Brazilian cheese bread, Hillsong in Spanish on my way to work, and reading through my Mexico journals to connect my soul to the places and people it longs to be reunited with.
Latin culture and I are joined at the (hugely Latin and curvy) hips, and there’s no stopping its pull on my heart. I thank the Lord for Pentecost Sunday: my own little soul revival to remind me that God loves me, God calls me, God gifts me, and God sustains me with the power of a mysterious holy spirit who leads and guides my actions to God’s praise.
Thanks be to God!
* That said, one Christmas I did give my dad a grilled cheese press with which to imprint the virgin Mary onto a grilled cheese sandwich. He was not impressed. I thought it was hilarious. Because it was.