People’s Global Action: From Tower of Babel to a Time of Pentecost

umw PGA 2013 011rachel's photo 106Before General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Women Delegation arrived to be part of the People’s Global Action (PGA) during the United Nation’s High Level Dialogue (HLD) on Migration and Development there was much that had to be done. We had to drive, fly, and arrive by train in NYC to get to the United Nations (UN) and the Church Center For The United Nations (CCUN).

Before I arrived, I had received emails from Sophony Lamour and Alexandra E.Franco and had talked several times with Sophony on the phone prior to arriving. But when I arrived, meeting both women face to face had such a Biblical Imagery for me. It reminded me of how Moses felt on the journey when he met God face to face.

The journey to the UN is always filled with hearing voices in many languages. I am used to hearing many different languages in the hospital where I work. When mothers give birth they have to talk with the Doctors and the Nursing Staff. However, there are always Interpreters in the hospital; and if not present, the blue phone is always on hand 24/7 in every language and dialect to help us communicate. There have even been roosters in the background on the phone when we have talked with the interpreter on the phone in the middle of the night. However, the cost of providing interpreters for every language would make the PGA/HLD cost prohibitive. There are more than the six languages spoken around the world, and yet the UN has only the six official languages that they interpret. If one considers how many migrant workers and persons who are trafficked around the world, it makes sense that many do not speak one of those six official languages. Can you even image how confusing that would be for migrant workers and persons who are trafficked? What a modern day Tower of Babel!

It can become like a Tower of Babel as we try to speak to one another in all our many languages. And in the midst of our time together this past week, there were several times when I found that Maria and Carline were talking to me in Spanish and we all laughed as we realized that fact. But it did not feel like a Tower of Babel, because we were speaking face to face. It was more like a time when the Holy Spirit descended upon us and gave us a comforting sense of peace as we talked. In a real sense, that should be a role model for how we should be the church around our Global Village we call>Sophony and Alexandra, as well as Maria, Carline and I came to a time of Pentecost as we met each other face to face and in so doing, I saw the face of God. And I thank God for that moment of Pentecost.


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