Sunday, June 22, 2008

Glossalalia (Tongues) My Tiny Miracle in Spanish

Tonight I had a weird, but wonderful experience. I spoke Spanish. Okay, I know that millions of people speak Spanish, but I do not. Well, I know a few words like "Mas leche por favor," "taco," and "via con Dios." Perhaps a hundred words of Spanish might be found in my vocabulary if I thought about it hard and long, but that's what happens when you've been to Mexico, and lived near the Mexican border most of your life.

Yet my experience speaking Spanish was unknown to me until after it happened, and it occurred in a spontaneous moment of worship during our Sunday evening service. As a group we spent sometime singing improvisationally to a worship song, simply creating words of praise from our hearts. I sang in tongues during this time, and when the song ended Carlos asked if I knew that I was worshiping in Spanish.

Cool. I have been praying each morning this week about receiving the gift of interpretation of tongues, and then added that I would also like to speak in languages of this earth which I have never learned. Is this the beginning to answering that prayer? I dunno.

Skepticism can be had on this issue, but all I know is that it was weird and cool, all at once, and I am thinking that God was doing something unique among the small group at church tonight.

For more on the experience see the post at our church blog.


Kieran Conroy said...

That's beautiful Phil, so sorry I missed it (though I was definitely where I was needed this weekend).

Since getting back from Korea, I've been considering starting to pray about Tongues, period... long been one of those things that weirded me out... but I'm starting to catch glimpses of something that resonates me, of the beauty of being able to pray so deeply that words stop mattering. I literally heard that in Korea, the closest thing I could describe it as was hearing someone "speak" a Beethovan symphony, spontaneously, from the deepest part of their soul. The heights, and depths of their chanting were that vivid.

I'm also reminded of some of my experiences at the Paulist Center, a progressive Catholic community near Boston Common... they will sometimes slip in bits of Spanish or African hymns, along with a general Celtic flare. There have been a few services when that simple liturgical choice deeply moved me, when I felt tied to the church's many sister communities, often suffering, across the world, simply by singing their words. A true Communion of Saints, in a world when the church is growing fastest among those who humble us in our privilage... it makes sense that the first miracle of Pentecost reached out to all peoples.

Adam Gonnerman said...

This is the only kind of "tongues-speaking" I'll consider accepting as possible. Real human languages, praising God.

Glad it was a meaningful experience. My Portuguese (learned, though I believe with divine blessing) would have been sufficient for me to have gotten the drift of what you were saying. I would have liked to have heard it.