The Universal Translator


Acts 2:5-8 (CEB)
5There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. 7They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? 8How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language?


OK, here’s one for the Star Trek fans—you know who you are.

It appears as though every alien life form Star Fleet Command encounters speaks English. On the screen is some entity human beings have never seen before and, somehow, the crew of the Enterprise is able to carry on an entire conversation…in English! Trekkies can tell you (and I can write about it because of hours of research) that the first star ship crews included linguists who would have to listen to the alien language, study it, learn it, and then translate it for the captain. Future generations of crews would have computerized translators built into their communications devices that would automatically translate between English and the alien’s language.

In the Scripture passage for today, the Holy Spirit has come upon the apostles. Even though they were all from the same region, people from other places who spoke other languages were able to understand everything they said. The apostles would speak and each person would hear them in his native language. It was amazing.

There’s an old song by Sandi Patty called “Love in Any Language.” Here are some of the lyrics:

We teach the young our differences
Yet look how we’re the same
We love to laugh, to dream our dreams
We know the sting of pain

Love in any language
Straight from the heart
Pulls us all together
Never apart
And once we learn to speak it
All the world will hear
Love in any language
Fluently spoken here


The language of love doesn’t need a fancy translator or a miracle to be understood. The language of love says, “We’re different, but you are one of God’s children and I accept you how you are.” The language of love says, “I don’t know you, but I see you’re in need and I can help you.” The language of love is often spoken across the ocean, but also needs to be spoken across the hallway at school. What language are you speaking?


If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.