“Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome … Cretans and Arabs - we hear them proclaiming the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:9-11, NIV, 2011).
Needing to find a new sound to shore up his body of work, singer/songwriter Paul Simon went to South Africa back in the 80s. As he walked the streets and learned the culture, and especially as he listened to the music, Simon gathered the ingredients for a new album, entitled “Graceland.” In it, he collaborated with African musicians across multiple musical genres and for it won the 1987 Grammy for “Album of the Year.” “Graceland” sold around 16 million copies. It is considered one of the greatest albums of all time by some. Reflecting on the whole experience, Simon concluded that the album demonstrated “an unusual degree of understanding among people who had just met” - a line for the ages. This is how it is when strangers of deep understanding, be it musical or spiritual or any other kind of understanding, recognize what holds them together: a remarkably unusual degree of understanding indeed, as it was on the Day of Pentecost. In a world profoundly divided, let this be our prayer, church: God, please grant your people everywhere an unusual degree of understanding in the cause of Christ!