Alicia Davis Porterfield: Kitchen Table Pentecost, Take Two

“In our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deed of power.” –Acts 2:11

The kitchen is the heart of our home.

Not in the HGTV sparkling stainless steel, open concept, granite countertop kind of way. More in the stove from the ’70’s, cups all over the counter (because every time a boy needs a drink of water he also needs a new cup, saith nobody ever!), jelly on the floor kind of way.

At our kitchen table, three boys, ages 8, 10 and 12, discuss their days, the current sport of the season and entertain each other with displays of certain bodily functions. Belatedly, they tack on a mumbled “excuse me” when given the parental stink eye.

Yep, raising them up in the way they should go. That’s us.

The recent table talk is all about the NBA post season, which seems to last a legion of weeks, by the way. As some know, I am not a sports fanatic.

Every sports interview ever. - Imgur

I never learned to speak basketball.

Usually, the boys’ chatter washes over me at the table. I interject only to add, “Please chew with your mouth closed,” and “is your napkin on your lap?” and other such vital contributions.

Our middle child sometimes tries to include me.
“Mom, who do you like best: Kevin Love or Chris Paul?”
“Uhhhh . . who’s Kevin Love?”
“Mom!! Only my favorite player (this week, I add silently)! He’s on
the Taco Bell commercial. Chris Paul is the State Farm guy with the fake twin,
Cliff Paul.”
“Oh, right. Chris Paul. He seems like a good sport and his little boy is just

But mostly, waves of baller-speak wash over me. I’m tuned out. Thinking about the Weight Watcher points in this meal and the list of chores between me and bedtime.

Pentecost is this Sunday, when the Holy Spirit swooshed down (get the Nike reference?!) and Jesus’ followers suddenly proclaimed the good news of Christ in languages they’d never before uttered. Passover travelers from all over the Mideast stood in Jerusalem’s streets hearing God’s good news in Christ in their own languages for the first time.

All they had to do was listen. The Spirit was speaking.

And so it is at our kitchen table. Baller-speak winds around me, telling me something important about each child and his perspective, his hopes, his burgeoning faith. With the language of courts and rosters and predictions, each one shares a subtle dialect, unique to who God is shaping him to be.

Sports-speak is not my native tongue. I may never learn to speak it well.

But if I open myself to the movement of the Spirit, I may just hear “God’s deeds of power” right there at our battered kitchen table. All I have to do is listen. Amen.


This is an edited encore version of a post from Pentecost 2014. 

Rev. Alicia Davis Porterfield is fluent in Mom-speak thanks to the three boys she raises with her husband, Eric. The moderator of this blog, she is currently serving as interim pastor at FBC Carolina Beach.

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