Yearly reading: Genesis 9-11
And the Lord said, "Look, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another's speech. Genesis 11: 6-7 NRSV
I used to think this was the Biblical explanation for the many spoken languages on earth. But this morning, I have come to realize this is about misunderstanding.
My husband and I speak the same language. However, it is rare for us to actually hear what the other is saying. One of our marriage-building exercises is to repeat what we hear the other person saying. Many times we can get it correct but only with a great deal of effort. In other words, it works when we do the exercise but not when we speak to one another on a daily basis.
I also speak the same language as my parents. But often I can sense that many times they just don't get what I am saying. It really isn't a matter of understanding per se but a matter of seeing the world in a similar way. I have spent time in a regular basis to try to explain myself to my mother; I have given up on my father - he is only going to see things from his own perspective.
Then there is my son. He is only eight but I can begin to see what he is going to be like as a teenager. He has already learned how to tune me out.
And this is just in my own family! Forget working together in order to accomplish the impossible. If we can't communicate with one another, how can we hope to communicate with others?
We shall all have to depend upon God to accomplish the impossible.
Perhaps that is the meaning of today's scripture.
God, with you nothing is impossible. We place ourselves in your hands. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims