God’s Universal Language

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 5, 6 (Morning)
Psalm 10, 11 (Evening)
Gen. 3:1-24
Heb. 2:1-10
John 1:19-28

God’s Universal Language

I recently traveled to Paris for a post-Christmas holiday. New Year’s Eve, there we were, ten people in an apartment near Saint-Germain, celebrating the Eucharist in three languages – French, English, and Russian. Just that morning, I had attended mass at St. Sulpice with a friend who knew no French. Thankfully for her, the readings were translated into English. Otherwise, the entire service was in French – and Catholic at that, which was a stretch for me, even in English!

In today’s psalm, we ask God to listen to us, to hear our cries for help, to consider our prayers. But when God is asked to listen, think about it – the multitude of languages and cultures that speak to God, who call on God in times of joy and sorrow. On the flip side, Hebrews calls on us to listen, to pay great attention to what God has spoken to us so that we do not drift from it. In what language do we hear God’s voice?

French, Russian, English, Cherokee, Swahili, Japanese – it makes no difference to God what language one speaks for God understands everyone’s petition. God has but one language, one we can hear and speak ourselves – a language of love and forgiveness.

When in that apartment, and even in that New Year’s Eve service in St. Sulpice, many nationalities were present. When the time came to share the peace, no words had to be spoken. A smile, a handshake, a hug would all do. We could all speak God’s universal language without fear. When desired we would use words.

Written by Linda C. Jones

Linda has been an active member of St. Paul’s since 2000. Currently she serves as Associate Verger, Chorister, Lay Reader, and Spatula gal. A renaissance woman in many ways, she loves her cats, Rudy and Cuthbert, enjoys learning to do many new things, celebrates being in the great outdoors, and can never do without traveling! In her spare time, she is an Associate Professor of World Languages at the UA.

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