Read these two bible verses today as your prayer. Notice how language plays a central role in these verses.
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
1) The History of Salvation from the perspective of language: the Tower of Babel to Pentecost. It is language that broke us apart in Babel, but it is also language that united us: as a community/church in Pentecost. Pentecost teaches us that there is unity in difference–we can be different, but it’s okay.
During the first Christian Pentecost, people heard the apostles speaking each in their mother tongue. That God speaks in their own mother tongue shows us the intimacy of relationship that God wishes to build with us: he speaks in a language we can best understand and is closest to our heart.
2) The ministry of language is sacred ministry: finding the right words (and the right timing to say those words) is essential in relationship. Integrity: Making the words match what we are feeling inside.
Friendship is uncovered in language: in what we say and do not say; in our presence and absence. Meron tayong kwenta, dahil meron tayong kwento (we count because we have stories to tell).