This morning as things seem to be planing out somewhat, I picked up one of my wife’s devotionals from Max Lucado, “On Cavary’s Hill.” I was stuck by an insight unpacked in the way only he seems able. Lucado comments on the sign posted over Jesus’ head as he hung from the cruel Roman cross. “King of the Jews” it read, in three languages, Hebrew, Latin and Greek. The three languages of the then ancient world.
Lucado goes on to explain that Pilate’s assigned title was written in Hebrew, the language of Israel, the language of religion; then, also in Latin, the language of the Romans, the language of law and government; and in Greek, the language of Greece, the language of culture.
My spiritual orientation is Pentecostal, a theology constructed around the belief that God through the Holy Spirit can in fact speak through the followers of Christ in languages they have not learned, often necessary to communicate the Good News to those of other orientations.
Yet Paul, in I Corinthians 13 states that “though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not love, I have become a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” There are times when the way we communicate determines whether or not our message is heard. There are ways to say things to the religious that require a language different than when we are speaking to politicians, or to those far distant from our own culture.
We too often are more concerned with the opinion we want to express, than we are the true impact of our thoughts and words on others. Though we may be sincere in our desire speak truth, the language we use can often be totally offensive.
In a pluralistic, overly religious, politically polarized,multicultural society, speaking in the right tongue means everything, especially if we are to reflect the Christ of Calvary!