“that they may not understand one another”
The other day in church, the Apple of my Eye had a question for me. He had noticed a theme in the worship songs we were singing, and got to wondering if that’s what the day’s sermon was going to be about. Our pastor has been going through the entire Bible, choosing well-known and obscure passages on which to teach. So we don’t know beforehand what the sermon is going to be on. And you kinda can’t help your mind wandering and wondering a little bit, based on where we were last week. Maybe it’s the game-playing part of the brain, wanting to see if you can guess correctly.
So that’s what my sweetie’s brain was doing. So between songs, he leaned over and said to me, “I wonder if he’s doing the triumphal march.”
Now here’s the thing. I hadn’t even thought about what topic the sermon was going to be on. I don’t know what I was thinking about right then. Maybe I am very holy and my mind was completely on worshiping the Lord. Maybe I am slightly less holy, and I was thinking about something like why the church chose that particular font for the lyrics they put up on the screen.
Or maybe I’m completely not holy at all, and I was thinking about what I was going to make for dinner that night…
So when he leaned over and said to me, “I wonder if he’s doing the triumphal march,” I thought, and I’m sure my expression said: “Huh?” I had no idea what he meant. Then he responded to my look of confusion by explaining to me what he meant by “triumphal march.”
“You know, when Jesus entered Jerusalem and the people greeted Him with palm branches and shouted, ‘Hosanna!’ ? Remember?”
Okay, now, I’ve been attending church pretty much every Sunday since I was in utero. I am very familiar with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. No, what I didn’t know was everything else in his sentence. Who is “he” and what do you mean by “doing” ? I thought maybe he meant the worship leader. So confused….
In the car on the way home, we kinda laughed about the confusion, and about how easy it is to misunderstand one another’s words, even if you’ve known that person 30 years, as is the case with my sweetie and me.
So here’s my wonder ~ because I wonder as I wander ~ why is that?? Why is miscommunication such a problem for humans?
My thoughts go back to Genesis 11, and the account of the building of the Tower of Babel. At this point in human history, different languages developed. But what about misunderstandings; did that happen at the same time? What about husbands and wives, Democrats and Republicans, students and teachers… The possibilities are endless, even when we’re speaking the same language. Word choices, nuances and intonation all play into what we mean and how we’re heard.
I don’t know if it’s the fault of those tower builders, or just human weaknesses and quirks, but I do know that communication calls for understanding and trust. We have to decide not to jump to conclusions, and to think the highest of one another.
Not judging, and loving others. It all comes down to that.
~ “They exhorted and
strengthened the brethren
with their words.” ~