Transcending languages and valuing cultures.

In Genesis 11 the scriptures tell a story of people building the Tower of Babel and God’s response:  confusing the speech of human beings because they are too proud.

This story of the Tower of Babel, like the story of Adam and Eve, paint a picture of human beings reaching beyond themselves in ways that have negative consequences.

The confusion of languages creates uniqueness in human communities but also creates a deep divide as we struggle to understand one another.

On the day of Pentecost described in Acts chapter 2 one of the significant things we read is that people are given the ability to understand one another. Speaking in their own languages others are given the ability to hear and understand: the separation of the diversity of dialects is overcome.

It is fascinating though that people still spoke their own language.  The unique ethnicity of the communities is retained as all spoke in their own tongue whilst others understood.

Can it be that God’s gift which reverse Babel also affirms the uniqueness that had developed through the separation of languages?  What might that mean for the value we place on each other’s different cultural background and languages whilst at the same time living out the new unity given to people by the power of the Holy Spirit?