In Genesis God saw how the sinful and willful nature of man could push people to very ungodly heights as seen at the Tower of Babel. God decided, wisely, that human kind, wasn't really mature enough yet to work together. They had nothing to resolve their sin issues. Sin issues.
It isn't about the actually sinning so much as it is the addictive desire to sin. God knowing us, still loving us, saw that steps needed to be taken. No flooding. No famine. No war.
Simply, He made it impossible to communicate with each other. The builders couldn't build together because they couldn't communicate with each other. The language barrier left them scattered and the tower in ruins.
Reading those verses again today brought me to a place where I imagined the churches of today standing in the ruins of Babel. Striving to 'speak the right language' by seeking it in human places we are missing the Corner Stone and the unifying voice of Jesus.
Working so hard to reach the groups by speaking their language I fear so many churches are not really remembering that Jesus did that work already. The language is love. We don't need Babel because Jesus repaired the bridge to heaven. We don't need Babel because instead of human tongues we can speak universally in love.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
They will know us by our love.
Not by our networking savvy, not by our multilingual talents, not even by our certificates and degrees, diplomas or parchments. Not by the version of our Bible or the number of hymns we know. Not by the name dropping or brand wearing. Not by the number of children, parishioners, churches or viewers.
By our love.
While our churches, and so many people, stand wearily amongst the ruins of Babel, vainly trying to lift man made bricks to heaven Jesus beckons. In love. Utter love. Die for you love. Make it all right forever love.
The bricks we use to build our way to a better tower are in direct opposition to the work Jesus has done for us. He built it already. That work is done! There is a new covenant. One based upon something so totally radical that our Babel tower building DNA fights it and that one thing is grace. We can't do it.
Sorry folks, but no one is building a stairway, tower, book stack or growing a beanstalk to heaven. That work is done. Jesus did it. Instead of standing in the ruins of Babel trying to find the 'right words' to preach, lead or guide people shouldn't we be loving them?
How are some ways we can drop those bricks and start loving? (and I said how instead of what for a very specific reason - I want us to do them. Not just do a list of 'what's but actually decide on a movement of 'how' instead!)
It is the start of a brand new year. Why don't we declare it a special Jubilee and dispense love and bask in grace? Immerse ourselves in the most radical thing of all - reaching out in real love. I don't need to speak to show love, I don't have to spend a dollar or a dime. Love is part of our fibre and in our every breath. Sin fights against love because love can't be selfish. Grace lets the love flow. Imperfect and messy.
Leave that ruin behind and start living and loving our faith. They will know us by our love.