Monday, 19 April 2010

In my own language ... the word of God

This morning two of my colleagues turned up to chapel with Bibles in their own languages. I found it very moving to see them marking their Bibles with the texts to be read and then listening to them reading for us during the service. In Arabic and in Samoan we heard part of Genesis and of John's gospel. In some ways, we didn't understand a word, yet we knew and trusted that this was the language of their heart, the Bibles they use and know their way around. And we followed the text in English with our eyes, some of us translating the words on the sheets into our own more familiar languages. These are texts that are familiar.
What a privilege to read, hear and know the word of God in our own language, yet also in community. Together we proclaimed one biblical passage antiphonally - Collosians 1.15-20 - a real confession of faith, using English as our common language.
There is always one moment of glorious spiritual cacophony during the service as we say the Lord's prayer each in our own language. It's a special place, with special people ... but then so are all places and people gathered to listen and pray.