Jesus Is ESL

 

In class we were given the assignment to come up with a 2-minute explanation on some scriptures as they relate to pastoral care. I’m bias but my class did incredible with their findings and presentations. One person in particular, Gabe – a Brazilian man who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for the last year and a half – always has some of the best thoughts on Jesus, the Word of G-d, or life in general. I love hearing him speak his heart, even though he doesn’t have perfect English he expresses himself clearly and always seems to change my perspective about whatever he is talking about.

Gabe is ESL (English as a Second Language) so not only has he braved moving across the world to do college, he is also succeeding at college in a language he didn’t grow up with. After Gabe spoke I leaned to my very American friend and wondered, “Dude, what if we spoke Portuguese?” he sort of chuckled at my inquiry but I continued, “Seriously, Gabe is THAT intelligent and wise in English – but we don’t fully KNOW the guy and his personality because he has to limit himself to our (sometimes terrible) language.”

I’m limited in fully understanding Gabe because I don’t speak Portuguese, and I can only imagine how much more of him and his personality I would see if I did.

((If only we could speak his language…

All at once as the Lord does, He reminded my heart that the same is true of Him. G-d didn’t create the heavens and earth in our faulty English nor does He actively continue to communicate His personality inside of our limitations. The limit on understanding G-d’s language falls in my court. I began to wonder what parts of His personality I was missing out on because I hadn’t taken enough time to learn the language of heaven. I haven’t sat long enough to fully enjoy who He is and what He has to say.

I think the language of heaven is love and kindness. I believe the language is justice and peace. I long to know more of WHO my Saviour is and the only way I can think to do that is to invest into learning what He is saying.

This language doesn’t equate to a Biblical Greek or Hebrew uttering – this equates to an international, intercultural, interdenominational, intergenerational cry to the Lord of Hosts saying “Holy, Holy, Holy”. And although it may sound different from the different voices we have on the earth I believe there will be a resounding understanding of who HE is and not what WE are saying.

I want to sit and know the parts of G-d’s personality that I’m missing. I want to stretch my understanding and tune my ears to His voice, His language, His love.

“When God went out against Egypt, he established it as a statute for Joseph.
I heard an unknown voice say:
“I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud…
Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me, Israel! You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.
“If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!”

Psalms 81 (NIV)

 

 

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