Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Different Languages, Different Tribes, One God

This is the meditation from yesterday, from Forward Day by Day. I really like it. We all talk about tribalism, as if we were not ourselves from tribes, even self-made tribes. It can be a tribe based on family, or based on nationality, or, in the USA, sometimes on nation-of-origin. It can be a tribe that calls itself Alpha Beta Zeta, or Rotary. Any kind of grouping that distinguishes between “us” and “them” is a kind of tribalism, in my opinion. And it costs us so much, in terms of energy and focus and resources, when, as i see it, we are all one family under God.

Psalm 118. I called to the LORD in my distress; the LORD answered by setting me free.

In the depths of the long civil wars here, the people cried to the Lord in their distress and were set free. The results have been amazing: the crossing of tribal lines to form one people whose most precious commonality is their belief in Jesus. Sitting in church on Sundays, that lesson comes true. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, or recite the creeds, or sing our favorite hymns, we do so in our own languages, so that a cacophony of voices rises to the heavens. It is not unusual to hear 12 or 13 languages spoken simultaneously, all praying the same thing at the same time.

We are set free when we forget to which human tribe we belong and focus on being members of God’s tribe of beloved children. This is how peace will be achieved, not just in this land, but in all of creation: by ignoring our differences and focusing on the freedom we have in God and from God.

Some days, listening to all the languages and praying in my own, I am moved to tears by the beauty of the holy noise we are making. We are set free in those moments, and our distress falls away.

PRAY for the Diocese of Aguata (Province of the Niger, Nigeria)

January 9, 2010 Posted by | Charity, Community, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Spiritual | Leave a comment