But of all people, writers know that human language has its limits. There are things that words just cannot convey. People often describe a time when they were “speechless.” Or something huge happens, and we reel with emotion and finally gasp, “Words fail me!”
The discussion following my August 15 post, “What I Did on my Summer Vacation, Part 3: Immigration” got me to looking forward to the day when those limits (and others) will be no more.
A friend who hails from South America read the post and emailed me: “I can definitely relate to the immigration experience every time we travel outside the US. And also thinking about how we are citizens of Heaven and there won’t be any racism or differences in skin color or accents, etc…”
She is right. Already — in fact since the first century AD — the things that divide people have lost their power. Oh, we still sometimes let racial or economic or speech differences keep us apart, but although those differences exist, they are not really important for those who trust in Christ. The apostle Paul pointed this out in his letter to the Galatian church…
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3: 26-28).
Most of the comments revolved around how we citizens of Heaven will all enjoy each other’s company, once we get there (with or without waiting in line!) Our unity will transcend all differences. And as near as I can figure, I believe our language barriers will fall too, and I will no longer need my limited English vocabulary. Words as we know them may even grow obsolete…
…if so, then human beings “from every tribe and tongue and people and nation”* can all communicate in pure meaning. No longer will we have to try and force glorious, ineffable, shimmering thoughts into clunky words of perhaps two or three syllables. Again, I can only speculate, but this pure communication may be part of what Paul refers to in his letter to the Corinthians (chapter 13, verse 12), “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (emphasis mine)
I’m no expert. For all I know, in Heaven we may all speak ordinary Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek. But I do like to think about how it might be.
Have you ever found your language inadequate to convey something that you desperately wanted to say?
Thanks for reading,
*See the Book of Revelation, chapter 5, v. 9.