Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34, John 8:31-36
Or mostly at least. I’ll admit that sometimes our translations of the Holy Scriptures use words, in English, that are outdated, that don’t carry the same meaning they once did, or that we simply don’t use—and even I need a dictionary to be able to follow along.
Our common language for talking about God and proclaiming the good news of Christ in church might be pretty well unintelligible to someone who may not have grown up in the church. Our core lessons of the faith use words that would leave anyone who didn’t pass a confirmation class stumped: sin, repentance, grace, salvation, incarnation and atonement. The very idea of a universal sacrifice for sin is a concept that is more and more foreign.
God’s promise that “they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” begins to seem far-fetched when we consider that we, ourselves, are using language that actions for conveying the gospel that stumps even ourselves.
Martin Luther surely had the Holy Spirit’s inspiration as he translated the gospel. The Holy Spirit is moving also in us.
The Scriptures proclaim Jesus as the one to whom all knees will bow and whom all tongues will confess as Lord. Jesus is here for the whole world. His message of love in infinitely translatable, otherwise it could not be for all.
Are we still translating it today?
We have to keep looking around ourselves. Who around us needs to know Christ. Who around us needs to know his love in action, who needs to hear a word of his love? Who is being excluded from hearing by old, misguided, or simply outdated rules and habits, and ways of talking about and showing God’s love?
Jesus tells his disciples that “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Knowing him, being in relationship with him, is new life through the gospel. It is what gives you abundant life now, and eternal life to come.
Where is the Holy Spirit calling us as the church to expand our network of relationships—to translate God’s love to a new demographic?
Knowing God is being in relationship with Christ. Know Christ more as you meet the world in relationship, seeing Christ in the other. Translate God’s message of love and acceptance to each new face you meet. And, as the church, let us open ourselves to the reforming power of the Spirit—who encourages our translating of God’s love to all people, even in unfamiliar places.