The Cup Song! In Gaeilge in Northern Ireland. This is a celebration of the recovery of language. Once forbidden in the North, the language is enjoying a revival. Its a language I have never spoken. Though having driven the coast of Ireland twenty years ago I heard it and entered villages that had little English. And I just about fell out of my chair when my cousins came in from a night of cards and music and said, “It was good craic!”
The revival of language is not without its politics and complications. In Canada we surely shall grieve the loss of First Nations languages. And around the world, languages are dying. When a language dies, knowledge dies too. Embodied in the language are ways of knowing the world, stories and culture. As a follower of Jesus I am able to rejoice in the revival of language and the knowledge and even the identity contained within it. Common grace.
I had a lunch with a friend last week. He shared of his spiritual journey. He said something like this: “When I started with Jesus God spoke to me only in English. But now he speaks to me in Japanese.” I’m really happy about this. The heart. God speaks the languages of the heart. John’s vision given by God is of a great celebration of Jesus by people from all nations, peoples and languages.
Having said that, it must be noted that in the politics of language, culture, and identity do require wisdom, truth and grace. There is so much pain there. Although we can study it, we need the grace of God to move into reconciled relationships and even to assist in the recovery of languages and the rebuilding of peoples. I don’t know how to do this so I am thankful for those who are studying and labouring at it. Who else will sing the cup song?
More than that I find myself wondering, “Who else will be singing the Salvation Song before the Lamb?
9After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”