Our 1-year-old son doesn’t really talk, but he does make various noises that we, as his parents, have learned to understand, particularly because he also uses quite expressive hand signals. Bi-lingual children normally start to talk significantly later than those growing up with only one language. That’s why we enjoy his communication style at the moment. When his nappies are full, for example, he draws our attention towards him with sound and then points down to his nappy. When he wants us to come he beckons us with his hands. When he wants to eat, he knows exactly where the food is (the fridge, for example) and signals to that. When he wants to go out, he signals to the door. When he thinks we’re going to church, he points in that direction. I’m pleased to say that his sense of direction seems to be quite good. He has also learned a few gestures that are important for any child to know: like, when you see a train you wave to it.
We all know that we do not only communicate through words. Our actions speak. We all pick up clues from body language and facial expressions. That’s why we feel that the wearing of face masks affects our communication. Even we can no longer talk, communication remains important, as I was reminded at a recent funeral. It is important that we learn to understand and value these non-verbal forms of communication. This sometimes requires an effort on our part and a willingness to “listen”, to really pay attention to others.
Still, as humans we are also focused on spoken language like no other creature on earth. That may be one of the reasons that God’s communication to us is described to as “word”. Of course, God has not only spoken to us verbally, but also in life and action. In the life of Jesus we have God’s clearest communication to us. As we draw close to God it is important to spend time in “the word”, the Bible, so that we draw closer to Jesus and learn to listen to God.
I hope you don’t mind me using some additional material from last Sunday’s sermon in the newsletter.