Over my last 3 years with CSM, I’ve been able to see how beautiful teams can be. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been a part of one of those teams in some way – and all I can say is thank you! As I settle in to working in a new CSM office in a new city, I’m overwhelmed by how appropriate our many:one theme is in my current season. It takes so many people to make this work. So many teams, so many ministry partners, so many communities who come together to serve this one city. And this pattern repeats itself all over the country in our CSM communities an on a much larger scale, this repeats itself in every community around the world!
When I sit in awe of how God’s children are committing themselves to serving Him by serving their neighbors, I’m overwhelmed by how He loves us and cares for us, but I get frustrated by our divisions, too. Whether it’s language, or an invisible line on the ground that divides our neighborhoods, towns, counties and countries - there are so many barriers to community in our world. I begin to wonder what it would look like if we were able to be in union with all of our neighbors. What if there were no barriers? If we all spoke the same language? If we all shared a culture? I was thinking through this the other day, and my mind wandered to the story of the tower of Babel in Genesis.
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Even when I think that the things that make us different set us against each other, God knows better. When we come together, nothing is impossible to us, and that’s dangerous – because we don’t know enough. We don’t have the full picture. We don’t know the whole story. Our differences protect us from harm and encourage us to learn. We can never think that we have the full idea, because there are whole cultures we’ve never met before. There are languages we don’t know, there are places we’ve never been. God keeps us from thinking that we hold all the power and knowledge, so that when we are truly together as one, it will be in eternity – where we have a more full understanding of the power of God.
I pray that as we live in a time and a place where our speech and our language is confused, that we will work humbly through our misunderstandings and with appreciation for our differences. I pray that we’ll share our cultures and receive others with joy. Rejoicing in our differences and appreciating our uniqueness. I pray that we will love well and be a family of many, learning how to live as one.
- Jessica Fothergill, CSM Washington DC City Director