Summary: Trusting the Holy Spirit to translate the Word and Work of God.
Text: John 6:60 “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’” Vs. 66 - ‘From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.’ ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’”
When was the last time you attempted to share a funny experience at work with someone who wasn’t there and all you got for your troubles was a blank stare? Didn’t you at first automatically assume the hearer didn’t understand you so you tried to explain again? On about your third attempt to create at least a smile on the other persons face did you give up?
What did you say?
“I guess you just had to be there.”
Mandy and I traveled to Kalamazoo a few weeks ago to attend the Buck-skinners Spring event. People dressed in period costumes from the Revolutionary War up to The Civil War - And every item you can think of to compliment their reconstruction of those eras was for sale. (French priest complimenting her on “looking much better now.” When she asked what he meant by “looking better now,” he replied “I noticed you missed Mass this morning and assumed you weren’t feeling well.”) When we left, my question to her was “How would you explain to someone what this place was like?” We both agreed “You would just have had to be there.”
Some things just don’t translate do they? Each of us has something we have done, or had done to us, or something we have heard or discovered or seen that simply defies our attempts to share it with others. Maybe it was your first new car, or a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe it was the success of the chemo, that spared someone’s life, or the loss of a loved one when it wasn’t so successful. Others just don’t seem to get as excited about it as you are and it can be very frustrating. I remember when my daughter was born. She came into this world around 6:30 in the morning - A time when the world was just beginning to awaken from its nocturnal slumber. After seeing that she and her mother were okay, I couldn’t wait to get to town and share my good news with all those I knew would be entering the restaurant about now. Who do you suppose I ran into first? Carson Ackley. Now for those of you who may not know Carson and his lovely wife Phyllis, let me just say they were, and she still is, I’m sure, members in good standing at the Catholic church. I saw him entering the restaurant before his first cup of coffee and was so excited I called out from half a block away - “Carson, Carson, I’m a Daddy. My wife just had a baby………” Before I could go on he turned to me with his pipe in his mouth, still unlit, half opened eyes, body bent a bit at the shoulders, and said, “Big Deal! I got twelve of ’em.”
Some things just don’t translate.
I was pondering such things this week while meditating upon a particular Bible passage. I thought about how casually we often read upon the pages of God’s Holy Word, - Monumental events - Supernatural events - The actual words of God and Jesus - The accounts of those who have entered into and experienced the Holy…….
I remember thinking/praying “Father how do I, in my preaching and teaching, help people separate in their minds the truth of Your Word from all of the other “words” advanced by human thinkers? How do I “translate” your Word for my listeners?” For those of you who witness or teach others by appealing to God’s Word, it may well be the hardest thing you have to do. I watch in disgust as movie stars, rock stars, and man-on-the-street interviews expose their lack of understanding concerning things of God, and ignorantly brush it all off by quoting some early or modern humanistic thinker. Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Sociologists, Politicians, Talk Show Host’s………. these are the high priests of our day, and their limited insights and philosophies are treated as holy writ.
Why? Where do they get their support base? I’m afraid that in too many cases it comes from that vast segment of our populace who just can’t get the Scriptures to translate so they throw it all away and go find someone teaching something they can understand. Did I mention there are far too many Christians numbered amongst their followers? It’s true. Sad, but true.