Posted by: geolocke | 2017/08/30

Many Tongues but One Voice

Last month I sang with the choir as we dedicated our new Cathedral. There was a special dedication Hymn written just for the occasion, “I will Praise Your Name Forever” based on Psalm # 145.

In the hymn, verses were written in the eight major languages spoken in our Diocese; English, Congolese French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Igbo, Korean, Tagalog, Swahili, and Latin (of course!)

Learning to pronounce and sing verses in these languages and in proper rhythm was “interesting” and painful to put it mildly.  Learning to sing in a different language by itself in not terribly difficult, given the proper teacher and a plenteous amount of patience, But learning eight languages for one song was a lesson in humility.

Once we performed it, some of us felt like we could have done better with the pronunciation and the rhythm, I know I certainly felt that way. But later the emails began to arrive, each stating in one form or another how wonderful it was for each member of the congregation to hear part of the hymn in their own language.

At first I was tempted to think of it as a “speaking in tongues” moment as described in the Acts of the Apostles. But since then I’ve come to view it in a deeper fashion. It seems to me that perhaps the listeners were ready to receive the words in their own tongues because their minds and their hearts were anticipating hearing it so their minds and hearts filled in what was lacking in our conveyance of the words.

Perhaps this is what St. Paul meant when he wrote “Greet one another anticipating respect.”  That is, if our minds and hearts are anticipating respect from those who we meet, then we will tend to overlook the flaws, and to fill in what is missing from the greeting that we receive.  But if our minds and hearts are anticipating injury and abuse from those who we meet, then we will look for and magnify any perceived injury or slight  in what might be missing from the greeting we receive, much to our detriment.

And so it is in our lives. We can greet each new encounter anticipating joy, happiness, fulfilment and respect, or we can greet each moment with pain, gloom, sorrow, and conflict. In either case we will receive what it is that we seek.

I wish all of you a pleasant evening and a very good night.  Peace!



  1. This is beautiful! Today at the Installation Mass for our newBishop the intercessions were given in these languages! I felt it a bonding experience as I have taught so many students over the years from these many countries! God brings us together in our Faith!!

    Sent from my iPhone



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