“Now the whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.” (Gen 11: 1-8)
So, the Lord “scattered them abroad,” in order to stop their building-project. It makes me think: Has the Lord separated us in some ways, from certain “building projects,” by grounding us in our homes and as we practice “social distancing”? It’s a question to which each of us would respond differently. And as time goes on, it’s a question to which we might discover new answers, not only as individuals, but as families, as churches, and on broader levels.
Here’s how I see the “silver lining” of what the Lord does with the folks in the above-quoted passage: He “confuses” their old language, hence they must go elsewhere (“abroad”) and learn new languages, new ways of speaking. I think we are also being taught some new level of communication, and a deeper sense of community, during this halt to our previous “building projects.” So let me be teachable today, at the end of my second week in lockdown, and be attentive to the new languages the Lord is teaching me, as I look out my window in the beautiful city of Vienna. “Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.” Happy Friday of the Cross-Venerating Week of Lent, my friends! Tune in to our daily, weekday “Morning Coffee” audio-podcasts, for some daily inspiration on your Lenten journey, and through this Coronavirus epidemic! Join our 490+ faith-inspired subscribers at: patreon.com/sistervassa. Love from Vienna, and please wash your hands & take heart, Sister Vassa