Nevertheless I tell you the truth.John 16:7
To communicate comes from Latin communicare. It means: to make common. Common ground, common knowledge that is.
To communicate does not mean to speak with each other, to fight, to broadcast your ideas, to portray, to model something, or to let somebody know.
Too often we say that we don’t communicate when we mean that our counterpart, our partner did not inform us about something. But to communicate is so much more.
Jesus communicated heaven to us. How often did he correct our view on things. You say, but I tell you. Or, as above: let me tell you the truth. How often did he ask questions, tell stories and discuss them through afterwards.
There are principles in the bible like the principle of first mention. When something is mentioned for the first time, it introduces the playing field for the whole idea. It frames the connotations and semantics of what it is talking about.
When the bible for the first time speaks about worship, it is in the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. This story frames the notion of worship like this:
- It is about letting go of what you love. Sacrifice. Abraham was willing to let go the son that God had promised him.
- It is about trust. Knowing what God had promised him through his son—that he would have uncountable offspring—he trusted God to rescue Isaac or bring him back to life. He expressed this by telling the servants that they would both return.
- It is about faith. Abraham had faith in God and told Isaac that God would provide a sacrifice. Did he lie, as all he knew was that Isaac would be the sacrifice? No, he executed Hebrews 11:1, where faith is defined as believing what we cannot see and seeing what is not as if it were.
The song singing part was added later, as well as the dancing part. It only added to the definition, but it is not a necessary nor sufficient part of worship.
One of the first stories about inter-personal communication is the building of the tower of Babel. Unity of mind was disturbed by God by disabling communication.
Therefore, communication is a necessary mean of unity of mind. Back to its word sense: to make common. Without common understanding and a common ground to build upon, there will never be unity of mind.
Without unity of mind, we will not achieve what we are set to achieve.
God said it—same story: they are of one mind, and nothing will be impossible for them.
Communication is not the only thing necessary. There needs to be a common cause, a common goal, relationship, trust. And guess what: all of these need communication.
Too often, we broadcast. Broadcasting is necessary as a starting point. One has to start a conversation broadcasting a—conversation starter. It becomes a conversation only when somebody engages and answers back or asks a question.
Imagine a typical Sunday morning in church.
Several people broadcast their ideas and their understanding of what God wants us to know—and hopefully, this is congruent with what God really wants us to know. Let’s assume it is because you would never go to a church with leaders that are not anointed and equipped for their ministry, would you?
But so far, teaching or preaching only has been broadcasted. It does not matter how many Amens have been uttered—as an introvert, I don’t shout out Amens, I concentrate on what is being said instead. The words are out there now, waiting to be digested and understood to build common ground, to become revelation.
Usually, we are left alone with that part of communication. And frankly, that part rarely happens. Teaching and preaching is valuable, even vital. But there would be so much more possible.
Chinese say that it is love to look in the same direction with each other, not to look at each other. This speaks of common goals and purpose as opposed to attraction.
But too often we live this by praying together, meaning praying in the same room at the same time about the same issue to the same God.
Too often, we just look into the same direction, worshipping somebody else’s back of their head, as I heard it expressed lately.
Too often, we put the wagon before the horse, meaning that doing the same thing together will build community, will build a common ground.
And yes, it does help. It helps when we belong. It helps, when others have the same rituals and traditions. And much more, it helps to express our love and our faith towards the same God. Praying together is vital.
It is important to share life. Eat together, spend time together. Help each other. They owned everything together in the first days of the church.
But let us not forget to build a common ground. For too often, we know what the other likes to eat, what sports he watches or participates in, where he lives, and what he does for work.
But we do not know what he believes, apart from the basics. We have no common ground of faith to build upon.
When Paul spoke at Troas, he spoke all night.
And on the first day of the week, when we had come together for the holy meal, Paul gave them a talk, for it was his purpose to go away on the day after; and he went on talking till after the middle of the night.Acts 20:7
The word used is dialegomai, meaning to discuss in an argument or exhortation. There are words that mean preaching or teaching, but Paul discussed a matter.
Do I speak about doctrine? By no means. There is no need for a common theology down to the dotting of the i and the crossing of the t. There are non-disputables, true. But we don’t have to know the Greek and the Hebrew, though it does not hurt.
Doctrinal issues for too long have prohibited unity, just as lack of communication. Thus, if communication is necessary for unity, and doctrine usually prevents unity, doctrine cannot be that necessary communication. Or, as Peter would put it: this cannot be that.
Communication is exchange of words and more to reach that common ground. Communication is whatever brings unity and life.
The bible tells us that people perish through lack of vision and understanding.
Communication portrays vision and brings common understanding. It is interactive. It is passionate. It takes time, effort, willingness.
Some things cannot be taught. Some things cannot be caught. Some things cannot be instilled. Some things must be worked through and made common.
Let us again learn to communicate.
What do you think? Communicate with me, please.