Thought for the Day - Anne Aktins
When our son was eight he had a best friend called Amber, to whom he was very close. He was also... eccentric. Once when he and I were alone I asked him when Amber’s birthday was. He shut his eyes. I checked that he’d heard the question. “Hang on,” he said. “I’m just asking her...” I’d learnt never to be surprised at anything, so I simply waited to see what would happen next.
“April!” he said at last. “How did you do that?” I asked. “Amber and I can sometimes
communicate when we’re apart,” he explained. “Are you sure it’s April?” I continued.
“You went to her party in September.” He looked confused for a moment, then the mists cleared. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “I misheard. April must be my birthday.”
Nearly two decades on, Amber and Alexander could still perform this extraordinary telepathy, though now they’d do it using mobile telephones. But it’s still astonishing, isn’t it? As is the fact that I sit here, in the Cambridge studio, and you sit over your marmalade or wherever you are, and I can talk to you as if I were at your breakfast table. Yesterday we heard the voice, recently restored, of Otto von Bismark, recorded onto a phonograph in 1889; a technology which then would have seemed almost impossible to most people. Soon scientists will be able to decode your brainwaves, interpret them by computer and turn your thoughts into audible words - an almost miraculous breakthrough for those trapped in the terrifying locked-in syndrome. But wasn’t it just as miraculous, millennia ago, when we learnt to do this without electrodes?
Ug, said one caveman to another. Ug, commented the second. Ug, countered the first, whereupon the second walloped him with his club, laid him out flat and turned to his companions. “Moi, je deteste les Anglais.”
I gave my husband a puppy for Christmas. Being a Great Dane, he has to be meticulously trained. I’m learning the most important thing: it’s not positive treats, as the books say; nor negative punishments, as they now forbid. It’s communication. He needs to understand what I want of him. Wouldn’t it be exciting if, instead of just Down or Stay, I could convey whole sentences and concepts. As we can with fellow humans, so we can know one another in a way that would be quite impossible without language.
Now suppose, for a moment, God could communicate with us. We can’t see him, touch him, smell him. But imagine how it would revolutionise the human condition if we could hear His voice. We’d be able to know His will, understand His character, follow His ideas. If He could speak to us, we’d be able to know Him as a friend.
Ἐν ἀρχη ἠν ὁ λόγος. In the beginning was the Word. He came to earth, not just God as man, but God’s very thoughts expressed in a language we can understand.
If you can speak to me and hear, and I express myself and comprehend, then we have the foundation of a deep and growing relationship.
Available since: Thu 2 Feb 2012
Reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news.
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