I’ve always been fairly good at languages. I grew up in a bi-lingual community in Wales. So Welsh is part of my armoury. At school I studied Latin and Greek, Spanish and French. For ten years I lived in Haiti, a French-speaking country, and love to speak the language of Voltaire and Asterix.
I also speak Creole, the patois spoken in Haiti. All those languages. Easy peasy. But, for all that, there’s one language that is leaving me behind, and that is teenage street talk. I do understand that is however, probably the point!
At the beginning of a new year, I want to compare and contrast some old-fashioned language that is never affected by the fashion of the age. It’s a language that simply doesn’t change. Nor does it need dressing up. “God is love,” – there’s a sentence that doesn’t need “you know what I mean,” “like,” or “so” (or any of the other huffing and puffing words or phrases of the day). Nor do the commandments that we are to “love God with all our hearts and minds, our souls and strength and our neighbour as ourselves.” And what could be clearer than the gentle reminder that if we don’t love our neighbour (whom we see), how can we possibly love God (whom we can’t see)? That’s as clear as clear can be. For all that, let me end by trying to cast a familiar verse in the language of the day. And let this be my New Year reminder of the Good News of the gospel, a message which reminds us that God’s eternal word was made flesh:
So, God loved the world so much, you know what I mean; it’s like he gave his only son. And he gave his only son like, so that no one like, no one who believes in him, really believes you know what I mean, should perish. So, there’s no way they’ll perish like. Instead, you know what I mean, it’s like they’re going to have everlasting life.
President of The Boys’ Brigade