Scripture Reading — Genesis 11:1-9
"Come, let us build ourselves a city ... so that we may make a name for ourselves ..." Genesis 11:4 —
Edward J. Smith was captain on one of the most famous sea voyages of all time. His reputation had suffered a setback in previous years, but his new commission was guaranteed to restore luster to his name. Smith was determined to make the first Atlantic crossing with a speed that would impress his harshest critics. That's why he ignored weather conditions. That's why it wasn't really an iceberg that sunk the Titanic on its first voyage. It was the pride of Edward Smith and his employer, the White Star Line. Many of us are in the business of making a name for ourselves. Who can blame us? Who wants to be discarded on the ash heap of history? Life's winners are those who at least get a footnote in history books. But our attempt to make a name for ourselves revisits the plains of Shinar. The game plan at Babel was to build a staircase to heaven. But the effort was doomed. The pride that separates us from God separates us from each other. The babbling at Babel is a fitting punishment for people who refuse to hear God's unifying speech. People scatter out in all directions--a clear sign of sin's power to fragment and divide. God's answer to Babel is Pentecost. By the power of God's Holy Spirit, peoples of many nations drew together under the banner of God's name (see Acts 2:21).
Lord, our arrogant name-building isolates us from you and our neighbors. Place your own name upon us, we pray, and give us unity in bearing the name of Christ. Amen.