This is a picture of a lesser nighthawk. They come into our area in the summer and you can see them flying around the lights on ball fields and parking lots hawking insects at night.
They are strong flyers and a lot of fun to watch, but one of their most interesting traits is their vocalization. They make noises like sound affects in a Sci-Fi movies.
There have been a few nights when the noises coming from the surrounding desert made me want to scan the skies for a flying saucer.
I can picture a group of city dwellers camping in the desert. After nightfall, those sounds begin rising up around them, causing their imaginations to rise up within them. Given the creepiness of the calls and the furtiveness of the human imagination, one could predict a UFO sighting before the night is over.
Only it’s not a UFO, it’s just a nighthawk dashing in and out of the corners of their vision as it grabs insects attracted by the people, the sweet smell of s’mores, and the light of the campfire.
This alien assumption, which is so easily made about the lesser nighthawk, is also rather easily made about believers. We might not want to admit it, but at times we say things that sound completely alien to people who are unfamiliar with our language.
We say we are:
Children of the King,
Justified and sanctified,
Being made perfect, and
Washed in the blood.
Any or all of these terms might mean a great deal to us, but it is only going to help the unbeliever when we slow down enough to tell them what we mean by each phrase. Paul says a great deal about the importance of saying things in a way that can be understood in 1 Corinthians 14. Verse 9 summarizes the responsibility of the speaker in any communication to speak with clarity.
In the same way, unless you use your tongue for intelligible speech, how will what is spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air.