Revelation 7:9, 21:15-27
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. Verse 24 (NIV)
As I watch the news these days my heart is very sad at the constant discord between people groups: ethnicity, culture, colour, and of course politics. I am unsure of why I think the way I do about other people groups. Was it my upbringing? Was it that my parents were immigrants? Was it exposure to other cultures and some people of colour? Was it part of my conversion experience? Perhaps it was all of it working together.
One of the great delights of working in Relief and Development for our denomination was the opportunity to worship with other Christians. I’ve gathered with Haitians, with Nepalese in small mud structures, with Indian believers in the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. I have danced and clapped in churches in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. While Christ is at the core of every worship experience, each group of worshippers reflects their own culture. Songs, music, and liturgy are all different. And the wonderful thing is that our Lord likes it that way!
The new Jerusalem of Revelation 21 is a picture of the new creation Christ will establish at his return. The twelve gates of the city open in every direction, symbolic of the way God’s kingdom is open to peoples and nations from every corner of the globe. And through those gates, we are told, “The kings of the earth will bring their splendor.” We also learn that “the glory and honor of the nations will be brought into (the new creation).”
God’s new creation will be pure and holy. But there will also be “holy” remnants from God’s old creation. The purified cultural gifts of every people will find their place in God’s new world. One day all believers will stand together in the glorious presence of Almighty God and not everyone will look or be like us. What a glorious day that will be, with no more division, no more animosity, no more hate!
Why not start now, living with and celebrating our differences?
Father make me a channel of your peace in this world. Help me to embrace people for who they are, that we might love them into your kingdom. Amen.