Sunday, February 10, is a day that will stick out in my mind for the rest of my life. I think it’s a date that I’ll remember as having cemented a change in who we are as a congregation.
Sunday, February 10, is the day we crossed the line.
What line? The line between talking about being a multi-ethnic congregation to showing the world that we actually are a multi-ethnic congregation.
Sure, we’ve worshipped with Kakunzi’s group before and prayed and worshipped in Swahili and English. But this time, this particular Sunday, it was different. A beautiful little girl named Jordyn Rose was baptized. She was prayed for in English by me, in Swahili by Kakunzi, in Nuer by Jordan Long, and in Arabic by Majid. Not only were the languages the pastors prayed in diverse, but so was the theological background of the pastors. There were traditional Lutherans and low church Lutherans and Anglicans and Pentecostals. It was amazing. It was symbolic of the many becoming one people in Christ.
We worshipped in English and Swahili. That was also amazing. Especially when you looked around the room and realized that this isn’t just a cross cultural experience for the white participants, but also for the Sudanese and Iraqi and Vietnamese participants as well.
We then had a presentation by Pastor Jordan Long, president of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan, about ministry in that new nation. It helped to remind us that we followers of Jesus are everywhere and find ourselves in a variety of situations. And it helped us to remember that we are a part of a kingdom that is greater than any other here on earth. We are part of the kingdom of God which knows no boundaries.
The message that day was from Matthew 14, about Jesus walking on the water and Peter wanting Jesus to call him to come out and walk on the waves with him. Each day at Zion we endeavor to get out of the boat and walk on the waves with our Savior. We believe that he has called us out of the boat and to come to him and be a church where many nations are reconciled and welcomed, and where all the children grow up in Christ to understand that the Church is the place where the many become one people, united in him who is the head.
I’m so excited to continue along this path of becoming a congregation that worships the Lord in a diversity of languages and music and styles. I’m so excited that one day, when this fully becomes a part of who we are as a congregation, that people from within and outside the church, might experience something of what heaven must be like as we worship the Lamb as people from every race and tribe and tongue and nation.