Martin Luther King once said that “the most segregated time in America, is Sunday morning.” As harsh as that statement may sound, recent research shows that churches in North America are not doing enough to change that.
According to Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of a Nashville, Tennessee research firm: “People like the idea of diversity. They just don’t like being around different people. Maybe their sense is that church is the space where they don’t have to worry about issues like this.”
The truth is…nothing could be further from the truth. Church should be the exact place that we, as the body of Christ, can be able to freely discuss the need for cultural diversity & acceptance. After all, as Ed Stetzer simply puts it, “If you don’t like diversity, you’re really not going to like heaven.” Wow, what a powerful statement!
I remember a time back….just a few years ago, when I had the privilege and opportunity of being the Stage Manager for an historic worship event called ‘Heavens Rehearsal.’ It was on that night, while I was surrounded by the nations…that I caught a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, made manifest on the earth. Amidst the indigenous people & thousands representing their countries, near and far, I heard worship being lifted up in every tongue.
To this day, I remember the moment…it was like time had stood still. Over 30,000 believers gathered, in every language, standing side by side with only one agenda…and that was to worship our Heavenly Father. In the flash of a moment, the music had paused and it became just the voices singing in their native tongue. The only way to truly describe that sound is to tell you that, in that moment, it sounded like heaven.
Every Sunday, across North America, churches passionately pray “let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” Do we really know what it is we are asking God for as a people? The Kingdom of God IS the celebration of Culture and Diversity. It is all languages & all ethnicities coming together as one…there is no separateness or division. How are we working towards this in our own individual lives? What can we do as individuals to embrace the unique differences in the cultures around us? As Churches, are we intentional in creating space for cultural diversity and acceptance?
My prayer is that, we continue to do the important work of breaking down cultural barriers in the Body of Christ, and on any given Sunday, churches across North America would look and sound like they should…a rehearsal for Heaven. Amen.