August 31 I Tuesday
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” —Revelation 21:3
In the book of Revelation, God does not call the church to colour or cultural blindness, where we become one homogeneous cultural group; in actuality, He is calling His church to celebrate the beauty of cultural and colour, where we appreciate the wonder of Christ expressed through the rich diversity of the body. Revelation 7:9 tells us, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” It was a turning point for the early church, when the door became open for every nation, tribe, people and language to enter into the Kingdom of God through Christ.
Is there a culture that we struggle with? Is there a racial or ethnic group that we wrestle with or have discomfort around? God may be putting His finger on our biases and inviting us to see the world differently. As we consider how to embrace different cultures, and racial and ethnic groups, may we take some time to pray, meditate and reflect on three things.
Firstly, pray and look back over our life and observe moments where God brought us into greater levels of understanding as to how His kingdom is made up—the beautiful cultural diversity and rich tapestry. Maybe like Simon Peter, son of Jonah, we grew up with our own perception of who is considered “clean” and there were moments where God expanded our vision and understanding. List these moments out. Secondly, ask God to reveal some blind spots and biases we have today that may be rooted in our cultural upbringing. Is there a group that we struggle with embracing in the church or in the culture-at-large? Ask God to reveal if we have formed a theology of separation and pray that He changes our heart towards others.
Lastly, with whom are we having conversations about race in our home and in our network? If we notice that we are only having conversations with people who look like us, think like us, act like us and behave like us, may we ask God to bring some friends into our life who could enhance our perspectives and vision towards what God is doing. As the body of Christ, we are meant to work through these things together in community, across cultural and racial boundary lines.
At the end of the day, God’s desire is to make us one. As we follow Christ and embrace others, our lives become richer, our reconciliation to others becomes more profound and our understanding of God’s kingdom becomes fuller.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, thank You for the rich diversity of the body. I pray for You to help me to let go of any cultural biases that I still have, and open my heart to embrace others different from me. In Jesus’s name, amen!