Recently I’ve been able to spend a few weeks worshiping with a congregation that enjoys its cultural diversity. Better, even, than their African Sunday (which was wonderful!), was a well-attended evening class about African worship. It was great that they held the class, even better that people came, but the best part was what we learned.
I’ve always known that the vibrancy the African immigrant community brings to worship is one of the great gifts God is giving to some Presbyterian congregations. I’ve been aware that there is much we could learn from them. Here’s one lesson from that night:
** We talk about “Christ the King” (except for those who view that language as too patriarchal). They live it. I learned that most Africans come to worship thrilled and excited at the thought of visiting the home of a king! They get to stand in the presence of royalty! So of course they want everything to be the best they can manage: best attitude, best behavior, best clothes, best gift. Wouldn’t you? Think about it… How would we feel if we were given the opportunity to have an audience with Queen Elizabeth? Wouldn’t our hearts be filled with respect, admiration, maybe even a bit of awe? Wouldn’t we feel incredibly honored? How much more excited should we be that we get to have a weekly audience with the King of All Creation?
How did we ever let ourselves view that amazing, incredible opportunity as (let’s admit it) a mundane, often boring routine? What might change if we saw it as an honor, as many Africans do? What might change in the church? What might change in us?
This is just one of the gifts offered by diversity, if we can humble ourselves enough to accept it. There is so much we can learn from one another! What are we waiting for? Let’s open our minds and hearts, and start learning!