There is something truly amazing that happens when cultures come together. Perhaps it reminds us that we are not alone in the world. Perhaps it helps us to escape our own problems for the moment. Perhaps it even does something more –
it reminds us that we are a part of something greater and grander than the boundaries of our own region.
Last Sunday, Gateway UPC was honored to host All Nations Sunday, an international event right here in our hometown. The sanctuary decorated with flags from every country around the world; translation into English, Spanish, and Portuguese; an inspiring message about our place in the global church; and a song sung in eighteen languages – a glimpse of the kind of worship we will lend our voices to in heaven –
set us up for an atmosphere of international understanding and, most of all, international worship.
After the service, we enjoyed a global tour: Around the World in 90 Minutes. In an hour and a half, we explored tables decorated with items from every region in the world, complete with a smorgasbord of international foods. It was such a treat to see Mexican tamales, Chinese chow mein, Spanish paella, Nigerian jollof rice, Tahitian po’e pudding, Jamaican jerk chicken with coconut rice, Israeli falafel, Malawian mbatatacookies, to name a small fraction of everything that was available, frolicking together on the same plates.
Thank you to everyone who made an effort to be involved in our All Nations Sunday celebration, whether you helped decorate, cook, or you simply showed up. It was our honor to host you and we hope you will make us a part of your future celebrations in October. We hope to see everyone again next year! Please keep our missionaries, churches, and people around the world in your prayers.
God can still work miracles and is not limited by race, culture, language, or borders.
True love is an awesome and beautiful miracle. It is not wimpy or weak but rather robust and strong. This time of the year, we are surrounded with so many thoughts and opinions on love. In many ways, love has been commodified – turned into something we can elicit with the purchase of the right product.
And yet love is so much greater. It is the most powerful emotion and the purest motive. The Apostle Paul, with his characteristic God-given inspiration, paints a beautiful portrait of love. To the troubled church in Corinth he writes:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever… There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 12:4-8, 13)
As our society reinterprets and even cheapens love at times, let us never forget the true, beautiful, and unselfish nature of love. After all, it is the very essence of God.