One of the great marks of the kingdom of God is the gathering of the nations to worship Jesus, the Lamb who was slain for us all. The central narrative of Scripture is that God, in order to reverse the effects of the fall (which culminated in the dividing of the nations in Babel), promised Abraham in Genesis 12:3 that “through you, all the peoples of the earth will be blessed.” And even as God called the nation of Israel, even its disobedience, to be the vessel of this blessing, He also sent His own Son to, through His death on the cross, finally “break down the barrier of the dividing wall” (Eph. 2:14) that separates all people from God and from one another. At Pentecost in Acts 2 we see the nations brought together in a great foreshadowing of this ultimate gathering and uniting of the nations before the throne of Christ, which we see so beautifully completed in Revelation 7:9, where the “great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” stands before the throne and the Lamb, robed in white and holding palm branches, in the worship celebration for all the ages. This is the kingdom of which we are all a part!
On Friday, June 8 Vineyard Columbus will host its annual International Festival (be sure to encourage your groups to come!), where we will celebrate together the remarkable work the Lord is doing to gather people to Himself from every tribe and tongue and nation. We have the unique opportunity at Vineyard Columbus of being part of a church attended by people from 110(!) different nations, and it is important to recognize that though this is indeed the direction the Lord is taking all of history, it is a rarely encountered reality in the churches of the world – a reality to be celebrated and savored and built upon. This is no ordinary thing the Lord is doing among us – let’s be sure not to miss it.
Also, on June 1 (I know you may be reading this after the fact), we will be gathering together at this months’ Leaders’ Recharge to lean more fully into both the heart change and the practical ways we as leaders can grow in learning to know and love people ethnically and culturally different than ourselves. I hope to see (or have seen ) many of you there.
Finally, as we walk forward together as leaders, let’s purpose to take a few small steps that will stretch us and help us better understand folks inside or outside the church who are ethnically different from ourselves. Ask the Lord what two or three small steps He might want you to take to better know and love someone ethnically different from you, and see what He leads you to do. Write these things down, put them on the calendar, put the list in your Bible, and check back in a couple months to see if you’ve acted upon them. May the Lord bless you as you participate with Him in making make this one church of many peoples, all for His glory.