Last week, I had the honor of being asked by my Bible study lead pastor, who is Ethiopian, to do the church benediction in Chinese. He wanted me to introduce myself, talk about what I would like to have prayed for in China, and also end with a Scripture piece.
I was definitely humbled by the opportunity, considering that my pastor has definitely looked out for me in certain ways within the last couple years since I joined the church. I had choir retreat that weekend as well along with lots of homework, so I definitely found myself scrambling and preparing something last minute. Friday night, I decided on 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. I felt like it would speak to the millions and millions of Chinese millenial students (the alliteration is unintended) who are probably seeking something beyond the consumerist culture of developing China.
I am really grateful for what the Alexander Technique classes have done for my composure. I felt fairly calm, although I have a tendency to talk very fast, something I worked very hard to not do. I once had the pleasure of seeing some Chinese recitations and was awed at the detail-oriented emphasis on different words, so I definitely wanted to incorporate that sense of timing and clarity.
Besides, I wanted to represent the few Chinese members of our congregation well. I think the most rewarding part really was researching what God has done for China, and having someone who had ministered in China come up to tell me some of the experiences he had.
I have always loved the multicultural benedictions at my church. I am always amazed when people say how the Scripture word has spoken to them even in a different language. People say that Sunday mornings are the most segregated hour of the week, but I have hope that we are moving into a new direction.
The Hidden Socio-economic Divide in Church
I feel that an important part of the sanctification in a church body is to move toward intergenerational members of different socio-economic classes and races worshipping together. I honestly dream of a time when members of different incomes can worship together freely without feelings of isolation or ill-will.
My own church is a mostly middle-class church that has started some initiatives toward incorporating more of this interaction. In terms of multicultural effectiveness, I feel that divides across socio-economic reasons need to be addressed. I was excited to read about multi-ethnic, multi-socioeconomic initiatives that are happening in Los Angeles through New City Church and the Los Angeles Church Planting Movement.
Things to Pray for Even in a Multicultural-Church:
1. Pray that the congregation can be a true melting pot. Often times, people will clump with others in small groups who are similar to them and stay there. They will value multicultural values at a distance.
2. Pray that people will communicate despite language barriers. I know that it is easy to stop a conversation because you feel that you are not getting across anything, but you never know.
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