Dr. Martin Luther King once said ,“the most segregated hour in America is 11:00 on Sunday morning.” While segregation has been long since abolished (thanks be to God), most evangelical churches I’ve attended don’t have a lot of people of color in their pews. That’s NOT to say that the modern evangelical church is racist. I just think that we, as human beings, tend to naturally gravitate what we are familiar with. The result is our communities, churches, and lives end up being homogeneous.
This past Sunday, however, my church decided to try a little experiment.
We have a Hispanic church worship at our church every Sunday evening. Sometimes we pass each other and say, “Hola,” but for the most part the two congregations never really interacted. That is, until this past Sunday when we had a joint worship service for both the Hispanic congregation and the regular congregation. We would worship God together in both English and Spanish, and then share a meal together after the service.
The service began with the Hispanic praise band singing two worship songs in Spanish. Then the regular praise band led everyone to worship. Our sermon was in both English and Spanish; our pastor said a few sentences in English, then an interpreter would repeat it in Spanish. As the service ended, we said the Lord’s Prayer in both English and Spanish, and closed with a hymn sung in both languages.
After the worship service the two congregations shared a meal together. And boy was it a meal! We had Hispanic dishes like tamales and tacos mixed alongside macaroni and cheese and fried chicken. As we ate we all chatted with each other about our churches, our jobs, and our lives. Everyone went home that day with full bellies and a new appreciation for people.
Throughout the day, I kept thinking about in Revelation where John sees people of every tribe, tongue, and nation praising God. God is so much bigger than language barriers, cultural differences, and national boundaries, and I think we all need to remind ourselves this from time to time. Hopefully my church will do this again some day.
13 hours ago