We are half way through the first week of term at Redcliffe. Wednesday mornings see the College community coming together for a corporate time of devotions.
Today our new Principal, Rob Hay, delivered part two of his introductory preach. Part one, on Sunday, focused on the foretaste of heaven we see reflected in our community, which is comprised of around 30 different nationalities. Rob read from Rev. 7:9-12 which describes the multiethnic, multilingual multitude assembled and worshipping before the thrown of God.
It reminded me of something I read recently in an article by James Brownson (‘Speaking the Truth in Love’, International Review of Mission, Vol 83, No. 330 (1994), pp.479-504):
“All of humanity is called to glorify God, not by suppressing diversity and particularity, but by sanctifying it. The universal bond of humanity appears not so much in its set of common responses to its creator and sustainer, but rather by humanity’s diverse responses to the singular vision of God disclosed in the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (p.485)
Brownson then suggests that, “a missional hermeneutic begins with the assumption that the mode in which God is present among the faithful is irreducibly multi-cultural.” (p.485) So, he says, no single culture has a monopoly on understanding or describing God. We, the multiethnic Church must try to understand and worship God together, embracing our cultural diversity rather than constantly seeking our common denominators.
So, yes, it is and exciting and extraordinary privilege to be part of this multicultural community called Redcliffe College. But, yes, we are also a gathering of sinners still in need of God’s grace every day. Which is why Rob’s text for today’s talk was Eph. 5:15-21. We need to walk with integrity, forgiving and being forgiven, cultivating thankfulness and seeing God at work in the nitty-gritty of life. This will be the true test of our spirituality this year: will we seek to love one another when the going gets tough?