In the early chapters of 1 Kings, Solomon faithfully and fantastically constructed the Temple of the Lord. Then with great reverence, pomp, ceremony, and excitement, he called the congregation to worship. In response, the Spirit of the Lord moved in and took over the place. It must have been a fantastic day of worship in Jerusalem’s largest mega-church.
During this inaugural worship service, Solomon offered forth an impassioned prayer which the Holy Spirit saw fit to record for posterity’s sake. Adoration and thanksgiving were presented. So too were many requests, included was this one:
Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for your name’s sake (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house, hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name. (1 Kings 8:41-43)
Solomon saw the day when foreigners would lust to live in the land of promise. He foresaw the day when various people groups would come from far countries, cross Israel’s border, and seek the benefits of the Almighty God. How did Solomon’s heart and head respond to this reality? Solomon longed to see them come to his city, attend his church, call upon the name of the Lord, and be graced. Solomon wanted to experience in Jerusalem, that which he would experience in heaven — transcultural, multi-ethnic worship which glorified the true King of kings.
Friends, I am fairly convinced we should not be in favor of individuals violating the law of the land and criminally crossing our borders.
Consequently, I am fairly convinced we can decide to show mercy and grace to such undeserving individuals and give the rights, privileges, and blessings they do not deserve.
However, I am fully convinced that, while such individuals are in our land, we should take greater advantage of the mission field the Lord has sovereignly brought our way. Consider what God has done; we can engage in transcultural, multi-ethnic missions and:
- We do not have to get a passport.
- We do not have to spend a great deal of money to go to some far-off land.
- We do not have to leave our jobs and families.
- We do not have to learn another language; foreigners are learning ours.
- We do not have to face the stigma of being unwanted guests or outsiders; foreigners have come to our culture.
- We do not have to sneak Bibles or the Gospel into their communities; America is still fairly supportive.
- We already have a strong network of supporting Christians and churches to aid in discipleship.
Therefore friends, regardless of your political views, you must admit that the Lord of the nations is in the process of bringing the nations to us. He is the one who determines the steps of men and the places they are to live, and he is the one who has called his local church to begin at home and minister well to their morphing neighborhoods. Yes, some are called by God to go to and minister in other lands and to other cultures. However, the rest of us are called by God to stay in our land and minister to our current culture; we are called to love America, stay home, and be transcultural, multi-ethnic missionaries.
So let us not mourn the transformation of our culture. Let us not mourn the morphing of our churches. Rather, like Solomon, Paul, and Jesus, let us be thrilled that our earthly community and our churches are more and more resembling heaven — the great city of God where transcultural, multi-ethnic worship is the norm.