Thousands of voices filling the air with harmonious praises to the One who saves. Human beings of all different races, testimonies, and personal histories. Arms outstretched in complete surrender. This is a description of the Bethel Worship concert I attended on Monday, but this is also a beautiful picture of the Kingdom.
In Africa, my personal idea of the Kingdom was completely turned upside down. It’s easy to become wrapped up in an Americanized version of eternity-white people and African Americans singing songs in English. But Heaven is so much more.
The Kingdom is rich with Jesus’ mercy and grace extended to ALL people of ALL backgrounds. The thief on the cross worshipping next to the apostle Paul. Prostitutes and beggars alongside the disciples. In Kenya, some of my most touching memories involved our team worshipping Jesus and singing praises in English alongside Africans singing in Swahili. I have never heard a language so primitive, yet gorgeous in my entire life. I had never worshipped in a language that I didn’t understand, united by the unity of the Cross.
And yet…it changed me. I cannot seem to escape these moments where our team wept with joy in the presence of strangers praising Jesus in a language we didn’t fully grasp.
No longer do I have a cookie cutter view of forever. No longer am I intimidated by people from another culture. I challenge you to wreck the idea of a cooke cutter Jesus, and an Americanized eternity. How beautiful it will be to worship alongside our brothers and sisters from other cultures!
Pictures of the Kingdom are all around us. We just need to take the time to stop and look.