International Day at Destination Church
We recently celebrated our annual International Day at Destination Church in Chicago. In a global city with the nations at our doorstep, we want to build a community that reflects the “great multitude…from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” as seen in the Book of Revelation. We believe a local church body that is ethnically diverse yet unified around the person of Jesus is God’s primary instrument of redemption for our divided, hurting society.
At its heart, International Day reflects the character of God himself, who exists as a diverse community of three unique persons with one essential nature, in perfect unity. Though the story of humanity is one of division and distance from God, his overarching purpose in history has always been to redeem a family for himself from all people groups on earth. None, in Christ, are excluded, and all are equally valued.
Today, we find ourselves somewhere in-between Pentecost and the Marriage Supper. Our intent with International Day is to present the church as an attractive alternative to a fallen world with failing and destructive value systems. Our cultural moment, in particular, is one of intense animosity towards the other. By celebrating the many different cultures that make up Destination, we’re showing just a bit of what eternity in God’s Kingdom is like. This means unity and difference are not mutually exclusive, and mere “tolerance” gives way to celebration and mutual upbuilding.
Practically, our International Day includes a few elements to show that we value the nations represented among us and welcome the many cultures of Chicago to join. These include:
Hanging up flags of different nations around the building and handing them out to people as they arrive
Embracing the traditional clothing of other cultures
Preaching a sermon on living peaceably with others
Inviting multilingual speakers to read a particular Bible verse in different languages
Displaying a world map and spending a few minutes in corporate prayer, encouraging people to pick a nation and pray through several prayer points together with one voice
Ending with an international potluck, enjoying dishes from different cultures represented in the church
This year’s International Day was a great success, and a joy to take part in. We hope to build on this for next year and add even more elements to celebrate our unity in the great and diverse multitude that is the Body of Christ.