Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-6
Pinterest has lots of ideas for decorations that include globes, world maps, and photos of children from around the world.
Serve charcuterie tray with cheeses, meats, and fruits from around the world or from different parts of the United States. Include unusual foods that will take a bit of courage to try, like pickled pig’s feet and tofu, along with foods that you know would be enjoyable but that the women may not have tried.
In the United States, we live in a melting pot of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, races, religions, and traditions. These differences are created from ancestral countries of origin, parts of the country we live in, and sometimes for no reason. It is amazing to know that we are each unique and created specially to worship God. Celebrating diversity is important but so is celebrating what unites us as children of God.
In 1964, Walt Disney presented his new audio–animatronics ride “Children of the World” at the 1964-65 World Fair in New York. Audio–animatronics was a technology that enables animated characters to move in sync to music. Robert and Richard Sherman were staff writers for Disney and were tasked with writing one song that would be easy to translate into many languages. They worked together to write “It’s a Small World After All.” It is thought to be the most translated and performed piece of music in the world. The lyrics and recordings are available online at: https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/It%27s_a_Small_World_(song)
Discuss what cultures you see in your community. What about in your corps? What challenges and opportunities do they present? For example: Farmington, NM is surrounded by the Navajo Nation, the Ute Mountain Reservation, the Jicarilla Apache Reservation and the Southern Ute Reservation. The culture of our community is Native American. We celebrate with Navajo Tacos (Indian Frybread), wearing silver and turquoise, native dress, ceremonies, and landscape. Native Americans are culturally challenged by alcohol and drug abuse, and many we minister to struggle with sobriety.
Each team will draw a slip of paper from a bowl that has a country, culture or an area of the United States on it. The object is to create something that represents the country that they drew. It could be a flag or a costume, a poem or song.
- Slips of paper with names of different countries, cultures or parts of the country.
- Basic information about the various countries.
- Costumes, fabric, paper to assist in the creativity.
Feature that creativity on your corps social media.
Print signs reading “hello” in languages from around the world or local colloquialisms (ex. howdy, ola, bonjour). Guess what language or part of the country they are from. Use Google to listen to how each hello is pronounced and encourage the women to practice saying hello in different languages, or accents.
Diverse Yet United
Read Ephesians 4:2-6 in The Message.
Have you been to one of the Disney parks and enjoyed the “It’s A Small World” ride? Back in 1964, this ride was a technological stunner at the World Fair in New York. Disney was way ahead of the times. It involved synchronizing music with the figurines’ movements long before our modern-day computers were invented. The whole premise of this display was to celebrate different cultures around the world, showcasing clothing, ways of life and languages. The brilliance of this display was the depiction of children, because nothing tugs at people’s hearts more than children—beautiful children in their native dress from all over the world singing the same song in their native language. Almost 60 years later, “It’s a Small World” ride is still one of the most loved in any of the Disney parks. The song is so familiar that we can at least hum along when we hear it played.
Each of us has a family story. AncestryDNA and 23andMe DNA tests have become very popular in the last couple of years. You simply spit into a small test tube and send it in to a lab to be analyzed. From that small bit of saliva, a whole new world of who you are, where you came from, who you are related to is revealed. You can find out genetic biological features you may have, such as hair color, finger length, earlobe type, and body type. All from a few drops of saliva. We are all unique truly artistic masterpieces created by God.
We are living in a world where attention to diversity isn’t always a celebration. It has become a fight. Racial profiling is rampant. Violence at churches, businesses, and neighborhoods towards people of color has escalated in the name of social justice. The political arena has become hateful causing people to turn against their Christian brothers and sisters. We hear nightly news reports on what is wrong with our world, and we rarely hear what unites us.
Paul wrote his letter to the church of Ephesus while he was in prison in Rome. Ephesus was a busy port city and the center of much trade. In the center of the city was the Temple of Diana (or Artemas), the deity worshipped in that city. Paul was kicked out of Ephesus because his preaching threatened the commerce of the city, which was the production of implements used in the worship of Diana. Many people were coming to faith in Jesus Christ and were no longer purchasing those items. Paul wrote the letter to encourage the Christians in Ephesus who faced daily discrimination and violence because of their faith.
Read Ephesians 4:1-6.
This scripture indicates that unity, patience, love and peace were as much a challenge in Paul’s lifetime as they are today. We are reminded that while we are all different and come from many walks of life, the One who created us is the same Lord that united the church of Ephesus. Celebrating our diversity can be a lot of fun, but celebrating what unites us is eternal. We are united in Christ when we accept Him as our Savior.
To close, gather in a circle and pray for unity in Christ for the women’s group, the corps, city and our country.