Using Philippians 2 as our foundation, we've explored what it means for us as a church to have the same attitude as Christ, lowering ourselves for the sake of those around us - for the sake of those who are different than us - and in so doing, creating a community which unlocks the full diversity of our gifts.
We've talked about choosing between two paths:
The Path of Hate: Superiority --> Discrimination --> Dehumanization
The Path of Self-Giving Love: Humility --> Compassion --> Elevation
During this sermon, we are talking about one more topic which has come to the forefront in our modern, globalized world: how we as the Church should respond when we encounter people of other nationalities and cultures.
1 "Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you. 2 Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you. 3 All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance. 4 Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home. 5 Your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you. They will bring you the wealth of many lands. 6 Vast caravans of camels will converge on you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense and will come worshiping the LORD . 7 The flocks of Kedar will be given to you, and the rams of Nebaioth will be brought for my altars. I will accept their offerings, and I will make my Temple glorious. 8 And what do I see flying like clouds to Israel, like doves to their nests? 9 They are ships from the ends of the earth, from lands that trust in me, led by the great ships of Tarshish. They are bringing the people of Israel home from far away, carrying their silver and gold. They will honor the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has filled you with splendor. 10 Foreigners will come to rebuild your towns, and their kings will serve you. For though I have destroyed you in my anger, I will now have mercy on you through my grace. 11 Your gates will stay open day and night to receive the wealth of many lands. The kings of the world will be led as captives in a victory procession. 12 For the nations that refuse to serve you will be destroyed. 13 The glory of Lebanon will be yours, the forests of cypress, fir, and pine, to beautify my sanctuary. My Temple will be glorious! 14 The descendants of your tormentors will come and bow before you. Those who despised you will kiss your feet. They will call you the City of the LORD, and Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15 Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations. 16 Powerful kings and mighty nations will satisfy your every need, as though you were a child nursing at the breast of a queen. You will know at last that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel. 17 I will exchange your bronze for gold, your iron for silver, your wood for bronze, and your stones for iron. I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler. 18 Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there."
So, Israelites held onto this hopeful picture for centuries. Even into the early Church. Listen to how the Apostle John describes Jerusalem in the New Creation in Revelation.
The nations will walk in [the light of the Lamb], and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. An