In the church I served in during my YAV (PCUSA Young Adult Volunteer) year, we were a body of, mostly older, Scottish folks but also of folks gathered from around the world.
Each week as we would pray the Lord’s Prayer together in worship we were invited to pray in whatever language or form we were most comfortable with. Some of us would throw in debts versus sins, most would pray in their thick Glaswegian accented English and some in their native languages of Urdu, Igbo, French, or Spanish.
As our voices were united last Sunday – first in the cacophony of reading verses three and four in many languages and then united in the one language as we read the final verse – it was a beautiful picture and reminder of God’s work throughout the world. As we celebrated Pentecost, we celebrated the ways that the Spirit gives the gift of speaking and hearing so that all can understand.
We give thanks for the Spirit poured out and the ways we see the Spirit at work all around us – in our congregation and community and around the world. We rejoice in the ways God has called people from distant places and from right here in Greensboro: those who speak different languages and those who come from all walks and backgrounds. We rejoice in the ways God has called all of us to this place – to gather together in worship, in serving, and in striving to grow in our faith and to follow.
As we give thanks for God’s work around the world, I invite us to pray for churches around the world, uniting our voices in the One Spirit:
you are the giver of life.
We pray for the church in the whole world.
Sanctify her life, renew her worship,
give power to her witnessing, restore her unity.
Give strength to those who are searching together
for that kind of obedience which creates unity.
Heal the divisions separating your children one from another,
so that they will make fast, with bonds of peace,
the unity which the Spirit gives. Amen.
– PCUSA Book of Common Worship