This is my (Emily’s) idea, which popped into my head after writing up and reviewing other Ideas, such as Pentecost Prayer Stations, Pentecost Affirmations, and Celebrate Diversity – Pentecost Style – to which this Great Idea is linked.
As part of the Pentecost celebration of diversity, create this opportunity to explore cultures, climates, and current events from around the world.
Map the languages mentioned in Pentecost’s Acts 2 (vss.8-11) text.
Compare this map to a world map.
Consider the difference in scale between those first disciples/apostles/preachers/evangelists (whichever term is most comfortable in your setting) and the people with whom we come in contact – directly or indirectly – every day.
Explore personal and local connections to other parts of the globe:
- From what countries have people in your congregation emigrated?
- Where have people travelled?
- Is there a new/emerging immigrant community nearby; where are these new neighbors originally from; through what other countries did they have to travel to get here?
Locate these places on your global map.
- How do our lives intersect with the lives of people in other parts of the world?
- How do local climate patterns relate to climate patterns elsewhere?
- Are there migrating animals that connect us to different places?
- What historical events have connected our locale to other humans, industries, climate/environment, etc.?
- What foods do we enjoy from these other cultures?
- What beauty is God bringing into the world through the people, cultures, and ecosystems of these other places?
- What challenges are being experienced by the people, cultures and environments of these other places?
- What stories of joy or pain do people bring to your community from these places?
- [Netflix’s Our Great National Parks (narrated by Barack Obama) offer some beautiful glimpses of creation’s diversity from around the world.]
Discover all the different languages members of your congregation and surrounding community speak.
- Share stories about why or how these languages were learned.
- Invite community families or leaders who belong to differing language groups to teach about their language and culture. [Ensure their safety with the intention to learn from them, not to teach them or indoctrinate them. Be sure every person in your group is aware of these boundaries!] (This could blossom into a cultural festival with food, special dress, arts, etc! See Together at the Table for a follow-up Great Idea!).
- Encourage congregational members to share their gift of languages by reading the Acts 2 text on Pentecost Sunday (see Celebrate Diversity – Pentecost Style for detailed tips).
Let all of these stories and explorations lead into the Pentecost Prayer Stations to deepen the learning and worship experiences and enhance the sense of community.