Appreciating Multicultural Diversity

By Not Known

During his National Day Rally speech, our Prime Minister urged Singaporeans and newcomers to work at integration, saying “We may be a small island but we cannot be small minded…we must also be a caring, generous and decent people.” He also urged us to have a heart for our fellow human beings.  Migrants flow in every direction these days – how would you like to be treated if you were moving across borders to live or work?

Two Decembers back when my church in New Zealand celebrated “Multicultural Sunday” at one of our services, I asked our worshippers (about a dozen cultures in all) to do several things: i) bring their national flags to display them in the worship hall, ii)  wear something which identified them with their homelands and iii) bring some food or snacks from their country to share for morning tea.  It was wonderful to see folk going the extra mile just to do something for their country, eg. sing or read Scripture in their national language, cook special food, etc.

Several Maoris in the congregation sang in Maori, three worshippers sang a Korean hymn, a man from Czechoslovakia shared how he escaped from his homeland and eventually made it to New Zealand during the Second World War (black and white pictures included!) A Malaysian lady read a Bible passage in Bahasa, another read in Afrikaans, another shared about life in Papua New Guinea.  After the service someone said, “I had no idea we had so many different cultures in our congregation!” It was a celebration of “our diverse unity in Christ”.

As Christians we have a greater incentive to welcome multicultural diversity: God is the Creator of all mankind (Acts 17:26). Jesus is the Saviour of all men. The Body of Christ is diverse (Gal 3:26, 28). In heaven around the Throne one day there will be believers from every tribe and language and people and nation (Rev 5:9). The church on earth is a foretaste of that magnificent tapestry. Let us take our cue from Jesus who opened his arms in life as well as in death, to welcome people from all cultures, and all walks of life into an eternal relationship with him. Let us as His representatives, accept and welcome all people for the sake of the Kingdom as well as our nation.


Graham Ng