Reconciliation: Laying aside our differences

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The Salvation Army observes Cultural Awareness Week.

by Pilar Martinez-Moore –

Beginning Jan. 12 and concluding Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009—Reconciliation Sunday—The Salvation Army observed Cultural Awareness Week. The Army’s Southern Territory distributed materials and resources aimed at celebrating our ethnic differences along with developing a better understanding of one another.

During Cultural Awareness Week, the Western Territory’s Multi-Cultural Ministries department encouraged corps and their communities to participate actively in the different activities (Bible studies, children’s programs, etc.) focused not only on ethnic differences but also on the social injustices within our communities. In a year when the United States experienced the historic election of its first African-American president, let’s not forget that racial tension still exists in this country regardless of the efforts of people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and now President-elect Barack Obama. In the kingdom of God everyone is a valued part of the creation, and therefore our reconciliation efforts should focus on respecting and honoring everyone as a valued child of God.

A famous Salvation Army song, written by General John Gowans (Ret.) says: “They shall come from the east; they shall come from the west, and sit down in the Kingdom of God. To be met by their Father and welcomed and blessed, and sit down in the Kingdom of God. The black, the white, the dark, the fair, your color will not matter there….”

As we meditate, participate and celebrate during this time and going forward, let’s make the central message: If we are reconciled to God, we must be reconciled to one another.

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