We can be better

Celebrate Cultural Awareness Week and our diversity in God’s Army  

Linda Manhardt, Major –

hands_of_all_races_coming_togetherThroughout the Bible—and, in fact, throughout history—we see examples of how God’s purposes have unfolded in this world amid difficult, if not impossible situations.

Today, it seems that the United States, as well as the world at large, finds itself in a difficult place.

People are divided and the polarization is growing. We are separated by anger, suspicion, prejudice, intolerance and a host of other maladies that continue to drive wedges between us.

I see this as an expression of our innate sinful nature rearing its ugly head, causing judgment, unrest and antagonism between culturally diverse groups.

As Christians, we have been raised up to be a demonstration of God’s love and power in this hurting world. We have been called in Matthew 5:13-16 to be salt and light to those around us, and to proclaim his name in all the earth.

We must find ways to live out this purpose.

Individually, we find ways to do this in our dealings with those around us each day by living lives that show genuine compassion, kindness and forgiveness to others.

But there are corporate ways—things we can do together as a body of believers—to demonstrate God’s love and power. We can live in unity, and we can be intentional in developing venues for the demonstration of God’s grace in the world.

One such opportunity presents itself each year during The Salvation Army Cultural Awareness Week, held in early January. Traditionally observed around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the event was once called “Reconciliation Awareness Week.” Later it became known as Cultural Awareness Week, in order to focus on and celebrate our diversity and to bring reconciliation with one another. This year it is celebrated Jan. 15-22 as a week to “Rise Up and Reach out to All Nations,” with Jan. 22 designated as Cultural Awareness Sunday.  

Observing Cultural Awareness Week is one way we can reach out to one another and celebrate our diversity in God’s Army. Let us continue to take steps to make the slogan “One Army” a reality, and to be intentional in actively participating in bringing about healing in our world through our individual expressions of God’s love and power.

In the post-election aftermath of anger, fear, doubt and misunderstanding that seem to permeate our country, let The Salvation Army be an example of understanding, acceptance and true brotherhood. Let us be agents of hope and healing.

We can be—the world can be—better than this.

Find resources to celebrate Cultural Awareness Week at  

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