London is a melting pot. A mosaic, or as Steve Chalke described it at last year’s Pentecost Festival, a fruit salad! A truly multicultural city, it is a diverse range of cultures, classes and colours, all with different needs, all with different outlooks, all Londoners. Walk through Tower Hamlets or Golders Green, St Johns Wood or Old Kent Road, the South Bank or Camden Town, and you will see contrasting scenes of London life. As we pray for a city like ours we must hold these colliding cultures in tension, praying for the Kingdom of God to break through in such a way as to permeate the boundaries that divide us.
In John 17, Jesus prays that the church will be one, and in its unity will glorify the Father. In a city as diverse as London, a unified church is a constant challenge and yet when we achieve it, has the potential to powerfully represent the Kingdom that unifies us. When we come together in all of our different brands of churchmanship to pray for, love and serve our city, we display the glory of God.
Meeting the needs of the many different cultures around us and being incarnational and relevant to each one is often difficult. As we in our differences unite in prayer, worship and action, we become equal to the challenge of the diversity that surrounds us.
Pentecost Festival is a great example of this being lived out. Churches and organisations across the capital unite for ten days of activity that reflect the diversity of London. Churches that represent the huge variety of nations and cultures of the city, work alongside each other, worshipping together and striving towards the unified church Jesus prayed for. Three of London’s largest churches will lay aside their different ways of doing church to kick off the festival together with a worship event at Earl’s Court. London’s Latin American community will demonstrate the life and vivacity with which they worship in the glorious outdoors on the Embankment. There will be children’s events and charity events, comedy, music and film, interwoven with debate and fine art.
As part of the festival, there’s an opportunity to gather to pray for the city in Café Eterno, Covent Garden. Prayer for London will be contributing three prayer walks, helping Londoners to gain insights into the spirituality of the city so that we can be effective in praying strategically for London.
There’s so much going on, the only question is, how will you get involved?
Joy Da Costa has been involved in running Pentecost Festival for the last couple of years, and currently works as Local Festivals Coordinator for SJI. Check out the amazing list of events for this year’s festival at www.pentecostfestival.co.uk. Decide what you want to get along to, and bring your friends!