Opinion—Transcending Language, Culture, and Color

 In All Church of God, Central, CHOG, Church of God Convention, Op-ed, Southeast

By Salvador Hernandez

Editor’s note—Views expressed in the following op-ed do not necessarily reflect those of Church of God Ministries, Inc., or its affiliates (in this case, we offer an enthusiastic Amen! to the spirit of this article in support of General Assembly participation). We publish op-ed features to provoke thought, stimulate healthy discussion, and inspire us to be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what Jesus did. We’ve asked to hear from a diverse range of voices across the Church of God movement. This op-ed features one of these voices.

The church is a miracle, it is God’s idea, and only God can sustain it. Why do I say that the church is a miracle? Because it is made up of different people from all kinds of backgrounds, social statuses, cultures, and schools of thought, yet all fall under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is true what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:28, “ There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is no man or woman; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This unity is impossible without Christ, and that is the very reason why there are so many divisions in the world.

Salvador Hernandez

Why is it so important to meet as the General Assembly of the Church of God? Because by doing so, we are proclaiming the unity of the body of Christ. It is in these meetings where we can observe what the body of Christ truly is and have a small glimpse of what heaven will be like. Revelation 7:9 says, “After this I looked, and saw a great multitude, which no one could count, from all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white garments and with palms in the hands.” When we participate of gatherings like this, we have a taste of heaven on earth. I believe there is nothing more powerful than the gathering of the people of God, which transcends every language and culture and color. In Christ, we are one!

Going to the Church of God General Assembly is important because it strengthens our faith. You might remember the story of Peter’s denial. Jesus told him he would deny him three times, but he also said he had prayed for him and, once he had returned, he needed to strengthen his brothers (Luke 22:32). And it is true. His life became a testimony of God’s grace. Failure didn’t get to define him, and he was greatly used by God in the first primitive church. The same is true today, the assembly of the people of God is a beautiful testimony of those who have been forgiven, those who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb, whose flaws and failures didn’t hold them back. When we gather, we witness all that the Lord is doing in the local church, in the lives of his people, and even outside the United States and Canada, especially this year. I would lack time if I could tell you of the stories of our brothers who have strengthened my faith in something as simple as a conversation.

It is also important to attend the General Assembly because we are part of a Movement that has a vision. We have been entrusted with the task of being part of the advancement of our Movement for the benefit of the kingdom. There is business we have to take care of, and a ministry to advance. God has entrusted this task to us, so attending the General Assembly demonstrates our commitment to God, to our Movement today, and to the future of our Movement.

Finally, participating in the General Assembly reaffirms our sense of belonging. It is there that we make new friends, it is there that we build a circle of support where we can rest. It is also the place where God dwells—Psalms 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” It is in the gathering of the people of God that burdens are lessen and joys are added. What a blessing it is to be part of such a beautiful Movement. Let us go to the General Assembly of the Church of God—it is the place of God and the place of unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.

Salvador Hernandez serves as pastor of Hispanic ministries at Shartel Church of God in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He also serves on the Ministries Council of the Church of God.

“He’s got the whole world in his hands.” What an encouraging reality! Be inspired by it, be challenged by it, and experience it firsthand at Convention 2023 and General Assembly, June 22–25 in Tampa, Florida. Learn more and register at www.chogconvention.org.

Feature (top) photo: General Assembly 2019 in Orlando (file image).

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