Bob Burnham

Cultures Declare the Glory of God

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different cultures in the world (or even just in the U.S.)? So many languages, so many styles of architecture, so many cuisines, so many different ways to do the same everyday tasks of life? I imagine the diversity of cultures is another instance of the dizzying variety in creation. It’s as if creation, being limited, in order to reflect the glory of its Creator, must be incalculably manifold. That is, a single culture, or a single species or a single mountain or a single galaxy, no matter how complex or beautiful in itself, could never say enough about God.

Each created thing has its voice (Psalm 19:1–6), but a vast choir is needed to sing and shout the variegated glory of God (Revelation 4–5). With this perspective, I like to puzzle out what cultures have to say about God. In Slovakia, time-worn traditions always reenact fresh facets of the gospel to each new generation.

Consider a rich picture from our first Slovak wedding. The wedding and its feast are like a dance: a choreographed representation of many things about married life. They include symbols and rituals that remind each generation of the heritage being passed to them. They are filled with food and drink to embody the delight of the marriage. Weddings and their feasts and customs always say something about the ultimate wedding feast of the Lamb and His Bride. A traditional Slovak wedding also includes some drama: the bride is kidnapped by friends of the groom and carried off. When they have her hidden away (usually in a nearby pub), someone informs the groom that she’s missing, and he must find and ransom her. Behind this bit of fun lies the story of our truly heroic Bridegroom, the one who “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

I admit that few of the revelers that night were thinking about Jesus’ rescue mission. Still, cultures cannot help but retell the gospel in various ways—it’s embedded in creation, and culture is part of creation. Listen to your own culture. What is it telling you about God?


This was originally published in The Journey devotional. Kris Lundgaard serves with MTW in Slovakia.

Kris Lundgaard in Kosice Slovakia Reflection on Jan 19, 2017

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