This story first appeared in the September 2017 edition of The Hilltop.
“Worship is so different,” student Zalena Su’e said. “It is not just one specific style. We want the Intercultural Art Night to help people share the different ways they worship God and feel welcome to express their culture.”
Friday evening of September 15 found a group of around 50 students worshiping God in multiple languages and styles. This event was named the Intercultural Art Night and was organized by Timothy Ethell, Isabel Steinhoff, Sandce Ferre, William Parker, Kane Wilton, Alaina Sagarang and Su’e.
Primarily, it was an evening of worship in Bekasi, Spanish, Japanese, Hawaiian and English.
Blankets were set out on the amphitheater grass, creating a relaxed and intimate setting among students and friends. “We want to worship with our whole being,” Ethell said, while starting off the night with an introduction of the event’s purpose. Songs differed between older and contemporary, switching to a different language each time. Lyric sheets were handed out, depicting each song in whatever language was being used, along with the English translation. Time was allotted to prayer, and students gathered with and for each other. Toward the end of the event, dancing was also a focus. A group of Indonesian students led an upbeat choreographed dance with tambourines, which added a level of excitement for those watching.
After each event, things continued with the emphasis of bringing each culture back to its roots. In an organized fashion, each of the songs flowed one right after the other. Applicable verses were shared between the different music selections. The focus was glorifying God through different styles of worship. At the end of the event, students shared their reactions.
“It was a really great way to learn about the cultures that are here,” student Hannah Fish said. “Seeing the dances and different languages helped me to experience culture.”
“I loved the blending of worship songs in Bekasi and English,” Tiana Nisly said. “It made me feel like I could connect better with the lyrics.”
The event proved successful. As the Doxology was sung in all the different languages to close out the night, unity proved to be a central message. All the students that attended stood together, holding hands in a circle of praise.
“We aren’t focusing on diversity,” Ethell said. “We are focusing on worshipping God together.”
Photos by Michaela Sanderson.