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PC(USA) Advent resource speaks in the language of many hearts

‘United in Hope’ features devotions for the journey to Advent

by Mark Koenig, Administrative Services Group | Special to Presbyterian News Service

“United in Hope” from Global Language Resources in the Administrative Services Group features devotions by authors writing in the language of their heart.

LOUISVILLE — There are varieties of gifts, but the same Holy Spirit gives them. There are varieties of services, but the same Jesus Christ who is followed in service. There are varieties of activities, but the same God activates all of them in everyone. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, paraphrased)

There are multiple languages and cultures within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), but the same Gospel that is proclaimed.

In that spirit, Global Language Resources of the Administrative Services Group is excited to announce the online publication of “United in Hope,” a unique Advent devotional.

“United in Hope” features contributors writing in a variety of languages, representing some of the diversity of the Presbyterian Church. Authors were invited to write in the languages of their hearts. Some of their devotions were then translated into English — a reversal from the way most of the church’s resources are created.

“I felt empowered to share my experiences of the Advent journey in preparation to celebrate the birth of Jesus in my own language and metaphors,” states Joyce Rarumangkay, a member of the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee who serves on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation Board and is a writer for the devotional.

Joyce Rarumangkay

“All peoples and cultures make the Advent journey,” Rarumangkay notes, “but it can be difficult to translate English writings into the Indonesian experience. While English is the language of my head, it can be a challenge to experience the beauty and meaning of the Christmas story when I read words translated into Indonesian from English. It is also a challenge to express that richness when I write in English. In the language of my heart, Indonesian, I understand more deeply, and I write more easily.”

The idea for an intercultural Advent Devotional grew out of interactions between Global Language Resources, global partners, and members and leaders of non-English-speaking congregations and immigrant new worshiping communities. They shared Rarumangkay’s view.

“Our siblings in Christ longed for a resource that highlighted their cultures and amplified their voices in the language of their hearts,” states Stephanie Vasquez, manager of Global Language Resources. “They encouraged us to create such a resource. What better place to start than with an Advent devotional that would be used at the beginning of the Christian year.”

“Using a devotional at Advent can help us focus on preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus amid the busyness of the holiday season,” adds Rarumangkay. “While Christmas brings great joy, it can also prove difficult for individuals who struggle with work, physical health, family relationships, or the passing of a beloved family member or friend. Hopefully these devotions will prove meaningful to people who face such situations.”

“United in Hope” reminds us of our unity within the wondrous diversity God creates and affirms. We receive different gifts. We come from multiple places. We speak varied languages. We embody various cultures. And there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God (Ephesians 4:4-6, paraphrased) The devotional will help those who use it experience the diversity and unity God creates and loves so dearly.

“I can’t wait to use this resource!” comments Kathy Lueckert, president of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. “I am grateful to the writers and the translators for allowing us to participate in the Advent journey through a multiplicity of lenses. ‘United in Hope’ will be an amazing gift to the church.”

Download “United in Hope” here.

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