This fall will be my 8th CrossCulture, if I'm counting correctly. Although it was probably about 5 years ago, I still remember my first CrossCulture quite clearly because it impacted me tremendously. I remember my youth group and I visited L'Arche for the day. They didn't anticipate quite so large a group so a bunch of us were sent out to take a prayer walk around the neighbourhood. That was one of the first times I talked to strangers about Jesus, the first time I thought about prayer as actually powerful enough to yield palpable answers and, looking back, one of the first times I actually went downtown at all.
There's such a gap between middle-upper class, educated Hamilton mountain folk and the lower class, impoverished, downtown Hamiltonian folk. I saw a different culture that day that I hadn't come into contact with before that time – a culture more down-to-earth. It was something a little more gritty and loud, for certain, but I fell in love with it that day and I've continued loving it ever since. Maybe this is just my perspective, but I experience God a little louder and more tangibly downtown, too. He's working so uniquely in the heart of Hamilton and in different ways than up the mountain. CrossCulture is beautiful because it gives a chance to see a different side of God's character that may otherwise not be experienced by some.
CrossCulture does exactly what it's name implies – it crosses cultures together. A sense of deep unity among people of all different walks of life is experienced on that day. Going to CrossCulture inevitably means meeting people that are very different from you, but that's the beauty of it. We can all share our humanity in common; our broader experiences of joy and pain and need for a Saviour that is constant – those are the things that can (and do) unite us. I love worshipping with brothers and sisters from all over the greater Hamilton area in the morning and then splitting up and serving in the community in the afternoon and then coming back together at the end of the day to continue worshipping. I see it as strangely symbolic of the ideal for our lives: gathering as a community of believers, scattering and sharing Christ's love as we go, and coming back together afterward, still unified. God's Name is glorified so richly on that day, and it's my prayer that He will continue to be glorified in our daily lives as we gather and scatter unceasingly.