While the intro begins and people are welcomed, I feel at home. Excited. I get this, it makes sense to me. My heart is beating fast as lights come up and a worship song intro begins. Tears are flowing and I am not even sure why. I am just so moved to be worshipping with you all. I am overcome by my gratefulness to God and completely overwhelmed by something I will never take for granted again. As the song begins I can barely form words, which is too bad because I know them and they are in a language I can comprehend with no effort. I want to sing so loud it is awkward and at times I can barely maintain my composure because I want to celebrate! God is so good and I am so excited to worship in a context that I “get.” I am completely lost in God’s presence as He ministers to my soul and I pour my heart out to Him. I stifle a desire to dance and I imagine what the Haitian church would do in this context. I imagine their excitement seeing the lights, and experiencing the music and the resource the American church has and I readily see them dancing, unable to contain their excitement. I feel like they are with me, a part of me. Celebrating God with such abandon and joy as they take in his goodness as expressed in American culture. I love the body of Christ. I love her expression in Haiti but it is a mystery to me. I sit, as with everything else in Haiti, on the edge. Participating and then falling into confusion. Enjoying and connecting and then losing all sense of what is happening. I spend much time in Haitian church completely lost, not able to follow the speaker or understand the song. I love her expression in the US because it is speaks my language in every which way. When she worships I can move with her as one person, it is natural, I know where she is headed and I am at complete peace there. I wonder, precious American church, do you know what you have? Until next time, I will sit with my amazing brothers and sisters in Haiti and we will worship the same God, with sweat pouring, hearts focused and hungry, minds attuned to His word. We are one with you. Our expression looks different but if we could step into your world we would join you in burning down the house with our praise. What a wonderful day that will be. When as one church we worship HIM in unison, with none on the edge, lost. With all fully engaged in worship. Can you see it? I can. I got a glimpse last weekend. They were with me and I was with you. It was perfect. The body of Christ is diverse, beautiful, mysterious and a real living thing. What an honor it is to participate in worship together!
Where was your heart this last weekend? Lost in HIM? Lost in HIS amazing, undeserved grace? His complete presence among us when we gather? Lost in His power as we recognized our transformed lives and those of the people around us? or maybe…Lost in frustration over church budget, political arguments, the screen glitching, the awkward movements of someone on the worship team? Let’s be honest, I have been that awkward person on the worship team. Attending church every Sunday, serving, and having something so sacred become just “church”. I have been so consumed with doing church that I have forgotten I AM the church! It is a struggle. I struggle week after week in Haiti to connect, to grasp a spiritual concept, to focus. I enjoyed this weekend so much and was reminded that the struggle is worth it because the Body of Christ is sacred. We are a part of something so much bigger than our little expression. I am encouraged because when I worship I feel a sense of being a part of the universal church. So next Sunday, I will worship in Haiti. I will struggle. I will remember worshipping with you all, I will bring you with me. Maybe you could imagine the Haitian church entering in your side door, with shouts of praise. Maybe that will encourage you, excite you and help you to engage the struggle. You certainly help me to engage mine! Love you much sweet church.
Hebrews 10:24-26 “Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works. And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching.”