Day 10 — A Sunday to Remember!
Two highlights stand out about our Sunday in Gembu…
First, we worshiped on a hillside in Kakara with a convention of Baptist churches. After driving for 75 minutes, we arrived at a remote location on the outskirts of the village. Most of the people sat in make-shift shelters (most with grass tied to the roof to provide shade) in a large circle…maybe 80 yards across. Art Helwig and our team were honored by the leaders (Susan even needed to address the crowd of hundreds because they wanted to hear her voice) and we had a wonderful time. The wind was quite stiff, however, and waves of dust blew through the crowd on a regular basis. It was so bad at one point in time that we could hardly see the worshipers on the other side of the circle. But it was wonderful to worship among brothers and sisters of a whole different culture. Our team especially enjoyed the offering! (You don’t hear that too often.) That’s because it was a dance offering…you shake and jig while you move toward the baskets to give your money. We joined right in. What a time!
Secondly, we worshiped long distance with our Edinbrook congregation. With a live Skype link, we surprised our church by addressing them on the big screen during the Sunday worship services. I can’t say what it was like on the other end (I heard it was a little choppy), but it was a blast to “drop in” unexpectedly and briefly report about GECHAAN in Gembu.
We may have our preconceived ideas about what worship should be. In our western culture, what we think is right is often lacking biblical support. We tend to rely on tradition a little more than truth.
Jesus clarified a few things about worship when he conversed with the worldly woman at the well in Samaria: The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship,” John 4:19-20. Like this woman, we erroneous believe that worship should look like this, sound that, and take place in a certain type of venue. We often have very strong ideas about what worship should NOT be, too. But listen to how Jesus simplified worship — “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth,” John 4:24.
Being authentic and Spirit-filled is what matters most. We need to stop judging worship by our preconceived ideas and make sure our own hearts are right and truthfully lifted up before God in our expressions of praise. That’s what really matters.
Real worship can happen on a dusty hillside with a dancing throng…or in the back-room of a house through high-tech internet connections. Trust me…I know.