Beirut – January 13, 2011

(Realized this post has been sitting in my drafts for months – whoops – haha)

I’ve never been in a race car; however, the sensation must be similar to what we experienced today with Sammy Andretti, as Kimberly has accurately named our dear Sammy πŸ™‚ Although there were a few more near-death experiences while travelling in Kolkata, my life definitely flashed before my eyes a few times while running an afternoon-full of errands for the studio.

Yet what will mark this day for me was a dialogue about worship that took place this evening among a few of us. In America, it seems that we often have such a consumeristic view of Church. There are so many options that we get to pick what fits us best and which place will offer us the environment that suits our tastes. I don’t remember how the conversation started, but we began to talk about how so many little things separate The Church in America into churches and create this unhealthy division. (I will say that I do think God gifts leaders of The Church with the ability to translate the universal Truth of who He is into a way that will best reach the body with whom the leader has been entrusted – much like how language is translated and I as an English speaker may need the Japanese language to be translated to me before I understand it – but how often is this line blurred into catering to consumers? I really am just thinking out loud and don’t have an answer). Anyways, it seems that so often there will be squabbles in The Church about music, preaching styles, church cultures, etc. and some will even judge another’s worship based on their criteria of a ‘good Christian.’ However, John Walters made the incredible statement about how he hears these arguments and yet some of the most powerful times of worship He has experienced have been in countries where He is a foreigner to the language and the customs and yet is carried deeply to the heart of God in a church where He cannot necessarily sing along or understand every word that is said. And I completely agree – thinking of a small village church in Uganda, experiencing mass with the sisters of The Missionaries if Charity in Kolkata, India, and especially worshipping with my new brothers and sisters in Damascas as they sang in Arabic. Perhaps it is because something was stripped – I was no longer worried about how this affected my tastes but was willing to connect with the heart of the worshippers – and it was powerful and authentic.

Please forgive how much rambling is contained in this post πŸ˜‰ But another thing that struck me was when a member of our group talked about why they go to the church they do – not necessarily because of the ‘style’ of musical worship (because frankly it’s not their style) but because they know the stories of this family and that family in the church and find strength in being The Church and worshipping as a body together with them. Perhaps this is a part of the wisdom that comes with a Christian walk that is not centered on themselves.

All that to say – I am still very much processing what it looks like to be The Church, to worship as the body we were created to be, to be united under Truth and not the little divisions that seem to do us more harm than good, to ‘live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called.’ And all of these thoughts call for much more unpacking and wrestling as I continue to try and go deeper into His heart for us as His children.

2 thoughts on “Beirut – January 13, 2011

  1. Hey Jenn, I dont mind your rambling here. You’re sharing your concerns in this case. So keep up the Christ’s love, the church sure do need more like you. Oops, belated as it may, blessed Christmas to you! Hello from Malaysia.

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