The Richness of Interdenominational Worship

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Continuing our adventures in Vancouver, British Columbia, we had the opportunity to worship on Palm Sunday morning with the Indonesian church that our son and daughter-in-law attend. Wow, wish you all could have been there. That church was hopping! Would you believe that the service lasted for 4 hours and I didn’t fall asleep once? They had a praise band that was out of this world. We sang songs in English and in Indonesian and I kept thinking….this is how it is going to sound in Heaven. It was so awesome. It was also very freeing to be able to raise my hands in worship and not feel embarrassed. My son leaned over and said, “Mom, I think you’re becoming a ‘Bapticostal.'” Ha!

I don’t speak Indonesian but they had portable receivers that you could use with earplugs to listen to an interpreter. I didn’t use one for the songs. Worship is worship in any language and Indonesian is actually a pretty straightforward language to pronounce so I had a good “go” at the choruses in Indonesian. When the pastor came up to pray, I did grab the earplugs to put them in but our son leaned over and whispered, “Mom, those aren’t going to help you for that.” The pastor was speaking in tongues as were other members of the congregation. This is the first time I’d ever heard someone speak in tongues. Nobody does that in my Southern Baptist church.

When it was time for the sermon, I listened to a translation on the characteristics that David displayed as he sought to follow God’s will. In the back of my mind, I must confess that I was ever mindful of a true story our son had shared with us on our way over to the church. It seems that when he attended an Indonesian church near our home, he didn’t realize that there was a “lag” between what the pastor was saying and what the translator would say. During one sermon, suddenly most of the people in the congregation raised their hands. As my son sat there wondering if he should raise his hand but not knowing why the others were doing so, he heard the translator say, “How many of you would like to go to Heaven?” Although all hands were down at this point, Jason shot his hand up. Just at that point the translator said, “How many would like to go to hell?” Heads swung around to stare at him as the translator hissed frantically in his ear “Put hand down, put hand down.”

Oh, I forgot to tell you that the Indonesian church also had communion and as soon as the communion plate started down our aisle, I knew I wasn’t facing grape juice. Jason leaned over and said, “Mom, remember how Jesus turned the water into wine? Well, let’s just say, there’s no water in that communion cup.” I did what any good Baptist would do. I drank it down and did so joyfully, knowing I was celebrating Christ’s sacrifice, not man’s restrictions; celebrating the joy of coming together as Christian brothers and sisters to experience the full diversity that this encompasses. It was a wonderful Palm Sunday.

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