A little boy ran to the church platform and rushed up the steps where his friends were singing and dancing. He carefully observed their arm movements and although he didn’t know the words of the songs, he jumped up and down and waved his arms in amazing co-ordination with them! We couldn’t help noticing him, seeing he was standing close to the edge of the stage. He was so cute, with his tight African curls and eager expression!
The other worshippers went on with their dance and song, then at the end, they filed down the steps. But not our future song-leader…he intended to continue, until some of the girls took him off! What would he be like in the future, I wondered? Shy? I doubt it. I think he’s only two or three years old, but he’s learning some valuable lessons in the meantime.
Our congregation includes more than twenty nationalities. There are people from ten of the African countries, some from the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Ireland, China, the Cook Islands, New Zealand, plus some I can’t recall right now, and Australia!
Several weeks ago we had a special African Night. It was thrilling to see the way they use song, dance and drama in their worship. In this way they also pass on the truths they’ve learnt. My heart followed them as the flow of their movements washed across the platform, their bright clothes adding to the splendour. I was in awe of their fortitude and resilience. I admired the way they lived, considering the tragic things a lot of them had experienced. Their smiles are beautiful. Now they’re here with us; many nations worshipping in unison. We all love the same good God.
I’ve become acquainted with many of these people since we moved to the city, but I have great difficulty remembering their names. They are patient with me and some of them use a spare English name to make life easier for us single-language-Aussies! In their gentle voices they spell their names while I write them in my notebook. Even then, I often get them wrong! I mostly stick to first names – the surnames are a bit much for me, especially those long ones that the Sri Lankans own! Recognising their faces each week is another challenge. When they change their hairstyles, or wear wigs, the women can look like strangers, but I’m working on it!
Now I wish I could tell you that little boy’s name. I must ask his mother. I know what she looks like; she spends quite a bit of time bringing him back from the platform during the services! Next week I’ll have my notepad ready.
I pray that he’s absorbing at least two important things: how wonderful it is to worship God in the way he’s laid out for us: uninhibited and free. The other is that all nations can praise the Lord together. God bless him.