Normally, I blog about my musings of Haiti and such. But today I want to go a different route. While the thought process God took me on today has its genesis in Haiti, it really applies to a larger part of life to me and I suppose to others as well.
Michelle and I went to church at an English-speaking church located in Delmas 75 called, Quisqueya Chapel. We had been attending somewhere else for the past couple years while visiting Haiti, but at the recommendation of a dear friend of ours, we found the Q Chapel and we feel very much at home there.
To get directly to the point, each time we go to Q Chapel, the pastor has an uncanny way of making me completely uncomfortable. Now, mind you, I am not speaking ill of him…I know better. But he has a way of making us do things in the course of worship I don’t want to do and feels incredibly awkward, especially for a visitor.
Today, pastor wanted us to group up in groups of ten or so for prayer time in the midst of worship. Michelle and I looked at each other hoping we would be ignored by those around us, but noooo! Everyone began moving their chairs to include us in the group as well. So we turned around to participate in this awkward but honorable exercise. He had some specific ideas for what was to be done and I get back to that in a second.
The last time we were at Quisqueya Chapel, he did the SAME thing with the group thing, but for a different exercise. I reluctantly participated in it, even mentioning afterwards to Michelle about how awkward it was, especially as a visitor.
Fast forward back to today. Pastor then proceeds to make it even more awkward (I promise there is a moral and point to this story) by asking one person in the group to begin by giving thanks for 2-3 minutes as the scripture admonishes us to enter His presence with thanksgiving. Pastor prefaced this time with a story that set me at ease somewhat because of its incredible nature.
He tells a story of a young man in their church who attends a local seminary in his freshman year. He related to pastor about the sophomore class travelling to Leogane (city of the epicenter of the earthquake and coincidentally the city that has the largest voodoo temple in Haiti.) to preach the gospel. While in their ministry there, 4 voodoo priests were born again and received Christ as the Savior! But one of them did not until the day after. Interestingly enough, the one priest had tried to do his voodoo work against this small band of men while they were praying but could not. Frustrated he returned to them the next day to ask them about this Jesus and find out why his incantations did not work. He met Jesus Christ that day! Praise God for His awesome delivering power!
Everyone in our small group looked around and I suppose everyone seen me as the tallest or something and all eyes were upon me, so here goes. I began to address Father in thanks for the miracle pastor shared with us. It wasn’t long, all awkwardness was gone and I then realized I was among family of like precious faith.
We proceeded on to a prayer for the people of the Phillipines. Someone else was to lead that part as a Haitian man began to intercede for them. All I could think of is how special it is to hear people of such an impoverished nation as Haiti crying out on behalf of people on the other side of the globe.
Finally, we closed with prayer for the nation of Haiti. A handsome young Haitian man of around 20 I would say, began to pray. As I heard him I was moved by his earnestness. I couldn’t help but touch hearts with him. I could hear others in the group saying words of affirmation, urging him on as they set their prayers in agreement with him. You see, this prayer was especially important because Monday is a special holiday in Haiti. The Haitian equivalent to the 4th of July of the U.S. is tomorrow. It marks their independence from the French and is quite remarkable as Haiti is the only nation to reclaim their independence as a former slave nation. They defeated the great Napoleon in this effort. The news is speaking of possible riots and many protests of the current government under the Presidency of Michel Martelly. The pastor
asked us; no challenged us to pray AND believe for a cool down of this and there be peaceful demonstrations and people speaking of the goodness of our God in these crowds.
While all these things were important and I am in agreement with it 100%, I also learned something about myself. I remember when I was a worship leader and a pastor how often I would push people to a place of discomfort in asking them to step outside “their box” or “comfort zone”. Many people really hated it when I challenged them. For some the difficulty is moving outside their box in a very public setting or crowd, for others like myself, it is more for the intimate settings with people with which I am unfamiliar. I think we have made worship a genre. That is, a predictable style that appeals to us. There is an innumerable amount of people that have left churches or even worse, disengaged, because worship styles affected their preference, all while the aim was to reach the unreached instead those already reached. (sorry for the soapbox, I am done now)
So, I began to think of the scripture in Revelation 3 where Jesus is standing at the door knocking. We all know the story and the beautiful picture of the door without the door knob. I began to ask myself what places I am uncomfortable with Him coming in. This scripture is written to the church, not the “world”. I have some areas of my life that I am afraid to relinquish and trust him completely in. He’s knocking, partly because he desires the fellowship without restraint with me….all of me. But another grace of this passage is without a doubt indicating that fulfillment simply cannot be realized unless we swing open every door, no matter how embarrassing and uncomfortable, and allow his free passage. It is liberating. I also believe every time we open those doors, we grow.
Let’s tear down the walls, open the doors and experience full and free fellowship with Him. Then, we will begin to additionally experience the benefit of seeing walls between each other to come down. Suddenly we will realize we are a family of faith.
Thanks to pastor. Thanks to Jesus for making me uncomfortable; for teaching me a life lesson today.