Sunday, September 5, 2010


I was reminded this Sunday of how meaningful it is to worship in one's own language. It is easy to forget in Canada, but it was something I learned the hard way in Brazil, where it was often very lonely and unfulfilled to stumble through worship songs in Portuguese, focusing more on phonics than God. I could sing or pray or cry to God in English any time, but communal worship is an integral part of Christian practice, and I missed it. One week Joyce (the missionary who hosted me) took me to an English-speaking church in Brasilia, and I loved it so much. I soaked in the announcements, sang from the heart, took notes during the sermon, and read the bulletin as if it was the 67th book of the Bible (youth group to play board games at the Walkers on Thursday? Amazing!).

Church is always in my language now, and my heart has been lazy to appreciate it. I have been struggling on and off to really worship God at church this summer, but I loved this past Sunday because we had someone sing special music in Tamil. The English translation of the song was printed in the bulletin, so everybody could read the words, and the words were beautiful, but they weren't what struck me. My heart was touched when part way through the song and again at the end, I heard the Tamil people in the pew behind me humming and singing along under their breath with the singer. It reminded me of my longing for English worship, and I was humbled to remember that these people participate every week in our English service without complaining that the language of their hearts is not represented.

(We) English speakers find a lot to complain about in our church services - too long, not enough time spent on a certain aspect, wrong type of music, hating that we repeat a chorus 9 times, wishing people were "more spiritual," wishing people would mind their business about our spirituality - what a miracle that in heaven we will still have our differences but without any division - "a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all trives and peoples and tongues, standing before the throng and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches [in] their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." (Rev. 7:9-10)

1 comment:

  1. So true... amazing. I love your blogs. They're great. And what a good passage from revelation. I love hearing worship in other languages. Even if I don't understand what it means. Languages just amaze me.
    <3 Matt