I just returned home from preaching at our Saturday service. This was an especially significant event for me: it was the first time I had ever preached in Spanish.
I have always shrugged off my pastor’s hints that I should preach at this service. I preach regularly for our Sunday morning service, but with small children at home, I felt very justified in my rationale for why I could not preach on Saturday nights. This time, however, Danny came right out and asked me to do it. And because of an agreement I entered into with God back in 1994, I said yes. I am so glad that I did.
There were around thirty of us there, gathered in a small storefront down the street from my apartment. The service begins at six, which really means six twenty, and throughout the first hour, people continued drifting in. We began our time with testimonies, and nearly everyone present had something to share about how God had been present, living and active, in their lives and in the lives of those around them (if you read my post about Oprah last week, you know that testimony is something I feel strongly about).
Following the testimonies, we spent time worshipping together in song. Reuben, a young man in our church who helps lead this service, started us off with a lively song. As that song ended, we continued clapping, and someone else started us off on another song. After we had finished that song, a different person started another and so it went. Doug and I talk a lot about worship, and the different ways that people in churches can expect a worship leader or team to “do the work” so to speak. The word, liturgy, literally means “work of the people”, and I loved how tonight’s “liturgy” of song and testimony was just that.
After a time of sharing our prayer requests and praying together, I was invited to bring the message. Yes, I stumbled over words or phrases I did not know; yes, I got insecure a few times and asked Juan or Reuben to translate a word or phrase that I probably could have figured out on my own; but God’s word was preached, hearts received it, and I was warmly appreciated and loved every step of the way.
It was good for me to do this tonight. Good for the ways this body of worshippers reminded me what weekly gatherings for the church should be all about; good for the new friendships that emerged and the strengthening of old ones; good for the way it reminded me of how I hope to function as a minister, trusting not in my education, my skills, or my experience but rather truly believing that I am to function as a vessel for something far more powerful and winsome than I.
It was so good, in fact, that I think I may approach Danny and ask to be on a rotation for preaching regularly at this service.