Americans don’t know how to do church.
I mean we are pretty darn good about showing up, singing, sleeping through a sermon and hitting up the local Sunday buffet on the way home, but we often miss the point of church.
Church is not about you.
We attended our first church service in Montrouis, Haiti last week. We heard the singing before we saw the church. When we walked in there were people praising and worshipping God with all of their might. It did not matter if you could sing or not, no one went for the “pretty version” of the song either–everyone sang along with all they had. It was so loud you though they were magnifying the sound somehow but it was pure, unadultered worship.
It was dumbfounded when I realized what they were singing in Creole. It was “Count Your Many Blessings.”
I was ashamed. I had been complaining just a day earlier about something that didn’t suit me with our house. We needed to fix this or that. I didn’t like this pillow because all the fluff had gone to one side. I hated our showerhead because it pelted me with water rather than “falling softly like rain.” I was a fool.
These folks walked quite a distance to come to church. Some came hungry. Some came in the only pair of shoes they owned. Some came alone because they were orphans. Some came in spite of ridicule from family. Some came because they had no where else to go. However, all came because they loved Jesus. You could see it on EVERY FACE. They had faith that could move mountains and bring forth miracles. (And it did).
I learned a valuable lesson about myself and other Americans that day. We have gotten so good at depending on ourselves that we honestly believe we don’t need God. We may not say that out loud of course, but our actions speak otherwise.
This week Jared and I both had our faith tested, strengthened and tested again.
The most beautiful thing I saw was on Monday. It wasn’t the beauty of the nature around us or the kid’s smiles… it was the brokenness and faithfulness of those that asked us to pray for them to be healed of ailments. They came with unbound faith that was not held down by a doctor’s diagnosis or a voodoo preacher’s curse, it was a childlike faith in the power of the name of JESUS. I could do nothing but tremble, whisper and cry as I prayed for healing over men with hurt backs, women with blind eyes and people with AIDS. I was ashamed of my lack of faith and strengthened by theirs.
Please pray with me for the people of Montrouis, L’artibonite and Arcahaie, Haiti. Pray for those that are sick. Pray for those without income to support their families. Pray for those without food. Pray for those who need freedom from the chains of voodoo. Pray for Haiti.