Sunday Service in the Open Sun!
By Cletus David
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Psalm 139:7; NRSV)
Serving God in many parts of the globe is often defined as what feels comfortable. But, in some parts of the world, Christians worship and serve the Lord despite the harsh situations they experience. Difficulties named in Romans 8 like tribulation, distress, persecution, famine and nakedness are real for many people.
Mount Olives United Methodist Church (UMC) in Warren Park "D" Harare – Zimbabwe, is a church of between 250-300 members. The membership consists largely of youth and young adults with few old people. While visiting a family in Warren Park, I went with them to the worship service. To my amazement, after trekking for about 25 minutes we arrived at an open place. It had a pulpit, about twenty fives benches and some cloths spread out on the grass for seating!
There was no tent, no building! It was a sunny day and we worshiped in that open space for about 2 hours 30 minutes! I was greatly amazed at how people burst into worship, lifting up their hands to praise the Savior who had redeemed them from condemnation. These people were happy! I could see the joy in their faces, despite the harsh economic situation, the harassment of family members in the rural areas and an uncertain political future.
This experience reminded me of Romans 8:35, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" I could imagine the members of Mount Olives UMC saying like Paul, "We are persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities… shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"
Lord Jesus, help us to realize that our salvation at Calvary was not just so that we can live in a comfort zone. Teach us to worship you no matter what life challenges pursue us. Amen.
Thought of the Day:
What determines the value of your salvation in Jesus Christ?
Those who take worship and fellowship for granted.