Challenges of the cross-cultural service

Sitting in the church rectory with Alan we are given a moment to soak in our surroundings.

The Colonel is preaching away in the building next door, three Indian ladies are clinking and chatting away in the backyard making us lunch. The frequent waft of a smell too incredible and horrible to describe rises out of the open sewer fifteen metres away and creeps into the room again and I begin to ask Alan how his first crack at cross cultural preaching felt.

Lockie: So man what did you preach on?

Alan: The Kingdom of God… Luke chapter 13:18. How did it go down you reckon?

Lockie: Great man, did Bubba (Stanley) end up getting the right Bible verse?

Alan: Yeah he did in the end I think… At one point I said “From little things, big things grow” and he translated for like 10 minutes…

Lockie: Yeah I loved that bit.

Alan: I think the trick is to give him a lot to translate then let him put his own spin on it… When I dared look at the audience there were a few weird faces though…

Lockie: What do you reckon they were thinking?

All of a sudden the fourth of the morning’s special solo performances start up inside the church and Alan waits a second before answering with his new soundtrack floating through the window.

Alan: Yeah i think they got it. You’ve got to remember that the people of the Bride of Christ Church hold the same Bible as me. The message in it is as clear to them as it is to us. They’re not Hindus they are evangelistic Christians just like us. Even more so probably. I preached on the Kingdom of God and they are in the same kingdom we’re in. I was struck by that today.

Lockie: What other parts of the service did you find interesting?

Alan: Their hymns go for ten minutes each! I was struck by how they were just praising God. The Colonel had this nasty organ effect on his keyboard but no one seemed to care. They were just praising God with what they had and that was awesome.

Lockie: When we played Amazing Grace it did sound like a funeral march didn’t it?

Alan: Fully, compared to their uplifting rhythmic stuff. Even though they were singing words like “Jesus is my power my super power” they were singing it so joyfully and with so much passion you know that their hearts are in the right place.

If today is anything like yesterday I should be able to hitch another ride on the back of a local’s motor bike to the main road where I will send this to you all. After that we are all going out into a village for two days to spend some time with a church planed out there and do some outreach and building work.

The evidence of God’s work out here is unbelievable.

Yesterday morning I heard one of the Church Deacon’s testimonies. Towards the end he was explaining to me how blessed he is by God. He was telling me that once he became a Christian God started blessing him in new ways. Over the past three years he went from 18000rp to 84000rp a year while his colleagues’ pay did not rise. He explained how challenged he is to be generous as he feels God has been so generous to him and his family.

I couldn’t help doing the maths.

He went from earning around AUD $600 to AUD $2500 per year. I thought to myself, ‘When do we start feeling challenged not only to give but to be generous?’ We are all part of the same kingdom, we all have something to give no matter how big or small.

Tom McCorquodale who is going to help me with this blog just entered the room. He said, “Its funny that we just finished morning church here and our night service back home is just about to start.” Today I am able to really appreciate the verse my friend Warrick of the Perspectives on Mission Course would often proclaim.

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9a)

Today we had a taste of what is to come.

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