There is a reason God made the Sabbath... A day of rest. There is also a reason God made the Sabbath the same day as worship... Because gathering as a church to worship should be the most comfortable, relaxing, restful, recharging thing we do all week.
African church is like that for me. I L-O-V-E the praise and worship, which lasts for an hour and counts as my cardio for the day! I also LOVE the message... Delivered passionately without concern for offending anyone, and delivered in a way that comforts those who need it. I love love love the testimony time, when several people from the church stand and let their Church know what God is doing in their lives. I love to the point of bursting the offertory time, when people rush out of their seats to the front to give back some of what God has gifted them. My absolute favorite part of African church, though, doesn't happen in church or on Sundays. Africans understand what it means to BE the church. They hear each others testimonies, they feed each other physically and spiritually. They care for the sick and dying. They comfort the widows and the orphans. They take in the abandoned and outcast. Because of all of this, on Sunday mornings when they gather, they can rest and relax. They are in the company of people who are literally Jesus to them. They celebrate and smile and dance and hug and cry... All the time knowing that those people in that building are there for them all week. There is such comfort in a Church like this, and it extends to visitors, and is evident to the outside world.
Today we rested and worshipped at Pastor Henry's church. One of my favorite lines in church was: "if you're visiting today, we're glad you're here! We will save that chair you're sitting in just for you, so come back next week!"
This afternoon Robert and I went four wheeling along the Nile with three others from our team. The younger teammates had a blast, but most of you know that's probably not how I would choose to spend my sabbath! ;-). We started out in a rainstorm, so you can only begin to imagine the mud... And several times we had to change course because the path was impassable. Soooo not my thing! So, I smiled, closed my eyes, and channeled my inner Charlie's Angel.
It was good to rest because this week will be long and hard. Two weeks is a long time in Africa, and we have lots of work to do. God is showing me that we must not be afraid to rest when needed -- to recover from what has been done, and prepare for what He has in store.
Hope your Sabbath was restful!
Happy Fathers Day to my incredible husband, father, grandfather, and father-in-law! Love you all!!
*our Internet at the hotel has been down since I sent last night's update, so I'm praying that if I type this, it will go through at some point! Thanks for all the prayers.. Keep them coming!!!