It's a beautiful thing to see people so humbled before the Lord. Over the past two months, I have been extremely touched by the willing hearts of people in my local church here in Romerillos. Not only through their kind, welcoming words and generous acts, but also through their devotion to the Lord. Despite the physical labor, emotional trials, and hard lifestyle people in Romerillos face daily, their faith has taught me that we always have something to be thankful and joyful for. If we just look around us, the hand of God in our lives will be evident.
At Iglesia Metodista Rios de Agua Viva, each time we have prayer, led by the pastor or anyone church member, without fail everyone kneels on the hardwood floor, including older members who have a hard time walking and standing. What a surprising act of faith! Having never practiced this in my own church, the act of kneeling really touched me. As the popular TobyMac song says, let's be "a city on our knees....if we've gotta to start somewhere, why not here? If we gotta start sometime, why not now?" There is no better time than now to show our gratitude for what God has given us, whether it be food on the table, a roof above our heads, an opportunity to travel, or encouraging friends. Being on our knees is a way to show our submission and reverence to God. Sometimes in our churches in the U.S. our worship can be very formal or rigid. We hesitate to be our true selves before God, in fear of becoming vulnerable. Seeing the passion and genuineness with which Ecuadorians worship has inspired me to care less about what others think and truly express myself in worship.
Another normal practice in the Methodist church here is "especiales", spontaneous specials performed by the church members. Now these performances are not planned or written in the bulletin. At the end of each service, the pastor asks if anyone has a special or something that they would like to share. Without fail, every time there are at least two people who feel led by the spirit to share a Psalm or a song from the heart praising God. There is no shame or fear of singing out in front of everyone. Wow. This is something that would never happen in any church I've been to in the states. The wonderful part is that no one minds if the person has a good voice or not. What is important is that they are glorifying God. All praise, in whatever form, gives God joy. As Paul says in Romans 12:1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." There is no shame in worshiping in whatever way we can: through song, dance, prayer, acts of service, or sharing a message.
Next time we feel that urge to express ourselves in worship, let's get down on our knees and look only to God. Because His is the deepest and most significant relationship we could ever have.