It's a little past eleven at night and I just walked in the door from a wonderful pre-Easter experience. Our youth group's worship team (I'm one of the singers, even though I'm a bit past my teenage years - *grin*) was invited to sing at a Spanish-speaking Pentecostal church. Three of our band members attend this church (two of them are the pastor's kids).
I don't speak Spanish at all. Saying "Gracias" is a stretch. Occasionally some of the other team members took pity on me and offered translation help, but through most of the first part of the service, I sat totally mesmerized and totally no comprendo. Throughout the entire four-hour service there was so much energy in the room. People shouted, stomped their feet, clapped their hands. Children wandered around the auditorium, playing. Dozens of people came up to the front and sang songs. As people came up to share their testimonies, I watched their faces light up. They were so expressive -- and afterwards so friendly. So many came up to shake hands and give hugs. Even though their words were lost on me, I wasn't bored for even a moment.
I guess I'm used to being a minority from growing up in Hong Kong, but we got more than one comment from the church attendees: "Thank you for bridging the gap between the Hispanic and white churches." For me, it never felt weird being one of the only white people there. If I felt self-conscious about anything, it was the very real possibility that I was mispronouncing the Spanish words I was trying to sing up front into a microphone!
People thanking us for gap-bridging sort of shocked me, to be honest. I guess I hadn't realized how racially separated we tend to be when it comes to worship and church attendance. I know part of it in this case is a language barrier, but still. Sad, sad, sad!
Now I didn't grow up in a charismatic church, and the church I attend now is not charismatic either. But I hope we can have a little bit of their energy, a little bit of their excitement tomorrow for our Easter service. After all, Easter marks the resurrection, which is the most amazing thing to happen since the creation of the world. Christ conquered death! We have a lot to celebrate! I hope we can do it justice.
I'm so tired. The long service (and the wonderful Mexican food afterwards) totally drained me, but in a good way. I'm ready to sleep for awhile and wake up to a glorious morning.
God bless you all.