How I miss attending a worship service in my native tongue. How I miss gather with the saints to worship.
But yet, I worship at least a once a week with my fellow believers here in my home away from home. I worship in a language that I am quite fluent in. But the style and the second language seem to hinder me from just opening my heart to the Lord.
I have musical ability. I play guitar and piano and try to worship the Lord often while I play these instruments in worship. It is a wonderful time but it isn’t the same.
Sometimes I gather with other missionaries for a Bible Study and worship. Then I try to lead them with the guitar. It is hard to lead a group of 2-3 or even 6. And when you lead, it is often hard to worship yourself. If I slip into a harmony, I throw the entire group off on the melody.
When I am on furlough, I often am travelling and “working” on Sunday. I gather for a worship service with saints but the service is “special” because of the visiting missionaries. Week after week we sing the same songs about missions over and over. It is hard to know the worship culture of the church you are visiting. Will they judge you for raising your hands? Will you be able to clap your hands like we do in Africa? Will they be using a hymnbook and organ or powerpoint and full band? Will I be able to hear the congregation singing above the sound of the instruments or will I be stared at for singing in a harmony that has the flavor of my host country?
When I am in my home church it is often a holiday and then there are special Christmas or Easter songs. Sometimes it is just a normal service but half the songs are new songs that I haven’t heard before (Because where I live, I thrive on songs that I have on m Ipod and cannot download new songs or listen to Christian radio.)
Only after several weeks in the same church, can I finally worship. The first Sunday home is always a thrill because my heart is hearing music in my native tongue. I am filled with tears and often cannot finish a song that I haven’t heard in years. As time passes I know more and more of the songs each week.
By the time my home assignment is over, I find myself singing along and trying to figure out how to translate these songs into my second language! I find myself missing the drums, dancing, and harmonies of my second home. When I finally return to the field, I love to worship in the style I’ve become used to.
And yet in just a little while, I find that I struggle to worship.
Lord help me to worship in whatever culture I am in. Hear my heart of worship to you in whatever language or situation I am in.