Sunday, July 14, 2013
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” ― C.S. Lewis
A small (or rather large) miracle occurred today. I preached at the new Methodist Church in Bunda which is meeting in a school--that wasn't the miracle. It was just the third service since the church began three weeks ago. There were five people at the first service, eight at the second, and about twenty today (they didn't know I was even coming, so that wasn't a factor), but that's not the miracle. Our car wasn't running and I had to take a taxi to even find the church and asked directions twice. Again, that wasn't in the miracle category. When the pastor asked me what scripture I was going to use, I had to tell him I hadn't even thought ahead that far since I hadn't really planned on going in the first place. He came up with a verse or two, but I didn't know the Swahili so I didn't know what he had read. So, not knowing what the scripture had been or what I was going to preach, I stood up and waited for my translator to stand beside me. This is where the miracle occurred--I preached for forty minutes (not unusual for me) but it was all in Swahili. My translator never said a word, just stood there. The Holy Spirit took over and I just got out of the way. This has happened a few times before but never in Swahili and I am always physically drained when it is over, but the people loved it, laughed, cried, shouted, and corrected me the couple of times I got the verb tense wrong. It was just right. It was what they needed to hear, what I needed to preach, and what the new church needed to get it started right. Afterward, my translator asked if I had been practicing for a week or two and I replied that I just got out of God's way and let Him do the talking. The congregation was small but that's never an issue with me. I seem to remember that Jesus just started with twelve and one of them was bad. Today was a blessing for me. I hope it was a blessing for the church, but it was certainly something I needed--especially the confidence to use my adopted language. I pray some seeds were sown and I did no harm, but it sure felt good. I think it was a thank you note from God as I have been feeling a bit down lately. I did stumble a bit through the closing prayer, but they were very forgiving as always.