Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mexico: Part 3 (Worship)


When we arrived in Mexico I knew we'd have plenty of opportunity to worship with those whom we'd be joining in mission. The first night, after getting off the plane and having a quick meal at... of all places... burger king (a place I haven't eaten in probably 10 years), we showed up at the Atizapan church where a special concert and worship time had been planned. I was invited to share a few words, I talked about the basics of being missional in our communities. From their we experienced a heavy metal/Goth/(what I would have called "death metal" when I was in hight school) band. They were Christians and had a pretty cool message about being out in the community where Christians would normally not find themselves. The worship continued then for a few hours.

I was tired, I knew we'd have to be back at the church the next morning for worship again. I preached that morning on Revelation 7 and we worshiped for about 3 hours. I started to get the sense that our new friends in Mexico loved to worship. I will not go into unnecessary detail, but we ended up worshiping God for 2 - 3 hours every day of the week except Monday and Friday when we traveled the entire day. I have to admit, it was hard for me. I loved their worship, I loved participating in it. I loved feeling the presence of God at work, transforming people through the act of worship. I was especially proud of our team, they, like me, had come from very different worship settings. The Open Door and Memorial Park are very different in the ways we worship, but both are very different from the way our Mexican brothers and sisters worship. My dad (our team leader and coordinator) had prepared us well for the differences. Wednesday night was the most powerful worship time while we were in the small rural town of Jalpa. After doing door to door evangelism during the day we had an all out revival. It was intense. The worship was charismatic. Our entire team was able to set aside our pride and worship with our brothers and sisters. As I said, it was hard for me, but now looking back it was an amazing experience. I have trouble letting go. I even have trouble, and felt guilty for thinking it, believing that some times we can let our emotions go too far. What I came away with was a belief that these people truly experience God in worship (not that we do not). They seek a way of worshiping that allows the Holy Spirit to speak to them, to effect them physically, and to effect them emotionally. It is also about giving up your entire being for Jesus, with no care for what other people think. Sometimes in mainline protestantism we only want to use our brains in worship, to think about a sermon and then make some doctrinal declarations about what we believe. Some of our songs are not much more than doctrinal declarations. Of course the Open Door is not completely coming from this setting, but to a degree we are. The worship in Mexico was no-holds-barred, give it all to God for the sake of his glory, worship.

I'm still mulling over what it is we'll bring back to MPC and the OD that will be transformative in regards to worship. What do you think? All I know is that Sunday night, when Quinn and I led music and talked about our trip, something was different. I don't think it's really up to us to make changes, we don't need to. God is already transforming us and spurring us on toward deeper love of him.

Thanks Arturo and everybody else for accepting us as we were.

Tomorrow I'll write about our part in leading worship.

3 comments:

Arturo said...

Hi John,

I am at my brothers in Wisconsin, reading your coments on the trip. We too (the mexicans that went to Ahuatitla) experienced a change in our worship on sunday at the church, even the teaching was different. The Ahuatitla people experienced changes too. There was something powerful from God going on. I was surprised to hear you saying this. I would like to coment more about it with you.

Thank you for loving us. You are great!

Arturo

Andrea Abercrombie said...

I would like to connect with you somehow. I went on a missions trip to the atizapan church 5 years ago and helped to build the church. I would love to talk to you about this special place.

Andrea from British Columbia

John said...

Andrea, I'd love to talk, e-mail me at john@pghopendoor.org