So we attended our first Ugandan church service at Kasana Community Church here at New Hope. Church was a total of 2 ½ hours. We worshipped in song for an hour and a half! And I have noticed something incredible about the worship in this place: they can’t contain themselves! Especially the group of men leading at another city site which is specifically for the rehabilitation of child soldiers. They get so excited about worshipping Jesus that they just leap and dance and shout.
I have to be honest, back in American churches I would probably have been offended by such behavior. But that is because I have much pride still for the Lord to rid me of and American worship culture is not that. As NHU Ministries US president said “In America we stand still and if the Spirit really works we might put a hand up”. To see someone leaping as high as they could in the air shouting would seem nearly obscene to us in a US church, right?
Now I am not saying, NOT saying, that there is a right way to worship. The ONLY definitive I will make about a right or wrong way to worship is that “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). So that is what I will say about that.
But I will say that there is faith produced by trials and tribulations, and many of these people have known TRIALS and pains. And yet instead of bitterness, I see in these believers an almost uncontainable love for God. He saved some of them out of pits of despair so low I would have probably not survived had I been them. He pulled them through and was their guide. So now all they can do is proclaim what He has done and shout, sing, clap, dance for joy. I wondered to myself, ‘if I had known trials like many of those dancing men and clappping women, would I also find God so indescribable, so incredible, so beautiful that I wouldn’t be able to contain myself either?’ Now, I worshipped God wholeheartedly in the US (sometimes). But the more time I spend here, the more I am convinced that having easy, trial free lives is both a blessing and a curse. I can only truly know how far God can reach into the depths by being in them. David had an incredibly hard life, and He knew God so intimately because He was all David had many times.
Now don’t misunderstand me, I am not about to pray for hard times (I don’t have that much faith yet haha). I am merely encouraging us to look deeply at our personal worship. How often do I stand in church with eyes closed merely making sounds while my mind is elsewhere? Too often. I am challenging myself (and all of you too) to take a minute every time we go to worship and think hard about where and what God saved us from. Even if your life has not been incredibly difficult (as is my case), there is still the awe-inspiring fact that Jesus kicked down the gates of hell to claim us as His own. If that doesn’t inspire a little jumping and dancing in me, I don’t know what will.
Psalm 30:1-4, “I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God I cried out to You and You healed me. O Lord you brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name!”
To see some worship from here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPPTKQSxknM