Sunday, March 11, 2007

Weird Numbers

Daylight Savings Time and Westmont College's Spring break converged today to create one of the smallest first services ever. The second service was comfortably filled. We were welcomed back so warmly and genuinely. Friends from Salem (Eclov's) showed up unexpectedly and took us out to lunch. Here too it was so good to remember loving friends and good times together. But I had to hurry back to church for a Inqurer's Class at 3:00 pm. By 3:30 pm, with a pot of coffee and tea and lemonade sitting untouched, I realized no one was coming. So I went home, got my ipod and headed out for a good mountain walk.
While walking I reflected on how seductive numbers can be. I can easily drop the number of Kenyan pastors who came to the two seminars. The numbers at worship in Cairo impressed me, even the fact that I was invited to offer the benediction impressed me. Then, sitting alone in a room waiting for nobody, also impressed me. I'm not all that important really. When the numbers are big and swirl around me, it's so easy to think that those numbers are due to me. But they can get very small real fast also and then I want to asign responsibilty to the heat, the date, or the time change..but not me. Why does my logic work so well just in one direction?
Then tonight I had responsibility for a service at the county jail. I got out there just in time and 20 inmates lined up to attend the English service with double the amount for the Spanish service. When I got into the very hot room and set up the boom box with a cd of worship music, these guys started to sing, I mean really sing; at the top of their lungs, eyes closed, hands raised, and badly, loudly and badly, but with heart. We sang together for 30 minutes. They kept choosing numbers and we'd sing them out. When it came time to teach, I used II Cor 2:14-16 on the fragrance of Christ. They sat in rapt attention, eagerly paying attention to the lesson and application. Then they asked for prayer: prayer for their children and wives at home without them, prayer for marriages crumbling while they are in jail, prayer for patience in their anxious waiting, prayer for their fellow inmates who are hostile to faith, and prayer for our soldiers serving all over the world. Then they wanted to sing until the guards came "Lord prepare me to be a sanctary!"
That was an evening NOT about me!!


At 2:56 AM , Anonymous Andres said...


Thanks for your post. And how true we think in one direction about numbers but not the other. Thanks for your balanced, humble post that really features the important aspect--it is not about us but the gospel we bring. Sounds like your trip to Kenya was truly wonderful. I met someone from Kenya here in Barcelona on Saturday night. I'd also be interested in speaking with you about your experience in Cairo. Drop me a note when you catch your breath. Blessings, Andy Larsen


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