Sunday, May 08, 2011

Kingdom Worship

It was a Sunday unlike any before. One young woman was being confirmed. The Conference Superintendent was scheduled to preach six months earlier. Visiting pastors from Cairo, Egypt were available to give a witness. A local musical celebrity wrote original music she wanted to sing. How would this all come together?

We made a decision as a church to return to a single, longer service to allow for more creativity and story-telling. So we shortened the confirmation service just a little bit in the litany portion, but had the confirmand read her paper on "Who Is God?" It was one of those excellent and deep papers that shows a young person stepping into mature faith.

The songs composed for today were on two themes: Upside-down Kingdom and Heaven is for You and For Me.

The interview with the Egyptian pastor (on the left of the picture) was deeply moving about how the church situated on Tahir Square has opened doors of witness and service to Egyptians who never thought Christians cared about the country. It was a moment when you realized this guy (and his brother on my left) stepped out of the chaos of Egypt for a moment to thank us for prayer and are heading right back into the battle for their country and for faith.

Then Efrem unwound on us with a sermon on living as Kingdom People: with a Kingdom Awareness and Urgency, strategically spending/investing our Kingdom Talents for multiplication and then living out lives of Kingdom Performance, demonstrating how it's done. The congregation laughed, shouted out "Amen" and even broke into applause.

And then, at the end, the brother of the pastor who witnessed, gave us all a benediction in Arabic!

What will be the result? It all depends on how we as staff, leadership and laity take the next steps. We can focus on the faults or ask God for kingdom urgency. I hope for the latter.


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