There were less than 25 adults, plus a few kids. We met in the upstairs room of a building that looked a lot like a house from the outside. The rectangular room was smaller than my living room and had been converted into a sanctuary. Chairs were set up 7 to a row, parting in the middle to create an aisle and all facing the small platform where there was a podium and a keyboard. A simple wooden cross faced the crowd, and it had a simple shaw draped along its beam.
The service began with a welcome and then, with words projecting on the wall behind the platform, we sang and worshiped together.
Except it was ALL in Romanian. Oh, I forgot...some of the songs were in Russian. But there was a good reminder in it that God wanted me to see and experience.
I sat in the back, singing in English if I recognized the tune and just humming when I didn't. Mostly I watched 25 individuals worship as one single church. Though I couldn't understand the words, I could join my heart with theirs and worship the same God at the same time. We aren't citizens of the same country, but we are followers of he same God, and His Name is Jesus Christ.
Fii Glorificat"Glorify your Name, Glorify your Name, Glorify Your Name in all the earth!"
In veci de veci
All the earth.
Not all of just Powhatan, Cumberland or Midlothian.
Not all of only Buckingham or Fluvanna.
Not all of Virginia. Not all of America.
But all the earth.
So, I was reminded again today that we at PCC are connected with churches all over the world by our common active and passionate faith in Jesus Christ. This is one of the most important purposes for international missions. People like me (and most of you) live the bulk of our lives in a bubble. Without being conscious of it, we live out our faith in Jesus as if we're the only ones on the planet.
But we're not.
We're connected. We're a part of something larger and greater than ourselves - the Body of Christ that surrounds the globe. And that body has richness we cannot imagine or conjure until we go and experience it ourselves, first hand.
So, we receive a great blessing when we visit churches in another culture and country. But we also GIVE these churches a great blessing. We're telling them "You are not alone! We care! We love you! We are brothers and sisters - Family together!"
We're better when we serve Jesus together than we are when we serve Him in isolation, as if we're the only churches in the world, or the only country with churches in the world. I believe this reminder is one of the things God wanted me to see, and one of the reasons He told me to come on this trip.
As a footnote, I was had the privilege of preaching at the largest Baptist church in the country this evening. It was a big deal, and I was honored to be invited. The truth is that my words will quickly be forgotten, but the Word of the Lord - which transcends language and race and nation - will endure forever. And the Word of the Lord is lived out most notably in His church throughout the entire world!
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:9-11)