Monday, February 8, 2016

San Jose Sunday Morning

We start today's post with my first Sunday in San Jose.  The first day of my second real week there, but that last day of my first full travel week.  It was a day of joy and a day of contrasts.  And it was a day that led into a busy week ahead.  Ministerios de Gracia Mayor does not lack for activity.  And I'd get to experience plenty.

Day 7:

For most of us, Sunday is the beginning of the week. It is for me, too.  But, on my trip, it was the last day of my travel week.  And our spiritual day of rest is just as good a way to end a "week" as it is to start one. Sunday has one service, at 10am.  The picture to the left is one side of the chapel.  I took that a little into the worship part of service.

When we think of church services in the US, we think of most of the congregation in their seats before the first song.  Most of the pictures I took inside the church were that Sunday morning, with that mindset. And I learned.

The picture to the right was one of the first I took of the church Body.  Yup lots of empty seats, at that point. That wouldn't be true by the end of service.  By now, you know my favorite verse.

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The San Jose church epitomizes that.  If we're North American or maybe European, we've all talked to someone who either wandered in late or didn't show up at all for service.  Because they had a late night or some other form of reasoning unrelated to health or weather.  That's not the case in Costa Rica.  And we'll get into that later in the series, when we talk about life in San Jose.

For now, just consider that many of the congregation are dealing with taxis or, worse, sometimes two or more buses to get to church.  And schedules aren't exactly precise.  So, having much of the flock en route, but getting to church for all or most of the teaching is a pastor's joy.  This Body of Christ is hungry for the Word.  They're definitely seeking God's presence.

Like most church services, there's an order of events, which includes song service and announcements. That's Dominick and Tracey leading the Body in musical praise of our Lord.  The Pastor's wife does the announcements.

I'm told that every service includes a period for greeting each other.  It was there Wednesday night and, again, this Sunday morning.  My Pastor, back in Baltimore, does something similar, but with a doctrinal touch.  He'll start his message, sometimes with a verse and perhaps some comments, sometimes not. Then he'll have the congregation turn to each other to pray, discuss what's been said so far, or both.

The Latino version is pure one on one, emotional connection, much like the Latino personality.  It was real hugs, conversation to get to know each other better, real connection.

I had already made real connection with several of the team members, I've been friends for years with Pastor Mike & Sue and with Brent & Lucy, and by now I'd determined I really wanted to be here long term.  The response from the Body members just highlighted that reality.

I have to admit to not taking very good service notes while in San Jose.  I was as much testing my Spanish as filling my soul.  But I did discover something really nice.  I understand more Spanish than I can speak.  I found myself nodding often in agreement.  Yes, there was English translation. Pastor Mike's wife Sue, Dominick, and Sergio did nicely during my stay.  But I needed to find out how good or bad my Spanish was for understanding Truth.  

On the Wednesday University outreach, I had lapsed into my limited Spanish and done pretty well. But I had help finding some of the words I needed. Here, it was Sunday service.  And, if I was going to focus on the original preaching, there was going to be little attention paid to the translator.  And I discovered that 40+ years of not using the Spanish I had learned had still left me with a barely functional tool for communication.  Barely functional, but still functional.  And then came discovery number two.

During Pastor Mike's preaching, I realized I understood the whole sermon in Spanish.  Pastor Mike may have kept the wording simple to give me a chance to see if this would be true.  He never said. But the fact I still had usable Spanish reminded me of Albert Einstein's statement, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."  I took this as a minor miracle.  Einstein's statement was in a short note titled "Everything is a Miracle".  Realizing that my intent was to use my Spanish to bless others, his closing statement in that same document struck home.  "Only a life lived for others is worth living."

We're not done with our first Sunday in Costa Rica.  In the meantime,  what miracles has God sent your way?

1 comment:

  1. The Miracles God has performed and I have been privy to are seeing God work in people around me and also God working in my Life right in the open!Just answering Prayers and changing situations,just like that!! I don't even know how to address him other than with Praise I wonder if it's enough! People look @ me strange when I speak like this but I know some of us understand and me being Amazed & excited even..maybe that will pass too and I won't make such a big deal out of it as time goes on. It is different Praying for things and seeing God Bless you while youre in the process of closing that Prayer, Glory to God! Whatever the case,I have Favor and I'm really Blessed and Grateful for it. Enjoy your trip and continue to Do what the Lord anoited you to do there. Amen