Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spanish Church

I visited my friend's Spanish church this week. I had a wonderful time and may even go back sometime.

The first thing I noticed was that everyone was dressed up. American churches tend to be more casual. In my church it's a mix, but it's kind of neat how many of us show up in Patriot jerseys on game-day. The second thing I noticed was the number of young men. Not just present but participating. In all my years and in all the dozens of churches I've ever attended in my life I've never seen that before. Clearly they are doing something right.

It was completely in Spanish but the Pastor's (adult) daughter translated the sermon on the mic. It made me think of xenophobic Americans who complain about the occasional Spanish translations. They gladly extended grace to me and my non-Spanish speaking. And not just a little sign or a "press two for English" either. An all out translation- interrupting the sermon every. single. sentence.I felt a little bad for her because it seemed like a lot of pressure to come up with a translation on the spot like that in front of all these people, many of whom spoke both languages. Especially because there were a lot of names that she has probably never had to say in English ever before in her life: Elijah, Elisha, Manasseh, Reuben, Ishmael, Ephraim and Esau. And yes, every one of those was mentioned.

One of the worship songs was salsa style which was fun cuz I kind of felt like I was in a club. But I was in the house of the Lord. Which is kind of what the house of the Lord should feel like sometimes. I appreciated when the song lyrics were projected because I could at least sing along even if I didn't know exactly what they meant. There was one that had a word like, "Guerrilla" in every line and I was so curious what that meant but when I look up that spelling on Google-translate I get nothing.

The pastor was so excited about the word. He showed us the scrap of paper he had written the sermon on and instructed us to be sure to write down what God tells us so we don't forget. The message was so long, he said, it had to be broken into two parts. Next week is on Elijah and Elisha. This week he talked about the special inheritance that the firstborn gets. How the firstborn male gets 2/3rds of his father's money and land. He told the story of how Esau sold his rights to his younger brother Jacob. He told how Reuben blew his chance at his inheritance by sleeping with his step mother. And how God led Jacob to reverse the inheritance between Joseph's sons Manasseh and Ephraim. My son's middle name is Manasseh (named after Joseph's son in the Bible). I was inspired to go home and tell him the story of Joseph. So I did. When I said that Joseph had a son he named Manasseh, which means "God has made me forget my troubles" he was like, "That's my name!"

The pastor talked about how the first in the family to come to the Lord is like the first born and they have a responsibility to lead the rest of the family in spiritual matters. And he said that we should not throw away God's blessing by walking outside of His will. When he got to the tale of the Prodigal Son he said that this was the big revelation he had, or the thing that the Lord revealed to him. And he said that it was that the older brother was "protecting his 2/3rds share" and that contributed to him being so upset about the brother being back.  I thought that was a strange revelation and even stranger the excitement it caused the pastor. But maybe I'm misunderstanding.  There's probably more next week.  Nevertheless it was a good word.

Everyone in the church was just so zealous for the Lord. It was so refreshing. A woman who sang a solo cried during the song and the translator (inexplicably) cried during the sermon. They were just very touched by God. My friend's one year old daughter raised her hand and said hallelujah. (Speaking of which, they pronounce the "j" in that word, whereas English speakers don't. Strangely that is the opposite of how the "j" is pronounced in any other word in those languages). At the end there was an alter call for people who wanted to give their life to the Lord, something I haven't seen in years, since I left the Assembly of God church I once went to. It made me remember why I liked that church so much. There was prayer at the alter (which means the front of the sanctuary). More crying there of course. And then I saw something I've never ever seen before. A little girl - maybe four years old slain in the spirit. It wasn't anything dramatic. She was just laying there. They even put a blanket on her after a little while. Then she got up and ran back to her parents. Skeptics might say she was just copying what she's seen in the past. I'd like to believe it was the Holy Spirit. Either way, it showed just how very Christ centered this church was. It was so refreshing.

At the end everyone invited me to the Tuesday night bible study. Three hours of church is plenty for me for one week. lol. But I can't get the service out of the head. I do want to go back sometime.  



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