Sunday I had my first exposure to believers in India at Bethel Church. It reminded me of Filipino churches with its modest facilities and humble members. While the young people sat on the floor, (I think I can say this here – Indian style), us older folks sat on chairs in the back. I enjoyed how they worshipped in song and it caused me to reflect on how some of the “experts” in the U.S. would be frowning on it. Making the case for excellence, these “experts” teach that when worship God we have to have the best. Yet this humble church doesn’t have world-class musicians or the best and costliest instruments as some pastors insist is the correct way to worship in song. They simply had dear, godly people singing from the heart to the best of their ability with what they had. An accordion like squeeze box, an old acoustic guitar, some congas and a few tambourines were accompanied by enthusiastic clapping and their loudest instruments of all…their voices. The music simply accompanied the singing as they worshipped God.
They were receptive and appreciative of my preaching from 2 Cor. 5:15-17, which pastor Suresh Mathews passionately translated. I could tell that he had done this before as we developed a rhythm and moved through the text together. My favorite lessons that I have learned from traveling, teaching and meeting many people in various countries and cultures are that at our core, we are basically the same. We all were made to worship and relate with others, which is hindered by sin. And second, it is not just America and Americans that are God’s country and people, but the whole world is His and He has children in every nation that are His or will be His.