I am SO sorry for being away for so long. The semester got more time-intensive as time passed, hence my absence. I do have a couple of things that have been on my mind and I am so eager to share them with you though so here goes!
Sometime mid-October, I was in California visiting with family friends. Something caught my attention during my time there and I was gonna write on it but I never got to it till now. I spent a Sunday there and went to church with these friends of mine. The church they attended was a predominantly African church. During the praise and worship session, I was reminded of my church back in Nigeria – people danced expressively and sang at the top of their voices without a care in the world. At the same time, I thought of my church back at school. It was a predominantly White church and worship was more solemn – certainly less expressive than at my location at the time.
I could not but sense the stark contrast in the two ways of worshiping and praising, especially with the difference in expressiveness. What struck me though was the fact that I could feel God’s presence just as strongly as I felt Him in my church back at school. During the praise session, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me about how it didn’t matter how we worship in the physical, our hearts are the important thing.
People often spend time criticizing how others worship God. I have heard Africans complain about their dislike for the formality during worship in predominantly White churches. On the other hand, I have heard Whites complain about how overly expressive Africans are in their worship. Standing there that day in that African church, this scripture came to mind:
John 4:24, “God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
And I thought to myself, who are we to question or criticize how different people groups worship God? The important thing is whether or not we worship in Spirit and in truth.
Personally, whether I am in my very expressive church back at home or in my less expressive church back in school, it doesn’t matter to me. Why? Because I can always trust God to show up as long as I am worshiping from my heart, in Spirit and in truth. Worshiping in Spirit and in truth is really what we should strive for as believers. The Kingdom of God here on earth is bound to expand if we spend a lot less time criticizing and judging each other and more time seeking God honestly.
With love from Smithia.