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Sunday Night in Maputo

July 13th 2008 1 comment so far  

Attending worship services in other cultures always encourages my soul. Today we joined about sixty Mozambicans for worship in the church pastored by our partner here, Isaias Uaene. The room was packed with worshipers. We prayed and listened to Scripture. We sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “Trust and Obey” in Portuguese, the latter accompanied only by a hand drum. Then we sang two Michael W. Smith choruses, also translated into Portuguese, the national language of Mozambique since the colonial era. We sang an original chorus in Shangana, the dominant tribal language of the Maputo. What interested me most were the changes in mood and personal engagement as we sang the different songs. The choruses definitely generated more energy and volume from the worshipers than the hymns. But there is no doubt that, when they sang in Shangana, they sang with a joy and expressiveness that just wasn’t there singing in Portuguese. When one worships from the heart, it cannot be hidden.
I’ve often felt that different musical styles in the US are almost like different languages. Everyone sings more heartily and worships more freely when they do so in the language of their heart. Some sing more expressively when they worship in the language of hymns done in a traditional style. Others find their hearts soaring when they sing contemporary hymns and songs. The beauty of today’s service was the willingness of the entire congregation to engage all three styles of music with earnestness, even though only one of the styles (languages) was expressed in their heart-language. That shows real commitment to the body of Christ, a willingness on each person’s part to encourage others through worship even when it’s not one’s heart-language.



    Jim and Laurie Thames July 15th at 1:52 pm  

    Mark- it has been good to read all the blogs this afternoon- hope your travel back is safe- prayers with you- L and J

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