Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Christ Church

I am blown away by how God can surprise us in unexpected ways and how strongly we can enter into His presence when the Church gathers according to The Word. Sunday night will probably be the most unforgetable night of my life. There are some moments in time that are burned into your mind, moments that you never will forget. That night was definitely one of them.

The Anglican Mission in the America's movement started from the church in Rwanda and is helping to fight the spiritual genocide that is slowly killing us like gangrene in America. They have a church plant in Winston Salem that I found out about through a friend. It was "random" how I learned about it considering all that was on my heart and mind involving things related to that.

I went to one of their meetings on Sunday night and was blown away. I had no idea what to expect and was curious to see what it would be like. Growing up in the Moravian Church for most of my life and now being a part of a church plant that is a lot different from that has sometimes left me longing for more biblical worship but not really knowing what that is. Often times I have participated in many types of services and have been left wondering if anything we sung or said or did in the service was really even close to what was true and pleasing to God. Sometimes I got a lot of "spirit" out of worship but no truth and other times I got truth but no Spirit. It was so different being in a place where there was such a strong presence of both.

The service was very ordered and structured in a traditional manner and the pastors even wore white vestments during the service. There was the reading of the Word, liturgy, prayer, the preaching of the Word and Communion. Some of the prayers were even read and not spontaneous. I am a person that will easily turn my nose up at written prayers for worship but there was such a strong presence of God in all of the things in the service that I was blown away that I could feel touched by God by something I used to think of as dead. Tradition does not at all mean being dead to me. One of the most awesome things it that there was no real emotionalism that made things seem better or more real than it actually was. It was very ordinary in all senses of the word on a human level. No flashing lights, no lulling music to produce any type of feeling, just the ordinary means of worship with people who obviously knew God in a deep way. People would be singing along with the songs with hands raised and hearts so in awe of God.

Even though there was definitely a strong structure to the service, everyone had a role in the service. It did not feel like the people "leading" were the audience. It felt as though we were there to join in on the worship of heaven to God and to confess how much we need Him; an Audience of One, if you will. People from the congregation read the Scripture reading for the week, led some of the liturgy, led the time of open pray where certain topics were mentioned for us to pray about and we could pray as we felt led and confession to God.

During the time of open prayer there was a man who prayed the most godly prayer I have ever heard for political leaders. He prayed for all of the Presidential candidates by name and he did it in a way that showed a genuine desire for God to move. 1 Timothy 2:1-6 talks about this.

1"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time." (NIV)

I am so thankful that people are sticking to what they believe God is calling them to do and how they need to worship Him. Praise God for the Anglican Mission in America and for Christ Church in Winston Salem who is providing people with unique opportunities for ministry and worship in the community. It was the most profound experience I have ever had in worship and hope that every time we come together as a Body we can experience such a richness from God every time. Please continue to pray for this mighty group that has been embraced by God and is going out in the Spirit of Christ to reach those who need the Good News.

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