Hands raised. People running down the aisles. Choreographed dancing in the front of the Sanctuary… No, I’m not describing the most recent Family Camp or Student Ministries event. I’m describing last weekend’s morning services and Worship Night at Summit Waterford!
Last weekend, we had the privilege of hosting a band from Nairobi Chapel while they led us in worship much in the same way they lead their home church in worship in Nairobi, Kenya. It really was a tremendous sight to see brothers and sisters from different cultures and opposite sides of the world gathered in one place, worshiping the exact same God.
At Summit, we talk about being able to worship on someone else’s terms and this was a perfect example of that. Because the fact is, while Christians all around the world do worship the same God, He has also given us, through the lens of culture, different ways to show that adoration for Him in the form of corporate worship. Some cultures and church traditions tend to be more physically expressive (like our Nairobi friends) while others are a bit more reserved.
Now, I don’t think it would be fruitful to argue that either style is “more correct” than the other, but I would argue that by crossing the threshold of your comfort zone—even just a bit—to experience another culture’s means of worshiping God, it can bring you into a more full appreciation of just how big He really is.
Just as He is infinite and has an endless capacity for revealing Himself in and through this world and beyond, there are numerous ways in which we can experience Him and worship Him from within His creation.
The senior pastor of Nairobi Chapel, Oscar Muriu, has offered this illustration. Imagine the world’s largest diamond in the middle of a room. In looking at it, as the light shines through, you see a brilliant red. On the other side of the room is your African brother who disagrees and says this stone is, in fact, a bright green. Still, in the middle, stands your Asian brother who claims it’s actually a dazzling blue.
The properties of a diamond are relatively complex. By its very nature, it breaks down beams of light into their individual colors. We therefore have three options in a scenario like this. One, we could stand where we are and argue about the true nature of this stone. Two, we could act on trust that our brothers are telling the truth and that there must be something very wonderful about this stone. Or three, we could move toward the perspective of our African and Asian brothers (and vice versa) and truly see the diamond from each other’s perspective.
In a similar manner, God is a lot like that diamond and He has blessed the world with different global cultures, each offering a unique glimpse into His infinite depth and love for every one of us.
Next time Nairobi Chapel is in town, I hope you will be able to join us in worshiping the very big God we all serve.
…And consider bringing your dancing shoes.
Nathan Boyett is the Global Partnerships Coordinator at Summit Church. He loves being a part of people taking their next right step into what God is up to in the world. If you want to get in touch with Nathan to ask him to share more diamond knowledge or about being a part of one of our teams to Africa, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.