We in the Western world through tradition can be so indifferent to prayer, worship, and fasting for our communities and Nations.
For those of us who are regular churchgoers, we quickly pick up the church process, the method of worship, the style of message delivery, the seating protocols, how we are greeted, connecting with friends and acquaintances. As we adjust, that becomes our normal routine and what we identify as “church,” unless we go on a mission trip or travel abroad. That is our vision of the “church” but it is not the only lens He uses and is not His vision of His global church. Let me share a bit of His broader church.
My wife, Sandra, and I were in Seoul, South Korea, three years ago arriving quite late on a Saturday evening from Japan and on our way to our hotel from the airport. We were totally amazed at the number of huge crosses predominately either white or red on top of buildings, both commercial and residential throughout our drive to the Hotel. It was both uplifting and encouraging.
The next morning, we attended the Yoido Full Gospel Church that hosts 12,000 per service and they have several services on Sunday, but through their cell groups have 800,000 members. This church originally started in 1958 with six people meeting in a living room. You would think you would be lost but they have a visitor’s section with full language interpretation but most importantly they go out of their way to treat all visitors as a VIP.
After the service we decided to take a bus from the Church to Prayer Mountain, which is about an hour drive from the Church. While we were sitting down in the bus the seating very quickly filled up, but the people kept coming in and to our surprise sat on the floor throughout the aisle. They had a hunger for prayer and worship and the inconvenience was nothing as they were starting a 40 day fast and prayer. Can you imagine doing that in our Western world with all the regulations we have? Their desire for prayer and worship was their motivation. Inconvenience as well as the discomfort was incidental.
You would think that worshipping at a major Mega Church like the one in Seoul would be incredible and it was. So was attending Charles Spurgeon’s in London, Dwight Moody’s in Chicago, along with so many others especially in the Caribbean. But one of the greatest times was when we along with a handful of others from Canada were in Iqualuit, Nunavat, at the invitation of Pastor James Arreak. We were there to conduct a program on starting and managing a business committed to the Lord in the marketplace. The meetings took a healing turn between the Inuit and those of us who did not come from an Inuit background. We felt led of the Lord for our group of presenters to wash the feet of the Inuit ladies before the evening session on one of the evenings and to also have someone praying over them at the same time. Something in the Spirit of the historical white man’s abuse of the Inuit women broke and the Holy Spirit ministered healing and reconciliation.
Our group of presenters were invited on the Sunday morning to their house church hosted by a wonderful Inuit lady who had forbidden English to be spoken in her home under any conditions for years. The Lord had ministered supernatural healing to her during our meetings and she then opened her home and heart to us for the church service in English and Inuit. We truly were of one accord worshipping in unity and love for one another, adoring our LORD.
Two different examples of the extreme of His church and yet we also have our place with our “church.” May we always be prayerfully aware of the differences of Him building His church as we walk in unity, love and the ways of the Lord.
John Grady lives and writes in Fort St. John.