Last Sunday when I woke up and looked out the window. Where I might normally see an empty sandy lot with a makeshift soccer goal, there was a large pavilion being set up.
Now this isn’t all to unfamiliar, for all kinds of events people will rent large tents and pop them up in an available space near their house be it in the road or in an empty lot. Every time I see one of these tents go up, I also see (and more importantly hear) a large speaker system go in as well.
I began wondering what type of event it might be. My first clue came as I brushed my teeth.
Arabic chanting came clearly through our open windows, and I was struck with a sense of change in my life. It’s something I had certainly never encountered in my life back in the States, but it isn’t something I would consider abnormal in my life now either. It was a strange feeling of experiencing a new normal in a country short on hope.
Later when leaving for church we talked to our building’s guard who explained to us an annual conference was taking place for those who wanted to learn Arabic. That would aid them in reading their holy book and saying their prayers.
Later I experienced another feeling that perhaps you also experienced:
After the taxi ride to church we walked in and were warmly greeted by brothers and sisters in the faith. Soon thereafter we began to worship together. I sang praises to our great king in a language spoken by the majority here, a language that I am growing more comfortable in myself. As we sang “Hosanna,” a song about how Great our savior is, and how he is worthy to be glorified, I was struck with a sense of beautiful normality. (Below is the same song with English subtitles)
Here I am thousands of miles away from a land I grew up calling home, singing praises to our savior with the family of God. Our God revealed himself to the world and sent his son Jesus so that sinners the world over may be redeemed and become the family of God. When I have been able to worship with those from different culture and language backgrounds in the past I have said that I was getting a taste of eternity. In that moment though I wasn’t only thinking of what eternity will look like in the future, but what it looks like now.
Those whom God has saved, have received the life of Christ. It is His eternal life that makes us partakers of His love and grace now and forever. Hallelujah to our great King! He is the giver of hope. How mind blowing is it that being partakers of glory is a reality we can call normal?