We got invited to go to church this morning by a Korean friend Colby met here last year on a trip for work! We were super excited, as it is always such a joy to experience worship as part of the International Body of Christ and experience different styles of worship through cultural lenses. We didn’t know what to expect, except that the service would last about two hours…we were hoping for some English!! Thankfully, they had headsets with an English translator for the sermon. Lemme tell ya something, was it ever an interesting mix of East meets West! Haha! The beginning worship was so beautiful. We were all singing together and, even though the songs were in Korean, they had the English translations so we were able to sing with everyone. That is always the most beautiful experience…to all be singing as one Body, one Church, to our one Holy God, but in multiple languages. It’s so amazing that He hears us all. I almost had tears in my eyes that just about the only words we had in common with many of these sweet people in this service were Hallelujah and Amen. And how fitting! The international utterance of Amen is such a sweet picture of a time coming when the Family of God will all gather together! Then the pastor (a woman) sang Amazing Grace, first in English then in Korean, accompanied by a violinist and flutist, and it was so beautiful. Her voice was smooth and calm…like a jazz singer almost. I wished we’d gotten it on film! To be honest, we struggled through the sermon. Between patchy translation (we got maybe 1/3 of what was actually said) and a bit of theological differences, it was hard to stay focused, but still such a blessing to see the passion with which the message was delivered. You don’t have to speak the language to see a passion for God! Then, the absolute strangest thing EV.ER. happened and it was all we could do to keep our giggles in. She mentioned a song from 1997 where the singer was singing about a friend he looked forward to seeing again one day. Colby and I could feel it coming…P. Diddy was about to enter the scene up in this church.
Yup, you heard right. This extremely conservative lady pastor started playing a video from the 1997 MTV Video Music awards- with the back up choir and all- and a hip hop dance crew came up on the stage to perform a dance along with it. I mean, seriously stifled giggles. Seriously. AND THEN, she encouraged the whole congregation (of about 1,000 people!) to stand, sing and dance along with the video and dance crew! I can’t even. It was the biggest mix of awesome that it almost made us explode.
Pleeeeeeeease, check out this link for a little snippet of the awesomeness.
We were then invited by our friend to join them for the “New Come-ers” lunch. It was a really lovely meal of Spicy Pork Bibimbap and Seaweed Soup (ew.). Everyone was so welcoming and hospitable! One of the pastors also had a five year old son named Judah! And the English name he’d picked for himself was Elliot, named after missionary martyr Jim Elliot…the same as our Titus Elliot! And the pastor had done her undergrad in Texas, and then went on to graduate from Golden Gate where Colby attended! She was so pleased to hear this and said Colby must preach for them when we returned! I suppose we shall see about that, but it was so sweet and an amazing connection from so far away!
Today was a great day being reminded of what a blessing it is to be a part of the Body of Christ. I shared with our friend, DJ, that it is amazing to know that wherever you travel in the world, you are never without family if you are a part of the Family of God.