Sunday, July 7, 2013

Communion and Coke

The other day, I saw  a meme on Facebook that said, “ We are not African because we are born in Africa. We are African because Africa was born in us.” Next time I’m in the states, I’m gonna get someone to frame that to hang in my house. I feel that, I feel that to my very core.

Africa is the home of my heart.

As many of you know, I’ve had the opportunity to live and work many places. For the tender - young, young (!) age of 33, I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of experiences. I’ve lived a lot of places that I have just loved. But, I had this feeling that I couldn’t explain -  this feeling that this place and this experience were temporary. As much as I loved New York - and as much as I loved and needed Florida to be a part of my life - I knew it wasn’t forever. 

Now, I would be supposing a lot to tell you that I know I will be in Mozambique forever. I’ve learned in my walk with God that He does a lot of things that I can’t begin to think of or imagine. He has a way of surprising even this nomad.

However, this time, I don’t feel that unsettled feeling. I don’t feel so temporary. I feel like this is what I was made for. I’m sure that I still see the culture with “rose colored glasses” to some extent. But, I see it for what it is, too. There are many things about this culture that I have to adjust myself to There are plenty of things that in my American culture are just plain weird. I HATE that people come visiting all the time. There’s no warning - ever. People just drop  by and chat while you cook and clean - or whatever. They stay for a a long time, and it’s always polite to offer them a meal, or tea, or whatever you happen to have on hand. Any time of day or night - people just drop by.

That is one major thing that I am having to adjust myself too. There are plenty of other things, too. It’s not bad, it’s just so, SO, different from my culture. There are countless things like that. I just have to count to ten, smile, and remind myself that this is a part of the culture I have chosen to live in.

But, on the flip side, I love these people. I love their gentle smiles and quick laughter. I love how passionate they are. Their lives are so hard, yet their is this joy that wells up from deep within them. I love that.

Recently, I have been attending an Assemblies of God church that is really close to my house. I have really enjoyed meeting people from the community and being a part of a regular fellowship. It is so good to fellowship with other believers and it is so helpful to get myself rooted in this community. It makes Lichinga feel even more like home.

Today is the first Sunday of the month, so the three Assemblies of God churches in Lichinga got together for communion. It was a really sweet time, and I so enjoyed the experience of having communion with them. 
When communion was served, it was these little pieces of broken bread - not the little wafers that we are accustomed to being served in our churches. The pastor spoke for a few minutes about why we take communion and then we each received our little piece of torn bread.

As I took that bread, and I thought about taking this in memory of Jesus, I remembered what Paul said about being the “chief of sinners.” Now, it’s easy to point the finger and say that he was. I mean, he was a murderer, after all. But, as I took that, I realized that I was the chief of sinners. I know how fall short I fall on a daily basis. I know how many times I choose myself over God - over the good of His people. I know how deep my selfishness runs. Paul didn’t say that because he had persecuted sinners. Paul said that because he knew how incredibly short he fell from reaching God’s standard.

If my selfishness had been the only sin, it still would have cost the Son of God his life. That’s enough for me to fall on my knees and thank God for his mercifulness and grace towards me.

And then it was time to take the cup. The juice was in these little shot glasses - which I thought was pretty funny to begin with. Then, when the pastor told us to receive the cup, it was coke! That is the very first time I have ever had coke represent the blood of Jesus. :0)

It was a fun, moving experience. And as we say, when there are no other words, TIA (This is Africa)!

What a blessed, joyful, fun, meaningful day.

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