Roland’s story about Church of Another Kind — Worship from Afar Yet Close
I walk by the plaque, which I carved over 40 years ago, nearly everyday. It reminds me of the cry to worship that comes from a believer’s heart that has been touched by God. It has an expanded meaning in the infectious pandemic environment we are in, where many believers worldwide are separated from the types of group worship they are accustomed to.
Today my wife and I joined our loved ones in the Philippines for their day of prayer for the Philippines. It had been live online but we joined a couple hours later. We worshipped non-stop for 50 minutes as we watched the video before prayer even started. We prayed for their nation and ours. Less than a week later we joined them “live” for two and a half hours for prayer and worship. They and we prayed for both the Philippines and the US. The video camera crew occasionally panned over the scene in both events. We saw the staff, the many orphan children, and the families we love. The sun was setting in Laguna, PI for these evening services but ours was rising in the WV mountains since we are on opposite sides of the globe. (We are twelve time zones apart.
In both events when they prayed, many wept, some were on their faces, and others lifted hands. We recognized the faces, the voices, and the Spirit of God Who was present. It moved us. We joined them in spirit and with comments. We were huddled in our little West Virginia cabin while they were on an outdoor basketball court at the compound for the Institute of Foundational Learning in Laguna, Philippines. They stood meters apart from each other because the Philippines have the same rules as the US in regard to safe distancing in an infectious environment. That basketball court is just outside our Philippine quarters when we are with them. It still awaits our presence, and we long to return.
We had already been a part of the US and the West Virginia days of prayer for our nation and state, respectively. The events online with our Philippine loved ones were special because they prayed for their nation as well as ours. We often get text messages that ask if we are alright. We do the same.
These are exceptional times for a church of another kind. We may worship far from each other, but we are not far from each other in heart or from our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a good day to give thanks.
… in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18