The English worship here at Igreja Comunicade de Cristo is great! We sing some of the newer spiritual songs and then ask for requests. One of the requests from a new Christian was “Amazing Grace.” Josh briefly told the story behind it and then we sang it. How inspiring! That song spans languages and cultures. Love it.
Afterward, we go to the Portuguese service, where communion is served. Men serve the bread and the juice at the same time, one container in each hand. Then we hold it until we can all take it together. There is something wonderful about holding them while we wait for all to be served–more focused and uplifting, somehow.
Later, contributions are collected in a bamboo box that looks something like a treasure box. The fascinating part to me is that people turn the opening away from themselves so they won’t see what has already been put in. So when a Brazilian comes to the USA, do they think we are crass for just dropping all our money in there together for all to see?
The service lasts two hours. My interpreter is helpful, but I still get very drowsy. Steve is saved by having Knox in his lap with crayon and fun pages. Next Sunday I may recruit Knox or Finn to sit with me.
At the end, a minister gets up to announce a fasting week for the church. Each person takes a number and then has to find who else got the same number. You then pray for each other an hour a day (think about that!) and on Sunday morning we will all eat together to break our fast. We inquired about Saturday–are we not supposed to eat at all on Saturday? Oh, no, we were told. Your fast is after dinner until morning.
That’s a fast I can handle, I thought. But then I discovered that we are to fast from something we really like, not just food but also movies or computers or Facebook or video games. The minister does not look as though he would have any problem with any of those items, so I am curious about what his fast will involve but I do not ask. And will not.
Our team draws numbers among ourselves. I still do not know what I will give up. What are my choices? Food is about it. Or maybe blogging. Hmmm. I can do that.
At least I know the person I am praying for–Stephen. He is marvelous with readers, but I can still pray for him and them. I can start praying for his safe journey home in a week and for his comfort and peace until Kelsey and Finn return at the end of July. He is such an asset to our team–with such a servant heart–that we will truly miss him. Now who will take out the garbage, fix the DVD player, make coffee, and replace the large bottle of water in the dispenser? I’m sure someone will step up to the plate. We thought about giving up yard sales, blueberries, and Miata rides. But maybe that’s cheating.
We ate leftovers for lunch, s relaxing afternoon in our apartment, and went to a charrascaria for dinner. Here dinner prices are cheaper than lunch prices–quite a change from home. We were glad to treat Cris, who has been so helpful to us, and her boyfriend to a nice meal which we all enjoyed.
An unusual Sunday, and yet not. Worshiping God with a community of believers, dining with good friends, taking care of each other. Sundays don’t really differ that much for Christians around the world. Praise God for all his benefits!