Language and Worship

Philippians 2:11 urges that “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”.  Doing so can be quite a challenge in a worship service with a group of people with three different languages as their mother language .  But it can be very God honoring and delightful when it happens as it did under the thatch roof of a shelter in Las Canas.

The service was planned to say thanks and good-bye to a Mission team the night before they returned to Canada – English. Since many present could sing “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord” in Spanish and English, we sang together.  But there was another group present. The leaders of the worship that evening were Haitian and there were Haitians also listening but not able to join in.  Tio Lloyd (notice the name combines English and Spanish) asked if something could be sung in Creole.  Some were surprised to hear Superintendent Fredi singing Creole. But the biggest smiles were on the faces of Tita and her grandmother and Blanco. They were being touched by worship in their language.

Language and worship    Then the leader invited Tita’s grandmother to come and sing.  Tita was delighted and surprised and the somber face she had a few minutes earlier lit up in a beautiful smile that equaled the beauty of the singing.  Blanco who was in the back corner of the group  beamed as he listened to his heart language.

Yes, every tongue, every worshiper, needs to confess that Jesus is Lord.  In Acts 22:2, we read that when Paul spoke to the people in their own dialect, they became more quiet and listened more carefully. There was wonderful delight in listening to the beautiful worship in Creole but there is also a lesson for those who want to serve on the mission field.  A song in Spanish touches Dominican hearts in a way that a chorus sung in English cannot. And few words of greeting in Creole will also open hearts even though the Haitian can speak Spanish.

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