Yesterday I did something that I have never done in all my years of ministry. I preached with a translator.
I knew going in that it would require a different rhythm, but it surprised me how different it would be. For the translator to keep up required one thought, one sentence at a time. It took a balance and awareness between us. And we worked it out. And I learned things that will make it even better next time.
Yes, next time. I will be preaching to this worshiping community once or twice a month for the foreseeable future.
Why you ask?
I have been asked to be an Interim Moderator for a congregation that is like non other. They are a blend of many cultures and races, and in the morning service which is in English there are some ways in which worship is enhanced by contributions from the immigrants in the worshiping community. There is a great sense of unity and a delightful sense of the Spirit moving. It is great to see and great to be a part of.
The afternoon service of this congregation is conducted primarily by the lay leaders of the Anyuak speaking people of Ethiopia and Kenya. When I am there from now on the only things I will do are preach–with translation and pray the intercessory prayer–without translation. The rest of the service is lay led and although I don’t understand a word there is a strong sense of the Spirit being present. I was blessed to be worshiping with them.
So three Sundays a month I will lead worship in the English service, and once or twice a month, when the translator is available with the Anyuak service.
I am so happy to be preaching again on a regular basis. I have really missed preaching. The work of struggling with Scripture and listening for the Spirit to speak has always been a big part of my spirituality. Preparing to preach nurtures me, and I have missed that. But I have also missed the sense of the power of the Holy Spirit in the act of preaching, the energy, the connection, the power, and yes the exhaustion when the sermon is done.
I pray that as we work together that I will be the servant through whom God blesses these worshiping communities and I pray that we will discern strongly the person whom God is calling to come and minister among them.
We began this journey with the Epistle to the Romans, and we will continue to read through it for the next few months or so, as we explore what it is to be a part of the church called forth by God.
We began with talking about what it means to live by faith. To participate with God in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and the call to love and serve all those who are the least of these that Jesus speaks of. Not only are we privileged to be redeemed by grace but we are also privileged to be called as servants.
Those thoughts are what shapes this prayer.
LIVE BY FAITH
Lord God who came to us in Jesus to set us free
Instil in us a desire to join you in the message of love and grace
Vigoursly lead us into the ministry we have in your love
Enter our hearts and direct our feet
Be with us as we follow you way, bear with us when we stumble
Your grace calls us forth and we will obey
Fill our hearts with the desire to be your servants
Announce your presence in the world with all that we do
Invite us to be filled with the power of your Spirit
Teach us to be loving as you are loving
Honor our heartfelt service with the blessing of your abundance. Amen
images from Pixaby