Learning to worship Kenyan style…



Psalm 93:1 The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength. He has established the world; it shall never be moved; 2 your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the Lord! 5 Your decrees are very sure; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.

For the last two weeks there’s been a Kenyan congregation meeting in our church on Sunday afternoons at 12:30pm. They had been looking for a place to worship and approached us about hosting them, maybe 100 people or so. So far, it looks promising.

One of the things I value most about this community is the way they worship the Lord – much like what we read in today’s psalm. They will spend an extended time, perhaps 20-30 minutes, just giving worship to the Lord. There may be a song involved, or there may not be. Whatever the case, there’s a lot of clapping hands and dancing feet and voices lifted up to the Lord. They make 100 people sounds like 500, their voices are so loud! “We worship you O God! We praise you O Jehovah! You are mighty King of Glory! Come Holy Spirit, come!” This sort of thing. Some of it I don’t understand because it’s in their native dialect. Nevertheless, my heart and my spirit are full in the midst of such worship and praise.

Sometimes I wonder if the worship life of my own congregation is sometimes too structured, confined, or even too brief. We have such an awareness of time – don’t wanna go for much more than an hour. The Kenyan congregation? At least two hours. Or more.

This morning I’m headed from Dallas to visit family in Austin. Think I’ll put on some of my favorite Christian music in the car and just worship the Lord for a while as I drive down the interstate. My Kenyan brothers and sisters have awakened something in me that has been dormant. And it feels wonderful. Thanks be to God.


One thought on “Learning to worship Kenyan style…

  1. Russell Felten

    You would have to agree that their background is different from the Rejoice community. Nonetheless, worship is in the mind of the participant. For me, jumping up and down, swaying wildly or holding my arms up “touchdown style” is simply uncomfortable and distracting from what I’m there to do–worship.

    I’m sure the Kenyan’s would not value one our our hymns, say, Beautiful Savior, simply because they have never sung it. Yet for many, the words bring deep meaning and even a quiet tear from time to time. I’m also sure that the same holds true for the Kenyans. The hymns with which they are familiar mean the most.

    Seeking change for the sake of change isn’t the answer and I don’t really think that is what you are suggesting.

    At the same time I’m thinking about Jesus’ words of instruction when it comes to prayer: “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6).

    I love the fact that the Kenyans feel comfortable using our church. It is a blessing to all concerned. Just not sure we should be trying to necessarily imitate them.

    Oh, and Ernie, we always go at least 1:15!!! ;))

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