As Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors, so God has even more. Each people group on earth is slightly different from the others. (There are at least 7,000 ethnolinguistic groups in the world.) I had the pleasure of experiencing this during the last month as in four weeks I attended four different worship services in a row. Even though all were primarily in English, each one was different, as follows.
Four weeks ago, Marti and I drove to Los Angeles. We had a great time worshipping, singing, and moving while at at Pilgrim Baptist Church. Before the service, we met briefly with the pastor in his office. The choir boosted the energy level with many gospel songs. They really belted it out! Rev. Albert Nicholas preached energetically; after the service, there were plenty of hugs and kisses.
Three weeks ago, Marti and I attended Trinity Evangelical Free Church, our home church in Redlands, Calif. The worship team led us in familiar hymns and contemporary songs. Our pastor taught on discipleship from a number of Bible passages. After the service, I received handshakes and well wishes for my upcoming trip to Africa.
Two weeks ago, while in Kenya, I worshipped at Deliverance Church in Eldoret (see photo below). Even though most of the service was in English, there were some Swahili words spoken by the pastor and a Swahili song or two was sung. Worship team ladies were all dressed alike, swaying back and forth as they sang. I could tell that their singing came from their hearts. When visitors were acknowledged, I was asked to come forward and speak a few words. After the service, the pastor invited my American teammate and me to have some bread and tea (chai) with him.
Last Sunday, while still in Kenya, I attended an Asian Christian church that meets in the guesthouse where I stayed. Of the twenty-five in the congregation, I was the only American, along with one African woman. The rest were either from India or of Indian descent, most of whom likely come from a Hindu background. Since it was Mother's Day, the Indian pastor's wife spoke. We sang songs in both English and Hindi following whichever language was on the overhead screen; everyone sang in subdued voices.
Wow, what a month I had enjoying many different and beautiful ways that God's people worship him. I can hardly wait to get to heaven where the robust singing will be in too many tongues to count. What a blessing it is to be able to enjoy worshipping God in so many diverse ways!
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. — Revelation 7:9