First United Methodist Church

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News & Devotions

Panua Trip, Blog 2: Worship

“Today was worship.  Paul said it would be more of an American service….maybe an hour shorter!  I am always struck by the abandon with which they do church.  Worship is filled with activity, lots of singing, some from the hymnal, some from memory, but fully involved by everyone.  The children are such a big part of the service and while it seems uncontrolled, it is always the same format and there is a joy on their faces.  The youth provide a skit with dancing that is truly amazing.  This weeks skit was about poverty and how they are faced with not having money for school fees, not being able to pay the landlord, and how prayer can help them face life’s troubles.  

Rev. Paul Matheri’s message was about how ‘things’ in our lives can be obstacles to our living out our Christian faith. John Wesley said the world is his pulpit, after he was told he couldn’t go out and preach without being behind a pulpit.  Dr. Livingstone was used as an example when he had asked for assistance in the mission field and he got back questions about whether there would be roads there (among other things).  He replied that he didn’t want someone who was concerned about how easy it would be, but send him people who didn’t care about whether there would be roads, but only wanted to serve God.

The scripture was about King David and how he worshiped by singing and dancing when the Ark of the Covenant was being transported to Jerusalem, and how that was not what a king was supposed to do.  He didn’t let his position keep him from expressing his faith.  Former president Obama is in Kenya this week, and he is visiting his homeland while on this trip, something he was criticized here for last time when he didn’t go there.  Previously he didn’t go there as it wasn’t something a sitting president would be expected to do, but now he could do that since he no longer carried the weight of the office.  Paul said we shouldn’t worry about our station in life and how we are perceived but should be bold in our faith.  He raised Panua as an example of people serving God in ways that weren’t always clean and easy but that served God’s purpose.  I was feeling a bit sheepish then as I thought about how little effort it takes on our part to participate in Panua but how big an impact that effort has on people here.  So for me only, I want to thank all who contribute, no matter how small or large the effort may be.  And by the way, there are roads here, very few paved as we know them, but roads none the less.”

-Larry Brown