Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Church “Outing”

One of our team members who lives in the West Bank shared this recent experience.

Recently forty-five members of the Palestinian Church I am attending went on an outing to Jericho to a picturesque park located at the base of the Mount of Temptation. On Fridays, thousands of Palestinians go there to barbecue, relax, and socialize with family and friends. When we arrived at the park, all of the places where a large group could gather were taken. The only remaining place was under a large Bedouin tent conspicuously in the middle of the park. The reason no one was sitting there was because you have to have your food catered from the restaurant to sit there but like everyone else, we had brought our own barbeque. Therefore, we should not have been allowed to stay there either, but God had other plans. For reasons, only God knew at time, the owner let us all use the big tent in the middle of the park without buying any food from the restaurant.

Well this location in the middle of the park made us very conspicuous and of course everyone was wondering why we were able to sit in such a privileged location and to be honest, so were we. After we settled in, we began to sing Christian songs and praise the Lord. In a very short time, we noticed that we were attracting a crowd. It seemed we were the main attraction at the park. As we sang, I saw children in the audience singing with us. Many adults and children stopped by that day and enjoyed the music and the short sermon given by our pastor. After we had finished singing, many people came to get out of the hot sun to talk with us. Many where asking questions about the songs we sang and what the pastor was saying.

I asked my friend why so many people were interested in us. He said that they don’t see many Christians worshiping outside of a church building, he said “we hide ourselves in the buildings too much”. Many here are afraid to come into the church buildings, and many Christians are afraid to come out, so what we are and how we worship is a mystery to many.

On this day, we all thought we were going on an outing but in reality it was our worship and love for Jesus that was being exposed for all to see. We were faithfully revealing our light just as God wants us to. Many people saw that light this day not because we spent hours and hours preparing some outreach program but because we were faithfully showing our love for Jesus. God made all the arrangements; he booked the stage, invited the guests, and arranged the music. All we had to do was be faithful. We may never know what impact we had on our audience that day, but God does. Our Church is planning more outings.

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