What would you do this Sunday if you went to church and the air conditioner was broken? What if the heat index was right around 100 degrees? Assuming your church didn’t simply cancel services due to this devastating tragedy, how would this situation distract you from the worship service?
I considered those questions today during day 2 of our Worship Leader’s conference. Air conditioning is a luxury here in Jamaica, especially in a large building like a church – we haven’t run into it a whole lot. And the heat index has been above 100 for much of the day here. I carry a small towel with me to wipe the sweat from my face, my hands, and my guitar. With the doors and windows open, there are lots of noises to compete with from outside. It can be distracting sometimes, but there is something special about the worship in this setting.
I hesitate to call the worship more “real,” because that seems to carry a judgmental meaning and that’s not what I’m getting at. But picture a large, well-built, nicely kept air conditioned church full of worshippers in the States. Certainly they are worshipping in spirit and in truth and there is nothing wrong with that. But now picture a Jamaican church – no air conditioning and it’s hot, so all the doors and windows are open. The worshippers are sweaty as they stand and sing. The church is made of concrete and rebar and steel. The sound system isn’t an expensive one. But the people praise God with enthusiasm. There is just something so sweet about seeing that and realizing that it is so easy for me to coast through worship back home because it is so comfortable while here we are gritty, grimy, and sweaty as we raise our hands and voices to Jesus. Our worship comes at a price.
We are getting ready to sing and play for two church services this morning. One is outdoors at 8am at the place our team is staying at and then we will travel to another church on the island for an 11am service. One of the songs I’m singing is one of my favorites, “Lord, I Need You.” The only drawback is that we will be wearing shirts and ties – not looking forward to that in this weather!
This afternoon we will do a little sightseeing before getting prepared for the music camp which starts tomorrow. Pray for a good turnout of students for that camp who are ready to learn and grow. Pray for strength for the team as the camp days will be long ones. And please remember to pray for my wife as she gets test results at a doctor’s appointment tomorrow at 10am (or 9am Jamaican time.)