The Holy Catholic Church (Africa Journal #2)
One of the great blessings of my calling is that I am called to travel far and wide from time to time. Over the course of little more than a year, I have traveled to teach in the United Kingdom, Japan, and now in Africa. I come home each time encouraged to see the Spirit of God at work in places that are far to me, but near to Him. While my joy increases, however, so does my concern. The more aware I become of how God is at work in distant lands, the more I become aware of the need. My vision is expanded on the expanse of the kingdom, which in turn causes me to see more clearly the fields white for harvest.
This morning at the Rafiki Village in Ethiopia I was blessed to listen as fifteen precious children, from three to six years old, were lead in singing “Trust and Obey” and “Amazing Grace.” The tears came as they sang “Father Abraham Had Many Sons” and danced together rejoicing in God’s covenant faithfulness to them and to me. After lunch these same children recited the Apostles’ Creed, first in English and then in their native tongue. The tears returned for our shared story. These little children so foreign to me by nature are my brothers and sisters by supernature and grace. We together believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His Son, who is our Lord together. We together believe that He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary. We know that for our sins He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell. Our common joy, however, is that He was raised again on the third day and sits on the right hand of the Father. We are at peace knowing that He will come from there to judge the living and the dead.
The tears came because in this little village and poverty-stricken land, we are the catholic church and experience the communion of the saints. We are the church and are united because our sins have been forgiven, and so judged innocent, we look to the resurrection of our bodies even as the Messiah’s body was raised. On that great day we will together enter into the life everlasting. John Piper speaks wisdom when he reminds us that missions exists because worshippers don’t. We send and preach that the lost might be found and rejoice. God brought me here to worship with these precious children of His. As He has always done, He brought me to learn from them.