Monday, April 26, 2010

The New Song

Four times per year, my congregation worships God with our three language groups concurrently. Brothers and sisters sing together in English, Spanish, and Chinese and prayers are led in all three tongues. Yesterday was one of those days as we honored our approximately twenty high school seniors. Our English minister, David Yasko, and our Hispanic minister, David Esparza, shared the pulpit. It's a glorious two hours when we do this, a taste of the time when Christians can worship together without the inconvenience of language barriers. Below, from July 23, 2007, is the story of one of our 'Chinese' song leaders.

Buddy Moore led singing yesterday in worship services. That sounds pretty normal until you consider it was a Chinese language service and Buddy led singing in Mandarin. Most of the songs we use in our Chinese congregation were penned in English and subsequently translated. A big, burly stereotypical Texan, Buddy is a construction supervisor. He has led singing before but always using the English version of the hymns. After taking a two week immersion course in Mandarin at the University of Houston, Buddy is amassing a vocabulary. We kid him about still listening through the translation headset during the preaching. I tease him, asking if he'll be the translator before long. He laughs. Buddy and his beautiful wife, Linda, are one of the most easy going couples I know and take everything in stride. I was really impressed that he attempted to sing in the native tongue of the rest of the congregation. We worshipped the Lord as we sang Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art, along with five or six others. Granted, the words were spelled phonetically under the Chinese symbols but it makes no difference. The pronunciation of Mandarin for non-Chinese is very difficult. How did he do? I heard no complaints or corrections. In fact, our Asian brothers and sisters are thrilled that he is trying. In 1st Corinthians 9, Paul states that he had become, "all things to all men." People notice when you reach out, when you see things from their perspective, when you speak their language. Sometimes speaking is accompanied by four part harmony....and a Texas accent.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made the last thirty years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages."
Dave Barry

God bless,
Luke 18:1

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