Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Psalm 100:1-2
We gathered on the back porch of a house that was located in a “colonia,” in the outskirts of McAllen, TX. A “colonia” is a neighborhood in border communities of people who are from the same country of origin. As the worship leader stood to welcome everyone, I was amazed that there were close to 50 of us gathered on this porch, 50 people from all over the world, gathered together to worship the Lord with gladness.
We heard testimony of the struggles that people had gone through.
We sang praises for the work that the Lord had done, and was doing through this worshiping congregation.
And after worship was over, we ate together. The chairs were cleared out to put in tables and all of us gathered together around the table to share in a meal with one another.
All of creation finds its fullness at the table when we share with our sisters and brothers. As I reflected upon this night of worship, I couldn’t help but think that I didn’t know half of the words that we sang. I didn’t know half of the words to which I said “Amen.” But I knew that where there is joyful noise being made unto the Lord, the Lord is present and tangible.
The church where we gathered is called “Los Naranjos,” or “The Orange Groves.” I pray that someday, I might be able to worship as passionately and faithfully as my sisters and brothers in Christ do every time they gather in that grove. Might we remember that it is not our stained glass or colored carpet that makes our sanctuary some place that God would want to be present in. It is the quality of our hearts and the desires of our worship.
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
How beautiful will be the day when a new society,
instead of selfishly hoarding and keeping,
apportions, shares, divides up, and all rejoice
because we all feel we are children of the same God!
May it be so with us,
and with all of your beloved creation, Lord. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To raise awareness this week:
Review immigration study guides, available from the NC Council of Churches.
To become educated this week:
Find information about the number of detentions and deportations happening in your community, and discuss with others the trends you are seeing.
To advocate this week:
Begin to advocate with neighboring immigrant churches in your community.
Lucas Nelson is a provisional elder in the North Carolina Conference currently serving at Goldston UMC in the Fairway District.