We sit comfortably on specially provided green plastic chairs, our bottled water, with our Bibles, close at hand on the small table that serves as a pulpit. The young girls have lovingly covered the old table with a pristine white lace tablecloth…..a prized possession in this small house. Outside the half open door people wander or cycle down the road, sometimes turning to glimpse inside with curiosity. A mosquito is biting at my ankle and the pervasive scent of poverty dominates the air around us.
It is our last meeting in Yangon, Myanmar, before departing for Kuala Lumpur then onto Australia the next morning. After three days of seminar teaching we have come to our host’s house church to share fellowship and worship with those who live and gather here. It has taken over an hour to get here this morning by taxi through chaotic Yangon traffic. It is the coolest time of year in Yangon but still the temperature heads quickly towards the low to mid thirties celsius. Coming from Australia we are used to warm sunny weather, but this is not Australia, it is South East Asia, and the heat is heavy and oppressive.
Then worship begins and once again we remember why we came and how privileged we are to be here among these fellow Christ-followers. No matter that we don’t know the language of the worship; we know and recognize the Spirit Who saturates the worship. No need for electronic instruments, flashing lights or giant colour screens here. Most of these people have never heard of Hillsong or Passion. Just an unknown worship leader with an old six string guitar and simple hearts loving and longing for God despite their circumstances, despite their poverty, despite their unknown futures. And as the sound rises I realize that once again we are entering that sacred space reserved for the Bride of Christ as she communes with Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Spirit and in truth.
I have experienced this elusive ‘sacred space’ on a few other rare occasions. As I listen to the voices and soak in the sweet Presence of the Bridegroom I think of another small house half a world away in remote Western Kenya where, as I listened to a group of rescued orphans and street kids worship some years ago, Heaven seemed to join us. Again, those kids had nothing: no electricity, no water and no assurance of where their next meal would come from. But they wanted more of Jesus more than anything else in life.
Then, as now, we were ‘caught up together…to meet the Lord in the air’. For a few intensely beautiful moments the very air surrounding us became that cloud of sacred space, a meeting place of divine Community with cherished Bride, outside the constraints of earthly time or atmosphere. Now here it was again, this sense of the corporate Bride of Christ being lovingly embraced by Father, Son and Spirit within a sacred, secret space that only she can enter.
These people are not super saints. They battle many of the same temptations you and I contend with, and live their lives in an atmosphere of persecution and spiritual warfare few of us in western nations have experienced. But they know how to lean on God with utter dependence and they know how to worship, not out of abundance but out of poverty and hardship.
I have returned home again, as on other occasions, profoundly grateful to have shared this sacred space with the Bride of Christ in the nation of Myanmar, and deeply in awe at the knowledge that all across this earth the Holy Spirit is raising up a Bride of every tongue, tribe and nation whose united heartcry is “Come, Lord Jesus”.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied, He said. Righteousness is a Person, not a religious attainment. And those who seek Him shall find Him, and in Him shall they be deeply satisfied.
You may wish to hear some of the worship from our Yangon Seminar now uploaded to You Tube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xey7gTiikow
© Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2014 Copyright Notice: Permission is granted to freely reproduce any Bread for the Bride articles in emails or internet blogs, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included. To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.