Above me is a ceiling made out of a quilted patchwork of multi-colored tarps held together by a myriad of wires, ropes and thanks to some wacky Americans…zip ties.
It holds so much beauty in its own right, but then add to it a Holy purpose and all of a sudden it is transformed into one of the most amazing worship areas I’ve ever been honored to worship God under.
The electricity of the Holy Spirit was tangible, and needed no translation among a group of believers speaking multiple languages.
Layers of worship.
What does that mean to you? What do layers of worship look like? If you could peel back every layer it would have the same core of the God we serve, but each of those layers look different based on where you are worshipping.
I’ve worshipped in gilded Russian Orthodox churches to the makeshift sacred space of classrooms in China to mud floors and rusted tin walls in Guatemala.
But layers of worship gained immense meaning for me in Haiti in May.
Our teams’ task the first two days on site at Olivier Methodist Church in Haiti was to transfer the rocky rubble of the earthquake torn church building to the back of the compound where it became Holy ground for the church pews on Sunday morning.
Setting aside my general awe of the beautiful way most other countries use everything while we toss aside things that are perfectly good…God opened my eyes to the layers.
On Haitian ground covered with the earthquake rubble of the past building sat the pews in groupings and rows expectantly waiting for a community to come together under the shade provided by colorful tarps, woven together behind a church building slowly being put back together.
The community could have fallen apart. Haitian community is based around church gathering places. When the church buildings collapsed, the community had nowhere to gather that was protected from rain and sun. Our first night after working there was a major rainstorm…the next morning we found half of the tarps sagging under ponds of water from the rain.
The community could have relocated. Many had lost their homes and others their ability to earn money.
The community could have said ‘There is no God. If there was, why would this have happened?’ But the beauty of the Haitian people is their ability to turn their hope toward eternal life and life beyond this world.
The community could have said it’s not worth it. We have natural disasters all of the time why would be rebuild.
But the community is strong and stubborn in all the areas it should be.
Instead the community holds onto the ‘espwa’ of Jesus. (‘espwa’ is ‘hope’ in Creole.) They cling to the strength community brings as one whole instead of each alone. Their songs of worship are yelled to their Savior as their hands sway in the Holy Spirit saturated air. And they stand together as one community seeking the one true God in layers of worship.