‘NAMBODIA – Post 8 – Worshipping at the Vietnamese Church

We attended two Christian worship services  on this trip. The first was a traditional state—registered Vietnamese church.  The service was pretty full, I estimated about 250 or so.  The sanctuary was split , projector screen (yep, PowerPoint is everywhere) of the stage, Eucharist in the center and the keyboardist and piano on the right. 

The day was pretty hot, the fans were on, running time for services are certainly longer than the 10:30 service that we are used to.  I think we attended the All-Morning Service. Anyway, that’s the context, here are some quick thoughts:

They had a special service commemorate the start of summer.  They were dedicating this season to the Lord and broke out the fine china.  Meaning the choir gave a couple of numbers.  I thought wow, we can barely get a choir together for Christmas, they got one for the beginning of summer! I’m not a big choir person (I don’t even watch Glee) but I thought that was interesting considering we in evangelical west seem to slow down our ministries for summer where we could use that time for study and renewal from the hectic pace the school year demands of us.

The message was on Mathew 5 salt and light and the pastor’s thesis was that Christianity is good for the community and they must serve the community and bear witness.  This makes especially good sense given their communist context. Miguel likened it to Tertullian arguing that Christianity was good for the Roman society.  Though we all didn’t see that way, I think Miguel makes a worthy point (besides a hesitation or two, I like the subversive nature of it).

There was singing, there was the Lord’s Supper, there were a couple of things I’m sure I missed and while we don’t know Vietnamese, we did join  in a couple of songs including the doxology.  Further, it’s when we are in a foreign language worship service that we “close those eyes” and worship with our other senses.  I did a good bit of reading Matthew and the Psalms, spent a good while praying quietly and I loved that the Lord’s Supper is understandable in any language – it’s universal, Jesus is for all people.

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