Friday, February 19, 2010

Ash Wednesday worship in the Dominican Republic

Ash Wednesday I worshipped with our Dominican Republic Lutheran Missionaries at one of their churches a few miles outside of Santiago. It was a wonderful worship service where the people welcomed us warmly. I was there with a colleague, Barb Below, from LCMS World Relief and Human Care and with President Kessa and two members of his executive council from Haiti. The service was in Spanish, Barb and I spoke English, our Haitian friends Creole and French yet the message of repentance, forgiveness, and mercy came through clearly. Even differences in language can't prevent the Holy Spirit from working.Pres. Kessa and I were asked to administer Holy Communion for which I felt somewhat ill-prepared but very privileged. The Sacrament also reaches beyond the boundaries of culture and language. It was deeply meaningful for the members of the church that we offered them Christ's body and blood. I can't begin to explain what it meant to me! After the service, they hugged us many times and thanked us for being with them. As the generator ran out of gas, we made our way downstairs to the street where cell phones provided the only light until final goodbyes were said. God is a God for all times and for all peoples. In the gospel and sacraments, there is mercy and peace for every tribe and nation on earth.

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