For many, it was a normal Sunday morning worship. For me, it was different. A service in French, with occasional English interpretation. My French is very basic to enable me to order food, take a taxi, buy some groceries, and buy credit for my phone and everyday living. It is like "one word at a time" and someone has to speak slowly for me to be able to follow the gist of the communication, C'est la vie et je ne me plains pas.
Assemblees De Dieu is located in II Plateaux 7eme Tranche, less than 5 minutes walk from where I am staying. The church is still under construction but being used. It has open sides thus you are able to enjoy the fresh breeze coming from the hot and humid Abidjan.
My experience at the church signifies the fact that God is awesome and that in our diversity, we are able to worship and praise him in the way we feel comfortable. I have never been an advocate or appreciated what I call "disorganised worshipping". My thinking has always been that God is orderly - at least looking at the structure of creation. "On the seventh day he rested". This thinking has always led me not to appreciate the Pentecostal type of worshipping. Years ago, I attended a service of worship at Assemblies of God in Malawi and I remember how uncomfortable I felt. That is years ago and thus was not prepared at what I was to see at my new place of worship.
The message was simple and powerful. Which Jesus do we worship? The one that performed miracles in the bible, conceived, born, crucified, died and rose again on the third day? Or we have created our little Jesus - who performs different magic in 21st century?
Then came those 30 minutes of mind boggling worship! There was this sudden change in the atmosphere. You would have thought you were watching a Liverpool match. I believe this was time for individual prayer - or let's call it "aller satan" moment. People were pacing from left to right, up and down the aisle, speaking, praying, shouting softly, shadow-boxing, gesturing, emphasising points. I did not know what to do other than observe and say my own prayers quietly. Then, the noise vanished into this beautiful chorus led by this youthful band in front, "majeste, adorer sa majeste", nous chantions (we sang). As I enjoyed the music, back came the "aller satan" moment again. Now most of the congregants had a hand on their head. I observed that it did not matter which hand. All deep in conversation.
As I left the church, I said to God. Mon Dieu, which types of worship do you really appreciate and bless? Is it the one where we wear suits, sit quietly and sing with subdued senility? Or is it where we sing and dance for you? Or is it where we speak strange language and take the opportunity of a gym session? Then I heard a voice inside. "Those who do the above, are they people or animals"? I said, of course God, they are people, just like me. And the voice said, "all people were created in my image".
I then realised that worship is about expressing yourself to the creator. We all express ourselves differently in life. Some cry when they are happy. Others tremble when they are angry. Others scream for different reasons. Others bite their lip when in pain. All the different worships aim to praise and thank God. May God bless you for reading this testimony and may we thank him for the diversity that enriches this world - which could otherwise have been boring. It is good.