Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Multicultural God

I sang with a great Early Music choir last weekend. All of the people are from villages or cities within our region of CZ and they belong to our denomination. I knew a few of them before hand, but there were many new people who I didn't know and who don't speak English. Originally they asked me to sing some solos and said that I could sing with the choir too, if I wanted. Then when I said I wouldn't want to sing with the choir, because I thought it would be too much, the guy I was writing with misunderstood me(or pretended to misunderstand), and said he was happy that I wanted to sing with the choir too and sent me the music. I'm so happy for the misunderstanding, because it was sooooo good for me, my Czech, my soul, and my voice. I only regret that I didn't understand the whole theme of the concert until afterwards, when I was putting together the recording I had made. I sort of realized that some pieces had an Easter theme, but I didn't realize the whole program did, too. I was having this conversation with one man about why they sing most of their pieces and chorales translated into Czech, and he said it is because the texts are so important to them. I slowly but surely began to understand the texts, and suddenly I realized how much this really was a part of their worship. They weren't just there because they wanted to sing Early Music, but because this is how they worship.
I think it's so difficult to worship in a foreign language. Even in Latin, I feel like the meaning isn't as strong to me. And yet, as I become more and more familiar with the usages and the meanings of certain Czech words, I feel the beauty of worshiping in a foreign language, experiencing yet another way to worship our Lord. How Amazing is a Multicultural God, who loves to watch each of us worship in our own way and in our own language! And even more so, as the master teacher, I'm sure He takes joy in watching us worship in ways that are new to us and languages that are new to us, so that we might grow closer to our fellow brothers and sisters and so that we might find him in this place.


Monday, April 23, 2007

April Fool's Night

I've put together a short video with clips and pictures from our variety show in the church a week ago. Each of the classes contributed in some way and so did many of the families from the congregation. I had a blast, and I was so happy with the way things turned out. Lots of people came, and we had a lot of fun. Before the end of the show, we invited the students and parents upstairs for some dinner, and then we finished the show upstairs. As Pastor Jan said in his closing words, laughter is necessary for our lives. It was good for our souls, and it brought people together.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The process

If you are interested in more pictures of us decorating Easter Eggs, check out My Photos (password:policka)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Keeping Traditions

I’m sorry I’ve had writers block lately. I’ve had some allergy problems with all of the new plants blooming around me, so I don’t quite feel like writing. I do want to make a quick note though.
Easter is a little different here. Palm Sunday had no palms in church and Easter Sunday will have no trumpets, but I think trumpets would be really strange in this church. I’m now realizing how much the text of the music we sing at Easter means to me, because I almost feel like I didn’t have a time of Lent. Today we painted eggs, but this is the first “Easter” activity I feel like I’ve participated in. I will experience more Czech traditions in the next few days. For most Czechs, Easter happens on Monday with a strange tradition where men come around and hit women with a braided rope-like stick, and then the women give the men the painted eggs they have prepared. I have been dreading this day, but I think it will pass smoother than I think. This Monday custom poses a problem when I talk about Easter with the kids in the classes. They all think Easter happens on Monday and many of them don’t see it as a religious holiday. I’m working with most of them on activities for our April Fool’s Night, so I only talked about Easter in two classes.
I think my lessons reflect how Easter hasn’t been on my mind. It’s different when I’m watching movies and not TV, and I’m listening to CDs and not the radio. Advertisements are not flashing as reminders everywhere I look. My mother and sister have been very kind to send me candy and other Easter reminders. I realize I’ve been very passive in my past Easter holidays, letting others create the holiday for me. So now, here I am in another culture, and if I want this holiday, I have to be more active and celebrate it. So the music I’m playing tomorrow sounds as joyful as I have music to be. I had my Bible with me for the Good Friday service last night, and tomorrow I will have to read more scripture still, if I want to truly remind myself. I’ll call my family, and I’ll share my candy. I have no white shoes, but I will wear my best dress that I brought. I know we will have an Easter Egg hunt, and maybe there is even more in store for me, as I rediscover this holiday through the eyes of the Czechs. More to come after Easter Monday.

note: The big white egg is the Ostridge egg I got in our Dirty Santa game at Christmas:-)
note 2: As strange as things may seem, we do have daffodils and beautiful blooming flowers. Nothing as strange as a white Easter in Oklahoma.