i don’t speak spanish. i know a few words, a few phrases:
how are you?
my name is jeff. what’s your name?
where’s the bathroom (donde esta el bano? – a good one to know).
but that’s a far cry from knowing spanish. a far cry indeed.
at times it was very frustrating. frustrating to meet a new friend and have almost no idea what he was saying. i met pastor jeffry (really, there are two of us! God is good!) who i liked immediately. we could just sense in one another a love for God and for his people. there was so much i would like to have said to him. and in fact, as soon as i got home, i sent him an email. i used an online translation site. i typed everything that i wanted to say, in english, and hit the translate button. i copied and pasted it into the email and hit send. and held my breath. i had no way of knowing if the translation was accurate or not. i hoped i hadn’t insulted his mother!
but during my time in costa rica, there was one time when translation wasn’t an issue at all for me. during worship. each day, we worshiped with the kids who came to join us for the bible school. we sang in spanish, with spanish words on the screen. i made out some of the words, either because i knew a few or because we were singing songs i knew well, so i could translate in my head. but it was more than that. it was like, the words don’t matter right now. i’m standing in an open-air multi-purpose space with a bundle of children, surrounded by gloriously lush green mountains in 70-degree weather, worshiping the creator of it all. sometimes words get lost in translation.
and sometimes they just get in the way.
on tuesday night of our time there, on our walk back from dinner, we passed a very small church – about 25 folks from the village were inside singing and swaying and crying out and dancing. each person was lost in worship. the front doors were thrown wide open as an invitation to join them. so we did.
and we worshiped.
man, we worshiped. for about 45 minutes, each of us seemed to completely forget about one another, at least i did. it didn’t matter that there were only about 50 people in a space big enough for 250. it didn’t matter that we don’t worship so freely at THRESHOLD (though i sure wish we did). it didn’t matter that i didn’t understand hte words to the songs being sung, that they were all lost in translation.
i was lost in worship.
and i want to go back there again.
not so much to costa rica – though i am going back there too.
but i mean, i want to go again and more often to that amazing place where it’s just God and me. a place where i can raise my hands and spin around, or where i can sit quietly and rock, or where i can be completely still – and worship. focus my complete attention on the maker and redeemer and lover of my soul. a place where words don’t require translation because words aren’t important.
hey. maybe sunday.
wanna go with me?