I was up early this morning, so I spent some time in prayer and catching up on emails. The honking in the streets starts early and ends late. On this particular day, I woke up quite thankful for ear plugs, mosquito nets, and air conditioning!
One of the highlights of my time here, thus far, has been witnessing these pastors worship with one another before our training begins in the morning, in the afternoon, and prior to dinner. One of the men will play a few hymns using a harmonium, but the lead instrument is the human voice. These men sing with a strength and a robustness that is palpable. After three or four hymns, the pastor leading us in singing will begin to pray and everyone else will join in, lifting up their praises, thanksgiving, and requests to God audibly. As their prayers build to a crescendo and then diminish, the pastor will often play one final hymn.
This morning they began to sing a song and our host and translator, B., leaned over and said to me, “This is the song of Isaiah 56.” As I turned to the passage and read verses 6-7 my heart was filled with joy.
“And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant–these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
These men were singing their song. These Bengali believers were singing of God’s covenant grace which has been extended to them through the work of Jesus Christ. These Bengali pastors, in the heart of an overwhelmingly Muslim country, were singing of God’s heart and place for them! And, more than that, they were singing my song. They were singing of how I, one who is not naturally a son of Abraham, have been brought into Abraham’s family by faith in Jesus Christ. They were singing of how I, one who is not of the nation of David, have been brought into the Kingdom of David’s Greater Son. They were singing my song.