Church Thermostats . . . Open Windows
Pews. . . Boards,
Carpet. . . Dirt Floors
I’m still full of stories from Honduras.
I fully believe folks in other places can teach us as much, or more, than we have to teach them.
An example of this is the church at Zucros de Cana, Honduras. Its congregation is small. Its building is very new. And its spirit is warm.
The name of its village means “Sugar Cane Row.”
From my rough sketch, as well as the photo below, you can see that this church’s facility is very simple. No doors or windows– yet.
No pews or even benches– just planks laid across adobe bricks and slabs.
Later there will be a floor, but right now it’s a dirt one.
However, the humbleness of the building had nothing to do with the sweet spirit that was evident at Sugar Cane Row.
Of course, we were on Honduran time. Nothing starts on time and there is no hurry to finish things when they do eventually begin.
We waited for villagers to walk to the church. Another group traveling on the local version of a Greyhound bus arrived later. Pastor Elias (see him below) was the only one who arrived in his own vehicle and his mode of transportation was a small motorcycle.
As we sang and worshipped, workers worked outside on the adobe wall. There was a newness and freshness that surrounded everything about this hillside.
At the end of the service, the men and women divided into prayer groups. I joined a circle of men who prayer fervently. I didn’t understand much of what they said, but I felt the power of prayer and the presence of the Lord. Over and over, I heard a word. It was “Santos.” In English, it is “Holy.” I noticed in the praying, singing, and preaching of rural Honduras, it’s a word that you hear often.
God is holy.
Because he is Holy, we should worship him.
I need to use it more in my vocabulary.
Shown are the men who were part of the prayer circle. We prayed a long time, holding hands, with eyes closed.
I noticed a old but familiar smell from one of the men by me. It was the wonderful mix of saddle leather and a horse. It took me back to my childhood and the smell of my grandfather and his horse, Dallas.
I was reminded that Hondurans go to lots of trouble to get to church.
Crowded into buses.
Riding a horse.
I’ve heard well-meaning North Americans state that no more churches are needed in places like Honduras. We forget that when people walk to church, it is completely different than our getting in the car and driving.
Ten minutes of driving can easily mean three hours of walking.
In America, we worry about various church things.
Like how the thermostat is set. (I once heard of a new church that put “fake thermostats” in the auditorium so members could “adjust” the temperature and “feel comfortable.” The real thermostat was hidden in a closet.)
Or how soft the pews are. Or if someone is sitting in “our pew.”
Or the color of the carpet.
Honduran churches are not perfect. They deal with many of the same problems we do: interpersonal relationships, correct doctrine, and more.
However, some of the things I’ve mentioned above would not be a problem to them. In fact, they laughed when we told them of trouble over the temperature or carpet color.
I’m not saying we should forgo these luxuries we are privileged to have. Rather, we should not let them get in our way of worshipping a Holy God.
A God who is Santos.
A God who desires the worship, adoration, and praise of our heart.
Over and over, the same thing happens on these trips: I go, supposedly to help and teach, and I return back to my beloved Dry Creek having learned from the people I was among.
Like the folks at Zucros de Cana who live along a dirt road in the mountains of Honduras.
Pastor Elias pores over Bible commentaries brought to him by Beulahland Ministries. If you’r e interested in helping this worthy and growing church, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org