It was a day spent in communal worship with believers—but in vastly different forms. In the morning, I joined a group of charismatic Catholics at a monastery for their monthly meeting focused on how to promote awareness of life. This group is connected to a nearby home that offers a place for women facing an unplanned pregnancy so that they feel they have an option besides abortion.
I had been trying to meet the priest in charge of this monastery for some time—I heard that he has a compelling story. He sincerely welcomes all, whether Protestant or Catholic, in the name of Christ—an impressive attribute in this country. Driving up the windy road, I could feel my spirit soaking in the lush green fields as we moved further away from all things city and urban. The monastery was small but beautiful and we were greeted with warm smiles and generous hospitality. The priest, his flowing white robes swirling around his ankles as he walked, gripped my hand in welcome. As he led us all into a time of worship and prayer, the group responded with energetic singing and heartfelt prayers. I could sense the priest’s deep peace in his willingness to pause, allow silence, and ponder where the Spirit was next leading.
I left the monastery with quiet heart and a reminder of necessarily incorporating stillness in our approach to God.
Later that afternoon, I headed to a conference in Zagreb which was hosted by the Borongajci and World Trumpet Mission, a Ugandan mission organization. The theme of the conference was “Revival and Transformation,” and the conference music and prayer was joyful and expressive. One of the Ugandan missionaries led the packed room of hundreds into one of their worship songs, a wild celebration of dancing and singing that lasted indefinitely. If I were to shut my eyes, I could imagine I was in Uganda.
I was struck by the the influence of this Ugandan mission organization on this small cross-section of Croatian Protestant culture. After talking to one person from an Evangelical church in Eastern Croatia, I realized that their thinking about and the ways they are praying for their city has been heavily influenced by these Ugandan missionaries. What is God up to and what will be the long term impact of this mixing of Ugandan and Croatian spirituality and culture?
Two events, two purposes for the events, two different ways of expression of worship and praise…but one Spirit moving in both gatherings, turning people’s hearts towards Jesus and the things that concern Jesus in society.
For more on the Borongaj Movement, see Out of the God Box