Expressions of the Spirit: gentle wind and mighty gale

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


6 responses to “Expressions of the Spirit: gentle wind and mighty gale

  1. Good post Melody! It makes me think that no matter where we come from we always take our own culture with us. The Ugandan Christians might offer something good that the Croatians could benefit from. However, with the Ugandan influence we might be left to wonder even more what a truly Croatian following of Christ would look like in its most vibrant form. Hopefully the emerging Croatian movements, infused with African forms, won’t feel foreign to them, especially in the long run.

  2. Melody,

    I would have loved to join you on that trip to the monestary! What a great experience.

  3. Hey Melody,

    I enjoyed reading about your time of prayer and worship at the monestary. What a gracious priest they have and what a difference he’s making in his Community! Also your time at the conference in Zagreb was a beautiful account. Glad to know that my compatriots are reaching out to their fellow Christins in Croatia. Having suffered themselves at the hands of Idi Amin in the 1970’s and managed to pull through by the grace of God, the Ugandan Christians know how blessed they are and are now ‘a blessing’ to others. I too on reading this, felt that I was back in Uganda in my home church. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Partnership of Encouragement | Balkan Voices

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