Both males and females are dressed in modest, loose clothing. The women are wearing their prayer shawls over their shoulders. A young mother covers her child while breastfeeding.
A few teenage girls are sharing with each other the new dance moves they learned…the boys watch from the other side of the room. There is great reverence for the gender differences between the males and females. The elders sit against the wall on the chairs of their section; those under 50 sit on the floor. On the female side, you can see the older ladies joyfully placing their prayer shawls over the heads- a sign to the younger ladies that its time to pray.
The Pastor and his disciples walk into the assembly while the deacon proclaims: “Glory to Jesus Christ!” The congregation joyfully responds: “Glory forever!”
Everyone follows the lead of the Pastor as he prostrates before the Holy Cross and leads the preliminary prayers. Those that are able prostrate before Lord Jesus, while those that cannot bow their heads. The Pastor rises and goes to his teaching chair- a big chair filled with flowers and gifts presented before him. The disciples prostrate themselves before their teacher in recognition that he’s their ambassador of Christ…and that as such, he will be treated like Christ himself- with veneration.
Congregational singing begins… The Pastor picks up his cymbals and begins to lead in a simple tune:
“Alleluia Alleluia, Yehoshua Alleluia…Yehoshua Yehoshua, Alleluia Alleluia!”
Jesus Christ, the Image and effulgence of the invisible God is the center of everything that is done tonight. Only the tunes change…the lyrics are the same…always. If worship is giving back to God the best of what he has given us, then the best we can give him is his Son Jesus Christ, our Teacher and Savior. There is power in the name of Jesus- the glory of God- Yehovah.
The first round of singing only lasts about 20 minutes- dancing is discouraged at this time, although not prohibited. The first conch blasts and bell ringing are offered to Lord Yehovah as an offering, mixed with incense. This is a time of preparation before the teaching. A time of opening our hearts…
When the Pastor ends leading the worship, the disciples hand the deacon the lectionary book to read to the people. He censes the Word of God and raises it above his head while proclaiming: “Glory to Jesus Christ!” The congregation prostrates facing the Cross while responding: “Glory Forever!” This happens three times and then the people take their seats.
Everyone listens attentively and responds with an “Amen!” after each lectionary reading.
The deacon then takes his seat and the Pastor begins his instruction.”Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
This is a congregation that makes a distinction between “disciples” and “devotees.” While anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is considered a “devotee,” only those who commit to living a disciplined, Christian life under the instruction of their Pastor, are considered to be true “disciples.”
After teaching the topic of the day… the Pastor then takes his cymbals and begins to lead the Cristian-Kirtan, a form of Ancient worship that uses North African, Hebrew and Indian rhythms that are reminiscent of the Psalms and Biblical times.
Now the real celebration begins… They celebrate the fact that God’s Salvation became flesh- and that he has elevated us above the Principalities and Powers of the air, sharing with us his divine throne. They are not like the world- so their worship is also other-worldly.
Conch blasts, keyboards, cymbals, djembes, congas… all following the lead of the Pastor and his disciples, and the devotees that are being trained by the disciples. On both sides of the room, a group of males are dancing… so are the females on their side. The children are running around in circles…the grandmothers are clapping and singing to God.
The worship becomes ecstatic…It is transcendental. The presence of the Holy Spirit is evident… The Pastor rises with his disciples and begins to dance for Jesus… The whole congregation rises…especially the elderly- everyone is dancing.
The church members don’t realize it… but this is the beginning of Christian Unity in the bond of love. After 2,000 years, we finally have come to understand that the unity of the Church does not depend on the administrative idiosyncrasies of our denominations- but the eternal grace of God through Yehoshua, his Son.
“Alleluia, Alleluia, Yehoshua-Alleluia! Yehoshua! Yehoshua! Alleluia! Alleluia!”