I am wide awake and it’s 7:00 am. I take a shower, then bundle up. It’s been ridiculously cold lately, especially considering this is dry season.
Sunday is the Sabbath. Sunday is remembering and Sunday is communion. My friend Sarah and I walk down to the main road and meet a boda on the way who gives us a very low rate. We squish on the seat together, and “tugende” (we go!). As we bump along the road I ask the boda man if he’s been to church today. He hasn’t, and naturally I tell him he MUST come with me! He laughs and says “But I’m not smart,” (smart means dressed nicely!) and I tell him that Jesus doesn’t care. After thinking for a few moments, he accepts! And so Sarah, boda man Andrew, and I walk into church, and I cannot get over how beautiful this moment is.
This church is home to me. I cannot even describe to you how much I love it. We are made up of Ugandan and Congolese members, so the first service is in Swahili, and the second service is in English, with a Luganda translator. But today is communion Sunday, and that means we combine the services and remember the cross together. Oh, I love communion Sunday. The music minister stands in front and begins. “Luganda hymnals: page 108, Swahili hymnals: page 73, English hymnals: page 271” and we begin. It is beautiful chaos as we sing one melody in three different languages, proclaiming Jesus with one heart.
We sing “This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long,” and I am overwhelmed. Jesus truly is our all in all. When He gave up His life on the cross, the veil was torn and the gap was bridged and we were made whole. Jesus transcends every culture and language, HE is our heritage, HE is our story. The people filling this concrete building on a hill in Uganda are my family because of Jesus. We are only sojourners in this world, walking, one foot in front of the other into glory, when every knee will bow and we will be one with The Father forever and ever. This is my story.
Sarah and I laugh as cold drops of rain sting our faces on the boda ride home. I have two packages of bacon in my backpack, our offering to the brunch in which we’re about to partake. My beautiful friend, Milica, is leaving Uganda in a week. The nature of living in this city is friends leaving. It’s a sad thing, but some moments are too sweet to forget, sitting on our porch on a cool African night, sharing our souls over a plate of bread and cheese. Milica is a light.
Somehow five hours pass, sharing laughs and coffee and hearts. I am thankful. I’m thankful for friends, unconventional and new, different and the same. I’m thankful for deep communion, with The Father over bread and wine, and with friends, over pancakes and orange juice. I’m thankful for diversity, that we are all so very different, but in Christ we are one. I’m thankful for hymns in three languages, and one heart. I’m thankful for Jesus, that the chasm was filled and we can commune so deeply with Him.