Pentecost weekend sure was interesting this time of year. This Christian holiday has always been special to me. Pentecost takes place 50 days after Easter. About 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples of Jesus Christ. A lot of Christians also commemorate Pentacost as the “Birthday of the Church”.
Here in the land of wooden shoes and windmills, we have this annual amazing 4 days lasting Pentecost festival. I’ve been going to this special event for years now and each year again it is such a refreshment.
Thousands of people gather there from several different denominations, celebrating Pentacost, praising God. There are actual church sermons, there are several well known evanglistst and pastors there and there is lots of live music. I used to camp out with friends from church and we’d sing songs around the campfire, attend all the wonderful sermons they have set up throughout the Festival. Since a few years ago, I stopped camping out at this festival. But I do want to make sure to at least attend one of those days at the festival.
The weather wasn’t too great during the Pentecost weekend and since I am still kind of living la-vida-broka I feared that I would have to cancel my trip to the Pentecost Festival. But God is an awesome God. Because that week I was offered a quick assignment as a graphic designer. I had to make some promotional material for a special event and was paid in advance. Thanks to that, I could afford my trip and more.
And so Saturday I went to the Pentecost Festival, together with my mother and two friends. We had lots of fun traveling by train towards the area where the Pentecost Festival took place. At the Festival we attended an interesting workshop about the Holy Spirit. It was an eye opening workshop, with clear and transparent explanations. Just the way I like it. Afterwards we were treated on a free concert by Canadian Worship Leader Brian Doerksen and his band. He has written a lot of well-known Christian songs such as “Refiner’s Fire”, “Come now is the time to worship” and “Faithful One”. Songs of repentance and hope but also songs inspired by life with ups and downs and how God can lift us above those earthly feelings.
It was an inspiring day with lots of laughs and lots of fun. It was just what I needed to help me focus more upon the task that awaited me for the Sunday Service.
or Pentecost Sunday, I was assigned to be Worship Leader. The church band and I had practiced on a Thursday and I decided to introduce a bunch of songs that we hadn’t played before. Our church band has shrunk a little, but we are blessed with the few very gifted and eager musicians that are willing to stick around. They were enthused about the new songs and Sunday it felt as if they had been playing these songs for years. The worship part of the service was such a blessing. And so was the rest of the sermon. The Indonesian guest speaker took his place at the pulpit after me and had an inspirational message about Pentecost. The songs and his message matched perfectly. God inspired. So awesome.
After the service it was of course time for a nice warm Indonesian meal. Some people came to me, saying how much they enjoyed the worship service. One of the church elders even said he was so proud of me that it made him cry. It felt a bit awkward. I prefer it if people just say they love praising the Lord. But I must admit it was an honor to serve as worship leader on Pentecost Sunday and have people feel blessed. God is wonderful.
On Monday, our church choir was invited to attend a multi-cultural Pentecost event. We had only a few weeks to practice with the choir and were requested to sing something in our own language. My church represented the Indonesian community. We were the only Indonesian church that represented the Indonesian community at the Pentecost event.
It was a very special gathering, everyone dressed in authentic clothing from the country they came from.The event was held in a very large old church in the city of Zwolle. There was also a large Dutch choir and a two people of an African church present at the event. But the largest ethnic group that attended the multi-cultural event that day, were from lot of Armanian and Persian church choirs.
Most of the other choirs were either Protestant or Cahtolic, singing beautiful old hymns. My church members felt a little out of place because of this. Not only were we the only Indonesians there, our church is also of a complete different denomination. We consider ourselves Pentecostal.
The songs performed by the other choirs were all beautiful. There were 6 choirs performing in total, without my choir included. And they all sang songs with the same tempo and feeling. My church choir was the last one to perform. It almost felt like we were in a Sister Act movie. Because we were the only choir to sing upbeat and happy Indonesian and English gospel songs. It was a nice ending of a very special Pentecost event.
Afterwards, my own church choir decided to meet up for some hamburgers at McDonalds and chat. There we talked about our day so far and what we still had to prepare ourselves for in the upcoming days. This weekend we will have two services again. On Saturday we will have the Messianic Jewish community over for a special service. And then on Sunday ofcourse our own service.
I think it is great how other cultures seek to find contact among one another and join hands to look for what we have in common. In this case, it is that despite of our differences we all have the desire to serve the same God. What a blessing to be part of this.
Words fall short on me to describe more of what is going on in my life as a worship leader at this small Indonesian special church. Hopefully I will be able to write more about it some other time.
For now, I wish you all a wonderful day. God bless you and thank you for lurking.