Do They Have Sin?
In one church in Africa, worship is announced through drums, “speaking” to those who have not yet arrived: “Hurry, the service is about to begin!” As the drumming continues, rattles and bells enter in, and singing starts. Often in a call-and-response style, the singing includes vibrato and improvised harmony. The congregation rises and moves energetically in celebration of their new life in Christ.
One newly arrived missionary joined in the celebration of song and dance. Others sat motionless, uncomfortable with the non-Western form of worship and unaware of the statement they were making through their refusal to participate.
The service ended and the believers surrounded the dancing visitor with expressions of welcome and thanks for worshiping with them. Then they asked, “Why don’t the others worship with us? Do they have sin in their lives?”
Apparently among these Africans only those who have sin in their lives find it difficult to enter into worship and dance.
Reprinted with permission from Krabill, James R. et al, eds. 2013 Worship and Mission for the Global Church: An Ethnodoxology Handbook. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 184.