Day Of Rest

July 12, 2010 § 1 Comment

My first Sunday (night) service began with me sitting on the wrong side because I didn’t know the genders were segregated. Sometimes it’s a de facto habit in youth group, but I’ve never seen it willfully implemented before.

Preparing for service

Are Asian people always late? I thought it was just a stereotype cooked up by Asian Americans as an excuse for laziness, but it’s also about disrespecting other people’s time. The service started at 8PM with 13 people in the room: Half an hour later, all 100 chairs had been filled. I wondered how much these people have suffered for their faith in this country.

This weekly service is open to all of this factory’s workers as well as those of neighboring compounds. I wonder if the CCP ever care to check around here? Not a seemingly suspicious place.

Rows of chairs w/ hymnals

The power went out for a few minutes. Spiritual warfare? I wondered. In nearby buildings, lights still shone brightly. The initial time of worship was led by a couple of my students. Sometimes I forget that half of them are studying to be missionaries; it’s not something to take lightly.

Next, a woman who could’ve been Cat C’s sister went up to the podium for more worship and prayer, and then she began to give the sermon. This is the second time I’ve been in a completely Chinese church, and also the second time I’ve seen the congregation led by a female pastor. What would complementarians have to say about this? [Insert smirk.]

The power went out again briefly; she persevered and began her message in darkness. The passage of the day was the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. I was filled with wonder at hearing such a familiar story read aloud in Chinese.

The power went out again, and the ushers started lighting candles. Apparently this frequency of blackouts was not a common occurrence. I didn’t mind listening to her preach in the dark, actually. Without the whirring of air conditioning, the podium, lit only by a battery-operated desk lamp, had a more captivating quality. I wonder if she was a factory worker herself or a full-time pastor. Maybe she was from the Yiwu seminary?

I listened to facts that I’ve learned [and even taught] time and time again: Jews hated Samaritans, why the woman went to the well at noon, etc., and I felt filled with my daily bread. Finally, something comforting in this uncomfortable land.

She explained things carefully. The power went out once again. A man sitting in the back answered his phone. I wanted to smack him upside the head for lack of manners, but this kind of thing happened during class at HKU too. Chinese people…

“If Jesus lost one out of 99 sheep, he would leave the rest to search for that lost one. That might not make sense to us because if you already have 99 sheep, losing one isn’t a big deal is it? But if you had three children and lost one, wouldn’t you leave the two in someone else’s care to look for the missing one? This is the way Jesus looks after you.”

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