Sundays are special across the planet. Today we've had quite an experience worshipping with Christians in Greece; twelve nationalities were represented today in one room. Twelve. God is loved throughout the earth. There were congregational songs praising God in Greek, English, Russian, and Farsi. There was a young female trio (appeared to be pre-teens or teens) singing in Russian, sounding like angels from Heaven. It didn't surprise me to learn after the service that their mother is a musician; obviously, music is enjoyed and cherished in their home. Another group of Russian singers praised God in their native tongue; they came to Greece from Ukraine. A group stood to sing to God in Farsi; they were from Afghanistan, and although I didn't understand their words, their faces led me to understand their worship.
And if the worship service wasn't moving enough, there were two baptisms today - two men who came from neighboring countries who have been reading and learning from the Bible. They were glowing with joy and thankfulness, and their immediate families and their church family was there to celebrate with them today. It was beautiful.
In Greece, by the time the rest of us wake up, the bakeries have been long at work. After their ovens are free of pastries, they offer a service of cooking foods in their ovens for customers to pick up at lunchtime. So after the baptisms, we continued communing with each other by eating a meal from the bakery ovens because what's s party without food?! Fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, roasted chicken, pastitsio, stuffed tomatoes, bread, watermelon and other sweets - hit the spot. And then Debbie walked out with pretty chocolate cupcakes with white icing and sprinkles for her husband Dino's birthday (preacher)- he blew out the trick candles again and again! We sang again together as a congregation when a couple of our own students led songs that put a grin on everyone's faces. What a wonderful Lord's day!
Some students stayed in Athens after church, and the remaining of the crew crashed back at campus for a much needed rest day (or a catch-up-on-assignments day). It is a privilege to be a part of the celebration that is the Lord's day - wherever we are geographically. I pray that corporate worship for our students will never be the same after today's service and praise in Greece among people with so many diverse stories of their own faith. And we pray for you, friends in our own homeland, as your Sunday morning begins. We worship the same God and are heirs together even though we are from all parts of the earth. It's humbling and thrilling all at once. Happy Sunday to you, our loved ones who are part of our hearts no matter where our feet take us, and to the One who reigns on high forevermore and in whose arms we find peace. May your Sunday be blessed.