Today we started the day by going to the Sunday service at CuCu’s church. They greeted us with singing in Swahili and we joined in as best we could. We learned the tunes and the dances they performed, and it honestly felt silly at first to be dancing, jumping, and singing with the local people very loudly. But it eventually didn’t feel that way; it felt joyful and happy and I felt God’s presence all the same. I realized that if God lets us feel peace and joy and happiness when we worship, then feeling silly and being able to laugh in worship is something that God wants us to feel too. After all, God does have a sense of humor. While I was warming up to this way of worship, I appreciated that the best worship is whatever worship brings you closer to God, and I am growing closer to God by singing and dancing with new people.
The sermon was also powerful because it was very honest and relatable. We talked about pizzas, the boogie man, and how to catch a monkey with a glass bottle. First, to be fulfilled is not to have more things or to always get the newest and greatest thing, but to be grateful for the things God has already given you, which is similar to eating only two slices of pizza and feeling good after instead of two whole pizzas and feeling very bad afterwards. The second point made was that when we were growing up as kids, we were scared that the boogie man or whatever monster you can think of would come get us, but eventually we realized that the boogie man wasn’t coming because he isn’t real. But God IS NOT the boogie man! Just because God’s judgement does not come immediately does not mean that he isn’t there, and we should not give into whatever is tempting us just because his judgement is not immediately apparent to us. Lastly, you probably haven’t ever tried this, but to catch a monkey, you put food in the bottom of a glass bottle, and when they reach in and grab the food, they cannot pull their hand out with the food because they won’t fit, and then you have caught the monkey because the monkey will not drop the food. When we give into temptation and grab onto whatever it is that looks so good in that moment, the only way for us to get free is by dropping the beautiful poison we have found and ask God to guide our hearts and hands instead.
We closed the service with more songs and prayers and following the service we went to CuCu’s house to celebrate her 94th birthday! We ate and we sang and danced some more in celebration of CuCu’s long and beautiful life. In the evening we returned to the Tocco’s campus where we ate and sang a full concert with the Lake Nakuru Choir. After all the dancing and singing, I can say that I got my steps in for the day.
Today was a beautiful and exhausting day. It was surprising and awesome to get to see firsthand how God, love, and joy are the same in every person all around the world. Dr. Zeiss got to say a few words at the beginning of today’s service that I think summed today up very well: “There is no man or woman, Christian or Jew, Kenyan or American; we are one in Christ.”