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Sunday Worship

Today I worshipped at the Ukrainian church in Krakow. What an amazing experience. Several things stand out. Firstly, they crammed 114 people and a praise n worship band into a space of about 800sq ft. It is a very small, rented office space with the only signage being a small handwritten sign in Ukrainian with the name of the church taped to the front door. They have no real 'church house', but boy oh boy... do they ever have a church!

Secondly, is how and why they do their 'meet n greet'. You know how many churches take a minute or two at the beginning of each service for congregants to meet their neighbor in the seat next them. We also may ask perhaps for a show of hands of any visitors that day and give them a short "Welcome" and "Thanks for being with us today." These folks do that as well. However, they start by asking how many of them have just arrived from Ukraine. Today, 7-8 of them had just arrived within the last week. Then, they greeted them with a very special welcome, reminding them that at least for the period of today's worship service before they continue on their journey, that they are at home. Then, they worshipped together with a unity I have seldom witnessed.

The third thing, in light of the above, will take just a moment for you to fully grasp the context. Consider the new arrivals. Consider the fact that many of the others have arrived only in the last month from myriad locations across the country. It is a hodge-podge conglomeration of people from all walks of life, many different places, and various denominations of the faith. They jad their lives, their own homes in suburbia, their profession and their 'stuff'. But many of the people worshipping today have been bombed out of their homes, some coming out of cities under siege in the east and south of Ukraine as well as from Kyiv. They have lost their jobs, their cars, their bank accounts and homes. In some cases they have escaped by night from their besieged cities. In all cases they have traveled extensively and creatively to arrive halfway across their country or more just to get to the border. Their life savings and entire life's belongings are in a rollaboard, a backpack or a bag. They have left EVERYTHING else behind. There, that's the context, and yet the first thing they do is take the time to fellowship with other believers. Their souls yearn to be fed by the spirit in the way possible only thru worshipping and fellowshipping with other believers! They refuse to do it via zoom or online because they know communion with others strengthens all the members present. They demand to do their part, even when they have seemingly lost everything. I can only dream that the entire church worldwide would worship like these people did today. Already today, after church, some continued their journies westward. And this 'westward' is not like the manifest destiny of "Go west, young man!" of US history. This is a "go westward" to save yourself, not knowing if it is for a short while or for a new life!

What a priviledge to be with people like this. People who intentionally put a pause to the chaos in their lives. People who demand of themselves to physically come together in praise and worship to our Lord in communion with others. People who refuse to continue their pilgrim journey without such communion with unknown brothers and sisters before they carry on their way. Amazing! Folks, our church in America needs to learn from this. THAT is the importance of regular fellowship!

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