Grace mic’d makes a beautiful sound.
At mosaicHouse, a church plant in Edmonton, Alberta, we worship with a multicultural accent. One way we do this is to ask people to lead the offertory song in their native tongue during Sunday worship service.
But one day at a worship planning meeting, our new praise team leader said, “Let’s try something else!” He thought we should invite people to come forward and say a short prayer in their native language. My first reaction—unspoken—was, “Well, that will never happen—even here.” However, reluctant to shoot down this rising star’s creativity, I acquiesced. “That’s a brilliant idea! Let’s go for it!”
So unconfident was I that I cornered two persons in the congregation and had them swear that they’d be the first ones to go up to the mic the following Sunday when I’d make an open invitation. Planting the seed, I may have said to these two new Christians, not versed in the Bible, something like, “Everyone in heaven prays in at least two different languages.”
Then came the following Sunday. Following our repertoire of praise songs, I went up to the microphone in the front and said, “Folks, in place of our usual congregational prayer by the pastor, we will try something new. Y’all get to lead it. Please come up to the mic and offer a prayer in your mother tongue. I assure you that the Lord can understand your prayer.” Then, taking a leap of faith, I sat down.
Nothing happened for what felt to me like a very long and awkward pause.
Then grace showed up. One Latino gentleman came to the mic and offered a prayer—a short prayer—in Spanish. At least, I am pretty sure it was Spanish. He then sat down. Not long after that, a Ph.D. student in the university came up to the mic and prayed very softly in Hungarian.
Next a young woman in her 20s came up to the mic and prayed in Malay. It turns out that this was her first visit to our church. She was followed by a Haitian woman who came up and prayed in Creole, which sounded like she was singing bel canto. Then a Korean man came up the mic and prayed. A woman in her 50s came up and prayed in English for her friends who were going through a tough time. To my knowledge she was not a Christian and had a very limited church background.
After she sat down, a second-grade boy came forward. He had to lower the mic way down. Then he put his hands in his front pockets and prayed in English. I don’t remember what he prayed for because by now I was holding back the tears.
Grace is always amazing. And when grace is mic’d, it makes a beautiful sound.
“The central element in communion with God is the act of self-surrender.”