I wish there was more to update y’all on. We are steadily moving forward on our goal of launching the community on February 1st of 2021, but for the past few weeks, the work has been hard to write much of an update on…
- Sent in most of what is required for my work permit
- Studied some about how the church helps people to grow, and how it grows itself… a branch of theology called missional ecclesiology
- Communicated with the QuadW Foundation about what our site in Tarime will look like and how they would like to partner with us
- Finalized our budget
- Spent a lot of time helping the East African refugee families through my part-time job here
- Spent a lot of time with my dear homeless friend Kevin Prouix, here at the Bonhoeffer House
One more interesting step is that I have finalized the plans for our initial devotional rhythms.
I say “initial” because I will invite the other five member of the community to modify them, and I don’t expect them to last more than three weeks. On the other hand, our opening devotional rhythms will be crucial for setting the tone for our devotional life. They keep telling me a first impression is a lasting impression.
So what are devotional rhythms that help Tanzanian young adults and American young adults to be intimate with God? What would help each culture to learn from the other culture’s way of connecting with God?
These aren’t easy questions, but I feel good about what we’ve put together:
- Sifa (One song)
- Sifa is a type of African worship where dancing is just as important as the singing. Short lines are repeated, so as to make the songs easy to remember- therefore no need for books, so we can focus on the dancing. (To see our refugee choir in Dallas do a few sifa tunes click here: Sifa)
2. Each person says a short prayer for the person to their left
3. End with the Swahili closing song “Tembea na Yesu”. This catchy Swahili song just means “walk with Jesus”, and will transition us to think about walking with Jesus as we go about the rest of our day.
- Center with the 3-step Welcoming Meditation
- Breathe. Feel what you are feeling as a sensation in your own body
- After a couple minutes, welcome that sensation. If the sensation is anger, for example… “Welcome, anger. Welcome, anger. Welcome, anger…”
- Think of your emotions as important, essential parts of you, all seated around a table. Address the emotion that is screaming for you attention, “I value you anger, and I invite you to take your place at the table.” Or more simply, “I have heard you, anger, and now I let you go.”
- (for more info click here: Welcoming Prayer Thomas Keating)
2. Go around the circle. Each person answers the question, “What is on your mind today?” We connect with God through connecting with each other.
3. All pray aloud, simultaneously.
Will this help the Tanzanian young adults to grow closer to God? What about the Americans? Will it help them to learn from each other? Will it set the tone for us to share ideas to improve on this and develop our own devotional life in the weeks to come?
It’s my best shot, and I know it doesn’t have to be perfect… at the end of the day, the more important fact is that God wants to connect with us. The title means “God who pursues us, hear our prayer.”