One of the greatest joys I experience in my travels is worshipping God on Sunday mornings in different countries. This summer, I was on a trip for Eastern European Mission (EEM) to observe distribution of Arabic and Farsi Bibles to refugees. In anticipation of the annual Million Dollar Sunday contributions from our Christian donors, EEM printed over 100,000 Bibles in these languages for seekers on the “refugee highway “ trying to escape from the Middle East.
My spiritual highlight was attending the Glyfada church of Christ in Athens both on Sunday morning and evening. Athens is a melting pot of many people of different nationalities. With the troubles in the Middle East, which caused a massive amount of refugees, we had people from Egypt, Iran, Ukraine, Croatia, Czech Republic, Austria, Greece, and the USA.
The message taught this day from Dirk Smith of EEM was that Love is indeed the best and the identifying mark of Christians in the world today. It is especially appropriate for what seems to be happening here in Athens as this church is reaching out in love to everyone, especially Muslims who have been displaced due to atrocities in their homelands.
One of the most memorable moments was the Lord’s Supper. No event in worship does more for bringing God’s people together in oneness than remembering God’s amazing grace and love expressed through His gift of Jesus’ life for our sins and salvation. Four brothers in the church were asked to come stand up front and lead a prayer together. Each prayed in their native language—Russian, English, Croatian, and Arabic. This was such a powerful reminder–in a church of many cultures, languages, and races—that there indeed is no more “Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female but all are one in Christ Jesus.” This event transcends all boundaries and unites our hearts in one common love and purpose.
All though we had native speakers of Greek, Farsi, Arabic, Croatian, Russian, and English, we all spoke the language of love. As I think back on this experience, my mind goes to a saying by my friend John Simms, a long-time worker in Ukraine, who often says about Christianity in action, “All this, and Heaven Too!”
Contributed by Bob Burckle, President of Eastern European Mission.