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Worship in Phayao

01/14/2011

One of the questions we are always asking ourselves is, “What could Christian worship look like in Phayao, Thailand?” We desperately want Phayao Christians to ultimately make decisions about worship, but we have to start somewhere. Thus, we have tried to think about the context in which Christian worship makes the most sense, particularly since Thai people, in general, do not engage in corporate worship of one god. There are aspects of the temple life that we could draw from and transform into Christian worship. This would mean an emphasis on such things as sacred space, ritual, and art. The other context we could draw from is the common practice of neighbors and friends sharing meals together at each other’s homes. This puts more of an emphasis on community, fellowship, and sharing a meal together. (There might be other contexts in the culture we could draw from, but these are the ones on which we have focused.)

With that in mind, we have decided to begin this period of inviting people to Sunday gatherings by meeting in our homes. While we recognize that there are possible cons to this approach (i.e., a possible de-emphasis of ritual, etc.), we feel that this is the best context to develop indigenous expressions of community and worship.

Thus, over the past few months we have been rotating our gatherings between the different homes of our team members. This hopefully encourages our various neighbors to feel more comfortable coming to worship with us for the first time.

We typically spend the first part of the morning in corporate worship. Some Sundays we sit in a circle on the floor. Others we sit in chairs and on sofas. And others we sit in rows facing one direction. Some services we emphasize fellowship and sharing. Others we emphasize meditation and prayer. And others we follow a prepared liturgy. We end our time of corporate worship by transitioning into the Lords’ Supper, which we eat together as a meal. The hosts of that Sunday prepare a Thai dish for everyone to share. This has been fun because it has encouraged our team members to try making new foods. Ann recently made two new dishes (boiled chicken over rice and panang curry pork), and both were really good. Our hope is that, while some neighbors might not initially feel comfortable coming to a worship service, they might want to come eat and fellowship with us.

We continue to think about better ways to do Sunday gatherings. For example, we are going to try meeting in the evening because most shared meals are in the evening. Plus, more people are free at that time. We would love your prayers for our Sunday gatherings, that they would bring glory to God, draw people to Jesus Christ, be led by the Spirit, be appropriate for our context, and promote inclusivity of all people. May His name be lifted higher than all other names.

This is a picture of a Sunday morning in our living room.

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2 comments

  1. The Holy Spirit is working mightily in your lives! I am amazed at the goodness of God … as usual. I love you all and thank God for you.


  2. That sounds beautiful! We continue to pray for all of you.



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