yes I am back at Starbucks. Two thursdays ago though, I was not. I was among 7,500 other twin-citians getting their hearing dulled by the sound of vibrating strings, tapped white and black blocks and the rhythmic breathing into microphones. ok, ok, ok I was at the Mariucci Arena for UNITE.
On the National Day of Prayer there was an event held down on the U of M campus for those in the surroundings areas calling for revival in the Twin Cities. There was a speaker, some worship and time to pray for the city, schools, the nation and the world.
It was a really incredible night. Obviously it was cool to be there to worship alongside the leadership of Hillsong United; I think considered the most popular Christian Artist right now. (alongside Hillsong that is)
As you look through the pictures of this event and even watch the videos, think about the underground churches all over the world. As I stood worshiping the Name above all Names, I couldn’t help but think how wild it was to be praising the King of Kings next to 7500 believers. Only because I’ve heard more about the underground church in China than anywhere else, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
There was a BLINDING flash in front of me at one point in the concert and I looked down to see a female taking a picture of her friend who was Asian. When he said “cheese” he held up the “peace” sign. I giggled because growing up my family hosted Japanese students each summer and they always held up the “peace” sign in pictures. It made me first think of those students we hosted but followed to press my mind with the underground church in China. I have no idea if he grew up in the United States or in an Asian country but I thank the lord for whatever kind of reminder it was to ponder the underground church.
I stood there and watched how many people were in that room. Wether those people were looking for an emotional or spiritual high due to the loud powerful music and cool light show or they came to see Nick Hall speak, or they love the popular song “Oceans” by Taya Smith. They were all there singing to Jesus.
A friend of mine once told me that Matt Chandler, A well known pastor at the Village Church from Texas. I was told that when he went to China recently, He gave a sermon the response he got was baffling. He wasn’t preaching at a church that was totally underground per se but it was protected and mildly secretive (hey have to be, China is a closed country.) They would not let Him stop, He ended up preaching on the book he was teaching from for 5 hours!
I thought about those people and how I probably couldn’t fathom what they would give up just to be at event like UNITE. I have no idea how small or big underground churches are, I’ve never been to one but I’m going to guess no more than 30 people in a little room, if that. The reason I guess that number is because if it were any bigger, it would be found and its very difficult to hide that many random people coming together when the government is watching you. Can you imagine the joy on the faces of those who have only ever experienced the underground church to be brought to an event where seven thousand some people are openly worshiping Jesus?
I cannot fathom that kind of Joy. Thats the kind of joy I seek to find as I move overseas to share the love of Jesus with people who are shunned for believing in Him. People who can be abandoned by their families for trusting in Him. People who are beat up for having a bible. That kind of Joy doesn’t come from anywhere else.
Hold up that peace sign and think of that unspeakable Joy.
Here are the videos:
I’m sorry these pictures aren’t good, I took them with my phone from pretty far back.