Some subjects are by nature very broad; taking a class on Global Church History is like swimming in the ocean. We both are finishing an intense 5 week course online, part of Cru's standard training. The history of how the church spread from Jerusalem on Pentecost to the ends of the earth is interesting, but what is also fascinating is the variety of expressions of the Christian faith that exist. Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, to the younger Pentecostal movement all look different as they meet new cultures and each culture translates faith in Christ into their own lives. There are three writing assignments, the last of which is to visit a church service that is significantly different than our own and reflect on the experience. We decided to go to services at both the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Paris. Wow, was it ever foreign to us! The icons, the ornate chandeliers and candelabras, the abundant use of incense and the solemn processions carrying the golden Bible and communion elements felt steeped in history and tradition. Did it help me worship God? Yes and no. One thing that is really impressive is their attitude: devout, reverent, humble and quiet. They stand the whole service, crossing themselves and bowing, worshipping God, not being entertained. When did you last feel that kind of reverence, like you should kneel before your sovereign king and savior? That is an appropriate posture to have, and it was in a way refreshing to see even though our legs were tired after standing 90 minutes. When the curtain is pulled back and we worship God in heaven, I hope it does not feel foreign. I do not doubt that reverence will be a prevailing attitude.
We're celebrating 27 years of marriage today, as I write this. What an adventure it has been, starting with the beauty of Glacier National Park for our honeymoon to France where we live now. Our work with Cru has given us the opportunity to see at least 24 countries. Like the experience of visiting an Orthodox church, it has opened us to other cultures and stretched us. Thank you for partnering with us as we work to help spread the gospel in France and around the world. It's a privilege we don't take lightly.
Speaking of adventure, Efrem is currently in Canada at a flute festival. Yesterday in a masterclass he played for Emmanuel Pahud. If you're not familiar with concert flutists, this would be like taking batting lessons from Aaron Judge. He will be there for two weeks, and it's a great opportunity. Efrem will also attend the Crescendo Summer Institute in Tokaj Hungary this summer. A ministry of Cru, Crescendo is such a positive influence in the lives of musicians.