Pastor's Diary: Worship In The Early Morning

On the morning of Easter Sunday, the pastoral staff of Hangzhou Sicheng Church read the Scripture in relays.
On the morning of Easter Sunday, the pastoral staff of Hangzhou Sicheng Church read the Scripture in relays. (photo: Screenshot)
By CCD contributor: EnzeMay 11th, 2020

As the sky lightened in the East, and the rising sun reflected its first golden rays on the tall cross on the church bell tower, I finished washing and walked into the church. The believers had not yet come, and the church looked so empty and quiet.

A few sparrows landed on the window sill, peeked through the glass, and looked curiously into the church. I came to the altar in front of the church, knelt down, prayed for the morning prayer meeting and the pastoral work of the day, and asked God for guidance. Just after half past six, believers begin coming to the church in twos and threes. Some of them hum hymns quietly, and some silently pray, approaching God in their own way. I put on the liturgical white robe and the green belt according to our church’s tradition. Everything is ready.

The morning prayer meeting started at 06:45. I walked slowly up to the altar as the music played and stretched out my hands: "May the Lord ’s grace and peace be with all you brothers and sisters." "Amen," the believers responded. Then, the singing, the prayer, Bible reading, and the preaching all took place as planned.

Finally, the morning prayer ends with the blessings of "May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the blessing of our Heavenly Father, and the touch of the Holy Spirit be with you always." The believers stepped out of the church in twos and threes, but some believers did not leave immediately. They gathered in small groups in a corner of the church, praying for each other and sharing with each other. I stood at the gate of the church with a smile, watching the brothers and sisters leave.

These things are a part of my daily life. I am a pastor of a church with more than 500 people. The church was built more than 100 years ago and was affiliated with the Anglican Church. At that time, the missionaries came to this small town that is surrounded by mountains on the outskirts of Yanjing and sowed the seed of the gospel in this land.

After graduating from seminary, I was sent here by the provincial CC&TSPM and took charge of the pastoral work. In the past 15 years, I have witnessed the prosperity and development of the church, experienced the separation and death of believers, answered questions that made people laugh and cry, and also gave directions to the lost sheep.

During these 15 years I have settled down, gotten married and had children. In 15 years, I changed from a 20-year-old young theological student to a middle-aged uncle. I have experienced 15 years of pastoring in the wilderness. I don’t know even what it’s like, perhaps only God knows it best …

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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