One of the MANY blessings about serving the Lord in Uganda is the privilege of worshipping God with so many of His children. Ministry takes me to all kinds of different villages and churches. The church we most regularly attend, Mbale Church of Christ, is not too dissimilar to Christian Churches in America. Sure, there are songs sung in different languages and the sermon is typically translated into Luganda, but overall it feels more comfortable. They mix in familiar hymns and Western worship songs, the instruments are Western, and the “flow” of the service is more what we experience in America.
But in the village, things are different, unique, and special. We visit churches in different areas, and in Uganda, that means amongst different tribes: Iteso, Bagisu, Baganda, Sebei, Jopadhola, Banyankole, Rwandese, and many other areas. Each tribe has their own language with different sounds and flow, making even the words melodious. Tribes have different drums, which change the experience. And the churches have their own way of doing worship…elements, timing, order, length, etc. Sure, there are some constants (like the Lord’s Supper and preaching), but many churches create their own “order of worship” that works for them. And it’s beautiful!
We recently visited a church in Atesso region called Airog Church of Christ. The building is exposed mud-brick with a tin roof and dirt floor. It is about the size of my living room in America with people sitting on wooden benches and reed mats. And they have a unique instrument from their tribe called an “adungu,” which looks like a harp and guitar had a baby and plays all sorts of beautiful notes. They have small, soprano versions, but they also have giant bass versions which double as a drum. And worship is done with the loudest clapping you can imagine and it starts at your toes all the way to your fingers!
Last week we visited a gathering of nearby churches, which we call a cluster, at the Bumwangu Church of Christ. These five churches gather once in a month for joint worship, teaching, and fellowship over a meal. It is a way for them to remember they are NOT alone in seeking our God and strengthening one another. When we gather together, there are even more reasons to celebrate, rejoice, and dance for the Lord!
Over the past few years, I have been compiling videos from different areas during worship that you can view below. It’s not the same as being here (you should come visit), but it can give you a small taste of what we experience here in Uganda. It is a joy and blessing to join them in their worship!