A couple of Sundays ago I was invited to a celebration time for the baptism of several new believers in one of the new Guayaquil house churches. I had attended their baptisms a few days earlier but now they just wanted to have a party and celebrate--and celebrate they did!
Just before dark, about 20 of us gathered out under an open patio and had a time of open singing and sharing with one another. People spoke out freely testifying what Jesus meant to them. 2-3 spoke words from the Scripture. Those who had been recently baptized were called up one by one and given baptism certificates. Photos were taken, hugs were given, and as each received his certificate everyone clapped and cheered for the person who had now become their new brother and sister in Christ.
This was followed by the first Lord's Supper for most of those present. Mini Ritz crackers and local brand koolaid did nothing to detract from the solemnity of the occasion as many knelt in prayer on the ground. Several had tears in their eyes.
What got to me though, was what happened next. It began to rain. There was no shelter except for a tiny piece of tin that only 3-4 could stand under (I was one of them!) Instead of the rain spoiling the party, the boombox was turned up LOUD. Two of the younger men began to dance in the rain. They were soon joined by a couple of others. Everyone was soaked by then, but who cared? There they were, splashing around in the pouring rain with the rest of us clapping and cheering them on. Laughter and singing was on the lips of everyone as the dancers stretched and jumped and twirled on the ground to the beat of the music.
At first my conservative upbringing caused me to recoil at such indecency going on--in church! But these were new believers, most only a few months old in their faith. What they were doing was expressing their uninhibited joy and love of the Lord who had saved them. It seemed totally inappropriate to do anything but worship with them! Didn't Jesus himself say that there is more rejoicing in heaven over ONE SINNER who repents than ninety-nine righteous? After a few moments it dawned on me that no one was more pleased than Jesus Himself! He is the One who had come to earth and died so that their sins might be forgiven. Their life now has purpose and meaning. Why not laugh, shout, clap, and dance in the rain?