March 2012: The Tear Stained Floor
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts
of joy! Psalm 126:5
8:00am, Sunday morning in Maputo, Mozambique.
The Women’s Xirilo (the women’s group of the UCC in Mozambique) gathered at the
Mavalane Church to welcome three new women into the Xirilo. These three women
made vows to be prayerful women of God, to wear their uniforms proudly and to
commit to serving the church. Rev. Maria “bloused” their stark white shirts
with a new belt and a blue bow. There was much singing and dancing in
After the sermon the Xirilo and deacons of
the church came forward, bowed down on their knees and began to pray out loud
together. I sat in my chair right beside where the people were bowed
down. There were some people whispering to God, others shouting, some solemn,
some crying, but all bowed down on both knees seeking…hoping…praying. I felt
uncomfortable and humbled sitting in my chair, looking at this wonderful act of
worship. I was challenged to think about my own prayer life while watching
sisters and brothers in Christ pour their hearts out to God. The power of
the Holy Spirit was so real, you could feel it moving and dancing among the
When this group of people quietly and
solemnly returned to their benches, there, where they had prayed, was a tear
stained floor. There were small puddles of tears on the floor where people had
been pouring out their hearts to God. To me this was evidence – evidence of God.
– evidence that the Holy Spirit was in this place. Soon those tears were dried
up with the movement of feet dancing, singing and celebrating again. But
the picture in my mind is still there…tears of God’s people poured out in
worship and prayer.
O God, when have I last had a tear stained
floor? When have I last poured out my heart to You and felt the Holy Spirit
dance among my prayers? It is time….it is time!
Jonathan and Dawn Barnes serve with the Mozambique Synod of the United
Congregational Church of Southern Africa, based in Maputo, Mozambique. Dawn
serves as an HIV and AIDS Coordinator and Jon serves as project and development