The Tear Stained Floor…
8:00a.m., Sunday morning, Maputo, Mozambique. The Women’s Xirilo (the women’s group of the UCCSA Mozambique) is gathering at the Mavalane Church near the airport.
8:00a.m., Sunday morning,
Maputo, Mozambique. The Women’s Xirilo (the women’s group of the UCCSA
Mozambique) is gathering at the Mavalane Church near the airport. They are
celebrating a special day where three new women will be “bloused” into the
Xirilo. These three women will take vows to be prayerful women of God, to wear
their uniforms proudly and to commit themselves 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 to celebrate!
After the celebrations,
offering and 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. Our kids also sat beside me, mouths gaped open wondering what
was going on. I quietly explained to the kids that they were praying together
and still they sat in amazement. There were some people whispering to God,
others shouting, some solemn, some crying, but all bowed down on both knees
I felt uncomfortable I,
sitting in my chair, looking on at this wonderful act of worship. I felt
humbled. I was challenged to think about my own prayer life while watching
sisters and brothers in Christ pour their hearts out to God. We have been learning Portuguese, the
official language of Mozambique, but I so wished I understood Xitshwa (the
local language used in the UCCSA churches here) so I could hear the prayers of
the people and know their needs and hearts like God. The power of the Holy
Spirit was so real, you could feel her. She was moving and dancing among the
And when this group of people
quietly and solemnly returned to their benches, there it was. The tear stained
floor. There were small puddles of tears on the floor where people had been
pouring out their hearts to God. Right there in front of me. Evidence. Evidence
of God. Evidence that the Holy Spirit was been in this place.
And 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.
When last have I had a tear
stained floor? When last have I poured out my heart to God and felt the Holy
Spirit dance among my prayers? It is time….it is time!
Rev. Dawn Barnes
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 officer.