The prospect of leaving an American congregation and worshiping with my family at home was increasingly on my mind as our family prepared to move to Indonesia. It will be a while yet before we are skilled enough with the Indonesian language to be able to understand what is happening in the GKLI churches on Sunday morning. Their traditional structure of worship is wildly different from the Divine Service settings found in the Lutheran Service Book. So, we attend GKLI services on Sunday when we can, but we still need to worship together as a family at home in English. This is important for our family, especially for our children.
I was concerned that it wouldn’t feel right or that it would lack the power without all the voices of a congregation. Christ Jesus has shown our family that He is present in the Divine Service in our home just as He is present in the Divine Service of the congregations with whom we worshiped in America. It is not about the numbers, but about the Triune God who meets us with His gifts.
Do we miss the congregational life we had? Absolutely. Would we be worshiping at home if there was an English speaking Lutheran Congregation near us? No, we would certainly take advantage of such a congregation. In the Last Chapter of Matthew the Lord promised his disciples, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” He knew they would go out to the world. He knew they would be isolated. He promised to be with them. He promises to be with the whole Church on earth. He promises to be with us here in Indonesia. His presence is what matters and He is fulfilling His promise to us as He comes to meet us in his Word, through prayer, devotions, and most especially in His Divine Service to us.