To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Deuteronomy 10:14
A recent visitor to India Connection headquarters in Pune sends along a praise report:
I may not have reached the Third Heaven as Paul did, but when I was in India worshipping with the saints I came pretty close.
It all began as I walked across the street from the home where I was staying to a place called Pune Center, home of the Koinonia College of Theology (KCOT.in), where Sunday morning worship was about to begin for the believers in Jesus Christ that have chosen this place in Haveli-Chinchwad, India.
India is predominantly a Hindu nation with a mix of Muslims and Buddhists as well. These three faiths make up about 95% of the population. Sadly, it is a land where persecution of Christians can be severe and in many instances, when laws are broken, the people go unpunished. It is a spiritually dark nation, waiting for the Spirit of the Living God to open their eyes to their need for Jesus. But presently, the devil is controlling a vast number of people through his power of evil.
And make no mistake, this church, made up of just a portion of the entire KSOM building, exists in the midst of that darkness. But as John tells us (speaking of Jesus), “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Shining, reflecting His light, and standing firm in His power, the numbers against this tiny flock do not deter them, the enemy does not frighten them, his hostility does not weaken them, his discrimination makes no difference to them, and so, in the midst of spiritual warfare, worship will take place that the Light may overcome the darkness.
Now let’s go in together, as I would like us see the glory of God revealed in a place most of us could not find on a map, will never see, or maybe even pray or think about. But there is no “God-forsaken” place on this planet, and we shall see a reverence for Him that emanates from the very fact that He never left them or forgot them. They know He has been ever faithful, and it is their desire to thank Him, to praise Him, and to worship Him for the great gift of Salvation through His Son imparted upon them by His grace alone.
As we approach the building from the street, we see it is a multi-story facility made of brick, mortar, plaster, tile and other concrete products. We go inside and walk up the stairs and almost enter the room where worship to Adonai will take place. But we stop short and notice there are a couple of casually but appropriately dressed, bare-footed young men standing on a shiny, highly-polished terrazzo-like floor, for they have removed their sandals before entering the room.
I never asked why this was done because from the first day, at least for this room, I simply thought of what God said to Moses in Exodus 3:5: “And he [God] said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Now I know there may be customs these college-age men were following, or perhaps the removal of shoes allows the floor to last longer. I don’t know. But I do know that this room, all white, will shortly become a Sanctuary unto the Lord, and it seemed right to take our shoes off before entering.
Going in, we notice many window openings and a number of ceiling fans. (These combine to be what we call “air conditioning”.) Today, the room is cool, for it is early morning.
Because of the solid concrete products that were used to form the building and this room, there is a faint but noticeable echo. It’s not irritating at all, but it’s there. It’s not like yelling across the Alps and hearing your voice “come back”. No, it’s indistinct but evident; and surprisingly, it will take part in the adoration of our great God that is about to occur.
When the people assembled (maybe 20-25 or so) and began to sing, the echo quietly dissolved and the sound pleasantly reverberated and mixed in the room and out the windows. I have heard it before from outside. It sounds beautiful. There is perfect pitch and it sounds like a choir of hundreds. It is like there is a large Public Address System reproducing the sound, but it is only the voices of those 25 people singing loudly and proudly to the King of kings. I thought, the sound and beauty of the music and the lyrics must be so sweet to the Lord.
To me, it propelled me to a place I have never been while in church. These worshippers of the One True God have no inhibitions about who might be hearing them; actually I am convinced that they want men and women of all faiths to be drawn to this God who is receiving all these praises. That someone may hear this beautiful sound and come into the Sanctuary to hear the Word of God is probably their desire.
No choir, professional or otherwise, has ever sung more beautifully than these 25 believers. Their hearts opened and their lungs filled with air and they sang as though they had been ushered into the very Throne Room of God; as though God Himself had requested this group to praise His name. And maybe, just maybe, the angels that never stop antiphonally singing Holy, Holy, Holy to the Lord God Almighty, turned their heads to listen. It was that beautiful. And this small flock of sinners saved by grace must have pleased Him.
Sooner than I would have ever wanted, the praise ended. For it should have gone on as long as their voices would hold out, and then perhaps a bit longer-if it would have been possible.
Heaven had just opened up to hear true worshippers sing unto the One who saved them and is worthy of all praise. And He received what He and He alone deserves: highest glory to His name, the Name above all names.
And the people that live nearby and the men and women walking, and the children playing in the streets, heard a sound that was almost beyond what is possible from a human voice. Perhaps God had sent some of His heavenly Angels to assist in the praise, I don’t know. But I suspect I will have to get to heaven to hear it again.
I could not stop my tears thinking about how much God had given up for everyone in the room, including myself, and how this praise, filling His ears, must have blessed Him so.
It was now time for the speaker, but the message had already been delivered.
To God be the glory.