At the tail end of a long and glorious day in Cusco, watching Toy Story in Spanish on the hotel room TV (it’s either that or one of 94 different soccer games or replays of soccer games or descriptions and analysis of soccer games), looking at the dozens of pictures I’ve taken today, and reflecting on what our Lord has shown me in the traditional capitol of Peru.
I love worshiping our God in a Christian congregation planted by missionaries in a different part of the world. I love it because it reminds me every time that we serve and belong to a powerful God who truly reigns over this entire planet. I’m reminded up close that our God is praised every day in every language that exists. I’m reminded that our God is saving people, redeeming people, restoring people every single day in every country and culture there is. Our Lord is truly King. I’m reminded of that when I’m blessed to join other Christian disciples in celebrating that salvation, declaring him Lord over all, and worshiping him. What a blessing to belong to this God. What a joy to be the recipients of his matchless love and limitless grace.
Today, in a converted theater on one of the main strips in downtown Cusco that has no heat and barely any insulation, I felt the warmth of our God’s love and mercy. I experienced his grace and his hospitality. I exchanged greetings and hugs and laughs with people who have nothing in common with me except the truth that we have all been saved by a merciful God. And it’s so spectacular. I imagine the patience these Christians showed to me today is a reflection of our God’s patience with me every minute of every day. I know their hospitality is a reflection of the God who invites all peoples to his heavenly banquet table piled high with the best of meats and the finest of wines. I understand their love for me and my gringo brothers and sisters from Amarillo was put in their hearts by our God who lives there.
And the music. Man, the music. I don’t know Spanish. But I can sort of read it. And when we sing “How Great Thou Art” and “Firm Foundation” and “Sweet Hour of Prayer” together, in four part harmony, in Spanish, in a foreign country below the equator, it’s just plain powerful. It’s powerful. It’s the one people around the Lord’s one table. No barriers of language or culture, national borders or gender or age. It’s unity and harmony. It’s a foretaste, a divine glimpse, of what our God is doing in the world. We got to see it today. We got to experience it. God revealed himself and his plan to us today. He showed us. Again. Wow, what a blessing.
I saw Christ in Cusco today. He was present in every greeting and hug and pat on the back. He was there at the Meal. His Spirit was there in our songs. Christ is in Cusco. And he is being glorified and praised.
After lunch with the missionaries, our group of seven took in a downtown market and then spent an hour or so touring the ancient Incan Temple ruins upon which the Spanish built their cathedral in the 15th century. The Incan Dynasty began right here in the valley of Cusco and the perfectly chiseled and positioned 600 and 700 year old stones can still be found stacked ten or twelve high in many places. The Spanish cathedral here, which includes a rather large monostary and hosts regular mass and worship services every day, was built on top of the ruins of the original Incan structure and its system of arches and canals. It’s quite impressive. And beautiful. Just beautiful.
I didn’t see one lick of the Spurs game tonight. Looks like I didn’t miss much. Yuk.
We went back to Barton and Allison’s house for pizza and Incan Kola tonight and stayed later than we intended. Probably a little later than they would have liked. But we can’t help it. We’re inspired by their commitment to the Kingdom of our Lord. We’re encouraged by their selfless sacrifice for Christ and his Church. And we’re drawn to their infectious personalities and adorable little boys. They’re a joy to be with, an absolute joy. We ended the night by getting Barton and super-pregnant Allison, Gary and Jennifer, Lacee and Corinne in the middle of the living room and putting our hands on them and lifting them up to our Father. God is moving powerfully in Cusco through these wonderful young people. And this first leg of our trip has been a tremendous blessing.