It was like walking into a big living room, but with all the furniture turned the same direction. There were couches, bistro tables, pitchers of coffee and water—the necessary elements of family life—all warmly presented. I was an ocean and a continent away from home, and here was the body of Christ very much alive, very much in love with Jesus, very much attuned to the Word of God. The Dutch name for the church was Zolder—attic—but it was meeting in a basement! The church had started in the attic of a narrow canal-side Dutch house, but had outgrown that space and was now meeting in a basement.
We sang worship songs—many the same ones I was familiar with. We heard a report of recent mission activity. We had a greeting time and since we were clearly visitors, we were pounced on with smiling faces and firm handshakes and lots of questions. We gathered in small groups and prayed for some of the needs of the Body as listed on a PowerPoint slide. This was the church, conducted in English, in the heart of Amsterdam.
The sermon was presented by a young man who was interning as a pastor. His text was Philippians 2:1-11. He was visibly humbled to be preaching on a text that teaches humility, and he was clearly an incarnation of the truth of the passage. He was so real, so humble, so gentle. The character of shepherd was evidenced in every word he spoke.
I was reminded that the gospel goes to the entire world, that the church is a multi-cultural expression of Christ’s ingathering of His followers, that there are so many common elements when the same Lord is worshiped. Yet each culture, each people group, each area of the country or the world, stamps its uniqueness on the timeless Bride. I suppose it is like attending weddings in different cultures: many common themes, but with a unique twist.
The family living room feel was genuine. The Body of Christ was real. These were our brothers and sisters in Christ, worshiping the same God, the same Bridegroom. It was a privilege to worship together with this Zolder church!