What It Really Means To Worship

February 4, 2011 | 26 comments

Today, I am honored to host Duane Scott as a guest author here at Getting Down With Jesus. He and I are both a part of The High Calling network and have traded posts this week at one another’s blogs.

Here’s Duane — son of a missionary, twentysomething Midwesterner, newlywed, storyteller, friend of Jesus.

(Duane, an honor, truly, to have you here…)

A goat peeked from behind the pulpit.

He was just a little guy, standing there with big eyes, watching us while we worshipped.

“Yenom rico Zion,” we sang, “We’re marching to Zion.” Our voices didn’t blend. Some of the church members were two words ahead, others began clapping slightly out of sync, and one elderly man on the front bench sang only monotone, providing a persistent low humming noise. And as far as I could tell, he never took a breath.

Judging by the goat’s wide eyes, he also thought our singing sounded horrific.

I squirmed uncomfortably on my wooden bench. Trying to avert myself from the curious goat, I glanced at my flip-flop clad feet, and traced my toe in the soft dirt floor. “What would my friends back home in the States think of this?”

A lizard took a gander through the open window next to me. For a moment, I was mesmerized by the bob-bob-bobbing of its head, then noticed how the scaly creature was invading my personal space, so I startled it away with my hymnal.

“Yon copo coro fefe nome.” I translated the words in my head while I sang. “That beautiful city of God.”

The song finally ended in a ginormous heap of chaos, as each member tried holding out the last note like the missionary had taught them.

The missionary, my father, then stood to deliver a simple sermon. He chased the goat from the building, tapping the little guy on the rear to steer him toward the outdoors. The goat bounded toward the outdoors, possibly in search of a bridge with a troll under it.

“He just spanked a goat in church.” The laughter escaped my mouth in a whoosh, half-snort, half-guffaw, then followed by an embarrassed chuckle. The natives smiled at me, then turned their attention back to the missionary.

“That city we were just singing about…” the missionary began, dramatically accenting his words so the members could understand, “We all want to go there, right?”

“Amen.” The elderly man on the front bench loudly offered his testimony.

I tuned out the message. Instead, I watched the chickens through the open door. They pecked at the dirt around the fire pit, probably eating bits of yam from the previous evening’s meal. I watched a few children kicking a torn soccer ball back and forth. A lady passed by carrying a bucket of water on her head.

When the message ended, I turned my attention back to what was happening within the concrete walls.

The elderly man, the one whose monotone voice ruined every song, the one whose resounding “amens” interrupted my daydreaming, stood and shuffled to the pulpit.

For a moment, he stood there in silence.

Then the tears pooled in his eyes. They glistened against his dark skin as they trailed down his weathered face. Eventually, he opened his mouth to speak, but no words would come. More tears fell from his chin, landing solemnly on the earth floor. Finally, he held his shaking hand to the crowd, “Bra Yesu nykɛn, I Come to Jesus.”

Today, we sit in padded benches worshipping in magnificent buildings with high cathedrals, wearing our finest clothes. We hide our feelings behind a mask of perfectionism, build walls around our insecurities, sing in perfect harmony, and yet…

I’m worried sometimes we forget to come to Jesus.

-Duane Scott

Find Duane Scott’s blog here.
Follow him on Twitter.
Keep up to date on his writing at the
Scribing the Journey Facebook page.

by | February 4, 2011 | 26 comments


  1. HisFireFly

    Dead on!

    It is really so much simpler than we make it, isn't it?

    Well done, as usual Duane

  2. Tony

    Wow, this is SO good. I love your writing Duane.

  3. deb colarossi

    deep sigh,
    thank you for this.

  4. growup318.com

    Amen. This could not have been said any better that you said it. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Dusty Rayburn

    Not that I would expect any less, but excellent!

    I had similar experiences as a MK in Mexico…except it wasn't goats, it was pigs and dogs.

    But there was a heart and desperation for God that I sometimes am hard pressed to find in the comforts of my current location.

  6. Shaunie Friday--Up the Sunbeam

    You have asked the REAL question here and one that I have lamented so often. When we put on our masks to go to church, we fail to BE the church. If we can't be as real and candid as the precious soul in your story, and just simply, openly, "come to Jesus" we'll miss the whole point of worship.

    You have illustrated this so beautifully! Thank you!

  7. Megan Willome

    Now that's a church that I would go to, goats, chickens and all. Much like Jennifer's Polly Pocket post on your blog, it looks like Jesus hangs out in missionary churches where people really need him.

  8. S. Etole

    Excellent, Duane …. just excellent.

  9. Lori

    Simply beautiful…..WOW it is as if I were there, and I would have been laughing with you at the goat, I love goats! Lori

  10. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    I can't shake the image of that monotone-voiced man, with tears in his eyes and strength in his convictions.

    What a beautiful post, Duane. And you have such a beautiful heart — or maybe since you're a guy, I'm supposed to say you have a "handsome" heart. 🙂

    Anyway, I'm just grateful you shared here. You're a terrific storyteller, with a heart for the Lord.

    May God continue to bless you in your powerful ministry of words. Thank you for sharing them here!

  11. Jeanne Damoff

    Lovely! This is so good. Thank you, Duane and Jennifer.

  12. Duane Scott

    A special thank you first to Jennifer, my fellow Iwegian, for allowing me to appear on your blog. You inspire me all the time to keep seeking Jesus, in every small thing of life. When you asked me to write, it was as if God handed me a note saying, "If both Jennifer Lee and I have confidence that you can write, then why can't you have confidence in yourself?"

    I must admit that each time God tells me, "Pick up a pen. Let's write"… I tremble. And I doubt myself.

    What I've learned is when I doubt myself, I doubt God. So, thank you, for reminding once again to commit each and every word I write to Him.

    And now a Thank You to each person that has read this piece. Your encouragements are appreciated, and to those of you that I don't know, I hope to connect with you. Any friend of Jennifer's is a friend of mine.


    Duane Scott

  13. Julie

    So beautiful…so true.

    Thank you so much to the both of you!

  14. Kelly Sauer

    simple, profound, so, so poignant.

  15. jasonS

    Really is beautiful. What honestly came to mind as I finished reading this (and I don't mean it as a joke) is "it don't mean a thing if you ain't got the King." 🙂 Thanks DS.

  16. melissabrotherton.com

    That's all that really matters in the end, right? Thank you for leading us to Jesus today, Duane. 🙂

  17. A Simple Country Girl

    What an awesome word-weaver you are, Mister Duane. And for some reason the spanked goat comment sticks with me. Maybe the behind whack was really meant for us all?


  18. lynnmosher

    Thank you, Jennifer, for having Duane. I always love reading what he has to say.

    Duane, your writing has taken a turn into a new path, a path more beautiful than before. Such a touching piece. Thank you! (PS I think that new wife is a great influence on you! LOL)

    Blessings to you both!


    Beautiful piece

  20. nance marie

    cool story.

  21. Michelle DeRusha@Graceful

    Oh my gosh, Duane, this is an incredible story. You drew me in with your details. I felt like I was there, sitting on the hard wooden pew, within the concrete walls. Amazing. What a powerful message.

  22. Laura

    This is just beautiful, Duane. I hope we will hear more stories from this time in your life. Thanks for inviting Duane over, Jennifer! Sure was a great visit.

  23. spaghettipie

    Duane, Thanks so much for your post – I loved the imagery and the reminder. But to be honest, I'm not sure if it's the post or your note in the comments which will stick with me longer. So much wisdom in what you said there too.

    Jen – Thanks for introducing me to a new blogger to read!

  24. Rose

    Amen, we over complicate worship when really all we need to do is show up and PRAISE HIM. Thank for sharing!

  25. Sandra Heska King

    Oh, Duane. God's gonna use you big. He already is.

    I come to Jesus. Daily.

  26. Ann Kroeker

    I'm so intrigued to find out more about your MK upbringing, Duane! I need to dig a little deeper and figure it out at your blog.

    With memories like those, you have endless, outstanding writing material!



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