The partnership between MIW and Psalm Drummers has been growing gently over the past few years, so when the chance to head of on an adventure together to Chennai and Colombo I couldn’t resist! It is my hope that in working together we can create new dynamic expressions of worship that fill the air with rhythm and draw our eyes to the vibrant colours, sounds and movements that display the love of God wherever we go. On this journey God more than exceeded the things I had hoped for.
Everything was unfamiliar on this trip; the colours, smells, sights, even the roads and traffic were different and at times somewhat hair-raising. A walk to the local shops required my full attention as the cars, buses, motor bikes, tuk-tuks and people bustled everywhere while stray dogs and sacred cows weaved in and out scratching an existence. I loved Chennai, every trip out from the YWAM base was full of surprises and vibrant life as I walked or rode on the back of the motor bike to and from my host’s house. Curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner was quite challenging but the cooking was amazing and my host took pity on me and slipped me freshly baked waffles with dustings of icing sugar to keep me going! If only I could have brought these great cooks home with me to rescue my family’s taste buds!
Rhythm is a significant part of the culture in India and, most notably, in Sri Lanka where the impact seems to have been particularly deep. In the workshops we didn’t have the luxury of many instruments so we improvised buying buckets, sieves, spice grinders, cups, spoons and brooms to create our own instruments. Even the trees outside the YWAM base with their magnificent dried bean pods gave up their beautiful natural rhythms as I strained on tip toes to snatch a few for our improvised worship. We turned to the Psalms to inspire our music, using both English and in Sri Lanka the local language, ‘Sinhala’, to create cross rhythms. The MIW movers joined us and together we worked in harmony to lead and be led in worship inspired by the Holy Spirit. In this creative harmony we worshipped and prophesied together and in so doing experienced more of the power and freedom of God. It didn’t matter if someone had never played an instrument or danced before, we were all in it together and God was surely there and working in every heart with intensity.
The people we met in India and Sri Lanka received us with open hearts, ready to try new things and bring their beauty and creativity to everything we did together. I was struck by their openness as they shared their stories of life, prayed and worshipped with us and participated in our adventure. It challenged me to be more ready to speak about the amazing things that God has, is and will do in my life with greater boldness and eagerness. Our stories matter, in the telling and hearing of them we find God’s actions and can draw fresh hope and courage for the journey of life.
A key highlight for me was the new friendships that sprung up with the young people at the YWAM base in Chennai and in the school and churches of Sri Lanka. With just a few hours of training they willingly took up the awesome challenge to be part of a drum choir, standing up at the front of churches ranging from 40 to 10,000 people and worshipping God with their improvised instruments, passion and skill. I was sad to return home, leaving behind the brand new Psalm Drummers and movers of Chennai and Colombo. I know they will continue on their discovery and adventures in the heat, hustle and bustle of these two cities and the passion God has planted within them will continue to flourish. They have a mandate to display the love of God, it is a resounding call to come, see, hear and know the vibrant and dynamic love of Jesus Christ.