Recently, Darlene Zschech and Don Moen, two veteran worship leaders and songwriters were invited to sing at the Vatican. They were the headliners at the Vatican's Renewal of the Holy Spirit rally representing the Protestant tradition. However, such an event was met with criticism from various Protestants who felt that the Roman Catholic Church should have nothing to do with the Protestants. Others felt that Zschech and Moen have betrayed their Protestant heritage by singing at such an event.
Zschech, who has been the worship pastor at Hillsong Church for many years and who is the writer of worship staples such as "Worthy is the Lamb" and "Shout to the Lord," has responded to the criticism. In her blog she writes:
"This invite to Rome was about many different denominations coming together to pray for the world we live in. To worship together, to announce the Hope of Jesus to all who will hear. Mark and I felt it was important to say yes this time.
So, I must say I was completely taken by surprise at the harsh and downright mean comments from Christians who criticised my involvement in the event without any understanding, without any knowledge of why or how I got to be there. Or why I even felt it was important to be present.
I was not there to judge, I was not there to become a Catholic, I was not there to sightsee. But I WAS there to lift up the name of Jesus.. without any hesitation or compromise.. for as I have learned over many years, that once Jesus is the centre.. anything can happen.
A message was preached about the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our midst, and about the great grace of God which we are all dependent. Pope Francis asked the crowd to declare loudly,'Jesus is Lord' three times and each time it grew in confidence and intention. Worship was lifted up which had the many thousands of people who attended all singing in free-flowing moments which to be honest, was reminiscent of a time I sang on a John Wimber crusade in New Zealand many years ago.
There is much I could say in this blog. I will say that it is sad when Christians beat up other Christians with words, and somehow think that it ok to do so. I will say that it is sad when we retreat to immature responses rather than being people of diligent prayer for ALL sectors of the church. The truth is that there are parts of every denomination that struggle with historical injustices, and I cannot even fathom some of the abuses and subsequent heartbreak endured due as a result of these actions.
But I also know that the word of God says that if people truly seek after God, they will find Him."