The parade that moved me to tears

March 7, 2007 at 11:41 pm | Posted in Day 1: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, Laura | 3 Comments

Wow, where to begin? It was quite an afternoon. After some walking around in the sun and meeting new people from literally around the world (I met an awesome man from Malawi, and now I want to go there soooo bad!) we continued on with a Eucharist in a local parish with the people I mentioned in the above post. We took a bus ride that lasted about 40 minutes and arrived in what appeared to be a run down lower income community. There were chickens in the yard pecking at the ground, and small shops selling little trinkets on the sidewalks. It was a different experience to drive into. However, all of the sudden people were dancing. And I mean DANCING. Flags were waving that had the HOPE Africa logos on them and people were singing, waving, dancing, and shouting with joy at us. We were three buses of Anglicans coming to worship in this tiny town. And the whole town showed up. They lined the streets to welcome us. We stepped out of the bus and there was a parade there to lead us to our entrance. I broke into tears in about two seconds. There were two live bands of young adults playing their hearts out, and children were running up to us and hugging us. I got so many pictures (be sure to check out the flickr link on the sidebar when it’s up and running). The service was exactly how I expected it. Very lively with so much amazing singing and dancing, all the pomp and circumstance that we Anglicans love. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, gave the sermon and it was very nice. (If you want to know more about the sermon, feel free to ask. I just don’t want to go on about it here since it wasn’t a really moving or big part of my experience, but it was very interesting and thought provoking in an unusual sort of way).

It was not what I expected when I was able to take communion from Bishop Williams. I sat back down with Bishop Jim and said, “well I thought that experience would be more touching. But really, I’d rather take communion from Howard Anderson.” I think Rowan was tired and sort of just going through the motions. All though I did get to talk to him at dinner, I sat right behind him in a tiny little parish hall that sat 100 people. He said to me “Minnesota huh? The land of Garrison Keillor!” I had to laugh.
So as I sit here reflecting on my day I’m not even sure what to write in the way of lessons I’ve learned in the past few hours. The world is a small small place, but I knew that all ready. I kind of figured this amazing continent would have abundant love. From all of the stories I’ve heard it has been of nothing but the welcoming faces South Africa has to offer. The stories are all true. And if I really dig deep down and meditate on what I’ve learned today I guess it would be this: We are all part of God’s choir. Sometimes though we ourselves sing a little too loud. Tonight Bishop Williams spoke about God knowing every voice in the choir. That prompted me to be quiet and just listen when singing the familiar hymns. And though the language was often different it was without a doubt the same song. And the voices of the whole Anglican communion made the most beautiful choir I’ve ever heard. So goes my mission for the week. I will continue to not always sing, but also to listen and be moved.

Arrival Day

March 7, 2007 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Day 1: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, Laura | 3 Comments

Well guys here I am. almost 40 hours after I started my travels I have arrived in Boksburg. As of this posting I have even gotten a full 6 hours of sleep, a shower, and I’ve brushed my teeth! Needless to say all is well. It’s about 1pm here and we are just getting ready for lunch. From the looks of breakfast the last thing I have to worry about here is going hungry. It is unbelievable. The food, the ethnicity of the people I am eating with, and the gathering of people from around the world who all share in the same mission. I am humbled and I am honored. I cannot wait to get things started. Today we are heading to a local church to celebrate communion with The Most Reverend Njongonkulu Winston Hugh Ndungane (the Archbishop of Cape Town), The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr. Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury), The Right Reverend David Beetge (Diocese of Highveld), and The Reverend Canon Nangula Kathindi (Anglican Church of Southern Africa). I know those names don’t mean a lot to many people but I’m feeling assured that this Eucharist will be breathtaking as well as be the beginning of my life changed.

I’ll be sure to start taking pictures to keep with my posts. The scenery here is second to none.  The air is fresh, the ground is lit up with all sorts of colors, and the sun is shining for the first time in months on my bare arms. Praise be to God!!!!

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