The church is an enormous building with dual services -- one at 7:00, one at 10:00. The draw for the 7:00 service is that it has to end relatively on time thus cannot drag out interminably as the 10:00 is wont to do. The draw for the 10:00 (besides the later start time) is the choir. The sanctuary was only half in use while the other half was filled with scaffolding to put up a ceiling to improve the acoustics. Of the half used, only half was full. But appearances are important in Cameroon, so making a large church to make a good impression is a priority. (Hmmm, I guess looking at some North American churches, one might suggest we are not unfamiliar with this phenomenon.)

I was entranced by the music. Harmonies were strong but not overwhelming -- I was even able to hum along myself to a non-melody line here and there. The drums were great, the clapping is rhythmic (1,2,3,rest), many of the songs of the call-answer variety with a strong leader voice singing out a line and the congregation either repeating or giving a response line in the aforementioned full harmonies. Transitions between songs were signaled by a rhythmic clapping interlude. I couldn't keep up with the congregational singing, but instead sat and stood in silence, drinking it all in. The choirs were also lovely.

The message was about hunger keeping us from God. It took me a few moments to realize he wasn't talking figuratively. It was very interesting to realize I was hearing God's word preached from a very different perspective, a very different set of assumptions than my own. This will be a year to challenge my long-held opinions and my unconscious expectations.


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