Last sunday I went to church.
That’s at least three times this year I’ve attended a church service. Not bad for a ‘non church goer’. I’ve always claimed that my spirituality lies in the comfort of my heart. I don’t go out preaching (though I do like a healthy constructive debate) and I’m open to other cultural forms of spirituality. I have to admit I had my reservations about attending a Protestant church. Not to discriminate but my idea of Protestant and what it is else where in the world are two different things as I discovered in Ethiopia. So Protestant is basically Pentecostal from what I can get from it.
Don’t get me wrong, singing and dancing is often the fun part of going to church. However when it comes to the word, I don’t appreciate it being shouted down my ears. I’ve never been able to connect with people who shout at me. Not my school teachers or being told off by my parents. I just zone out into lala land. The very place I’m trying to save myself from entering.
So I didn’t expect anything different in this small cosy Protestant church Patricia has been a member of since the age of 17. I sat and watched the congregation’s actions as they connected with the divine spirit lifting their hands to receive. I admired their connection with God. And all I could do was sit and wait for the service to end.
So the following tuesday when I was invited to church again, I could have politely declined with a valid excuse (such as writing a post for my blog! I am my own boss after all). But I took up the offer. And so did the group of lively South Africans Patricia was hosting in her humble abode.
This tuesday was different. Ok, so in many intervals the pastor would shout, and I’d squint my eyes shout tighter as though he were shouting directly at me. But in his calmer moments, he spoke softly and gently. I didn’t understand a word of what he preached but I was persuaded enough to lift up my hands and receive whatever blessings were being distributed. After all, I need all the help I can get.
My actions weren’t dramatic. I had my eyes shout, my hands shoulder height with my palms spread out. It took my a while to get into the zone (but little did I know I had all the time in the world. Service that day went on forever).
And then it came to me.
A sensational feeling of security and comfort. I was assured that where I was that moment was where I was meant to be. Whatever path I’d taken in the past- be it right or wrong, this is were I was destined to be at this very moment. And not just in Brazil. As in right here in the church, standing next to the lovely lady who gave me a welcome hug earlier, surrounded by Patricia’s 7 South African guests, right here in this Protetant church in Novo Igacu.
When and Where did you last find Spirituality?