Sunday, 8 August 2010

What a Weekend

My last post described my immersion into the West Indian culture. That was Friday! On Saturday, I was immersed in Zimbabwean culture, presiding over the Blessing of the marriage of two members of their community, taking them into on to the great celebration of the Eucharist.

It went a little like this: a service scheduled to start at noon saw me sipping coffee at five-past as I waited for the congregation and couple to arrive. Worshippers started to arrive by quarter-past and promptly burst in hymns sung Shona-style.

I started the service at half-past twelve (not everyone had arrived even then). I opted to use the 'said' version of the service, but giving the Zimbabwean community the chances to embellish the Rite in their own way. My lot from Zimbabwe know how to be the beating heart of worship. As I said to them, their worship and praise go to my heart! We had two english hymns and two Shona hymns, but whenever there was a hiatus in proceedings, more choruses burst forth! 

I have no idea what they were singing about - but I was all the same connected. I knew  not what the words were, but I knew well what they meant. Amongst maracas, whooping, shreaks and screams, the harmony-perfect music was (and always is, in my opinion) the music made in heaven. Unaccompanied save for the Spirit, it is worship that entrances and intoxicates and adds to my view that in so many cultures there are such wonderful ways to make music to our Lord. The whole thing defied the lines and edges of english liturgy, but actually - in a way that made 'some old said Eucharist' quite the most spectacular act of praise you could witness.

It is of profound importance to me that what I offer as the adminstrator of any Sacrament is that the context of that Sacrament is seemly, fit for use and meaningful. That means (to me at least) that a West-Indian act of worship, a Zimbabwean act of worship or even a kid's act of worship be of them and for them. I know what is important to me in liturgy, but that is only for me - but to deliver Fr David's standard service to all - well, that is just unacceptable. So, as I said at the end of the service yesterday:

Mwari, Mweya Unoyera, ngaakusimbisei muchitendero nerudo, akudzivirirei kumativi ose, akutungamirirei muchokwadi nerunyararo, uye Chikomborero ChaMwari Baba, noMwanakomana, noMweya Mutswene zvigare nemi kubvira zvino dakara narini. Amen

...and apparently I got it right and didn't inadvertantly insult anyone.

In a world where we are all different, only in a world like that can we stand a chance of really knowing God. 

*This image was from my First Mass, a service also greatly enhanced by my friends from Zimbabwe 

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