Tuesday 3 April 2012

Grounded By The Heart of Worship

An altered Sunday
On Sunday, just as I was about to step out of church I was co-opted into a prayer meeting of the Outreach Team; a group of quite highly exuberant people with infectious enthusiasm for proselytising and inviting people to church events.
The event this time was called Heart of Worship, a gathering of youths and young adults with ages ranging from 11 to 29 years old.
I did not plan on proselytising and after the meeting just as I rode my bicycle home, I took a detour to the South-East of Amsterdam with the hope that one of those African shops will not have kept the Sabbath – I never expected to find one open but I surprisingly did and with that got a few choice items for my nostalgic palate.
An unusual venue
Heart of Worship was to start at 18:00 and though it uses a venue just 3 minutes by bicycle from my home, I have never attended the event, but this time I just dared.
As I arrived at Pakhuis de Zwijger, a warehouse that had been converted into a multi-purpose venue with part of it hollowed out in the middle to offer access to a detachable vehicular bridge, I could already hear the sound of loud music.
The hall was dimly lit, the music loud and the performance of the band a lot different from the conventional antics at church. The music was also quite unfamiliar but full of meaning and feeling as I realised how stuffy, groan up and grown up I had become amongst that many who were closer to nephews, nieces and children if I had ever been a parent than siblings.
Adjusting to difference
In any case, I did still try to soak in the atmosphere even though I did not find myself gesticulating as if I were at a hip-hop concert at the instigation of the singers. I need to loosen up a bit for all this jumping, revelling and high-fives, but I have apparently been slaughter at the altar of respectability.
To my observation, I noticed how much talent is reposed in the youth of our church much of which finds no expression in the main church services in their musicality and absence of inhibition which appears to be curtailed by the formal settings of organised programmes and groan ups like me.
They all gained my respect with the way they used their voices as they switched between instruments with ease and one performance had a new solo singer, a worship singer take the keyboard, a keyboardist take the guitar and the drummer squatting on what I later found out was an Afro-Peruvian cajón Рgenius!
After the singing, dancing and clapping, there was some teaching based on the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel who later became the prophet who anointed David for the position of king of the Israelites, taken from the 1st Chapter of the First book of Samuel.
The message showed how people can be frustrated by the successes of others who can use their good fortune to denigrate those who have not been as fortunate. How desperation and desire can concentrate the mind on a goal, how the dedication of that desire to service can bring needed help and the wonderful testimony that can come out of having not just answers to particular prayers but much beyond that too.
Suddenly, it dawned on me that a message from the pulpit can be of great significance to all, from the fully liberated to the reserved – the heart beats to a rhythm of life seeking solutions, respite, succour and peace regardless of who embodies that heart.
I was truly blessed, but will I ditch the cravat and brogues for a less demure and more casual appearance at the next Heart of Worship? Time will tell.

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