Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday Night Church

Wednesday, February 12 I accepted an invitation to Wednesday night services at Rosario's church.  Rosario, Yesica, and Rosario's sister, Natalie, and I headed out shortly after la cena (dinner.)  For only Q5 (less that a dollar) we traveled by chicken bus across town.  I stood hanging on for dear life to the overhead bar.  It is really best not to see where the bus is headed or at what speed - the ride is stressful enough.

Church was in progress when we arrived.  I could hear the music more than a block away.  Rosario is a Christiana Evangelica (Evangelical Christian). Aposento Alto - Una Iglesia de la Nueva Generación.  (Upper Room Church of a New Generation - I think). The music was lead by an energetic man with about five women singing backup.  The band was off to my right.  Hands were raised, people jumped up and down, raised Allelujahs, and sang.  It appeared that everyone knew the words but me.  I had a difficult time understanding the lyrics as the leader had the microphone so close to his mouth, and the P.A. turned all the way up.  All of which meant that the words were garbled for someone unfamiliar with the tunes The praise music seemed to move the people.  

Worship Service in Guatemala - generic
After some time - perhaps 30 minutes - the leader moved from the upbeat tunes to something slower and more somber to prayer.  In this Pentecostal type setting, prayer is noisy.  Everyone was praying out loud in response to the leader.  As he moved through the prayer time, I could grasp that it was lament.  Confession and entreatment melded together.  The noise rose.  Rosario was sobbing and praying out loud.  I looked around and saw that many were sobbing.  The music matched the mood.  Eventually, another man (the pastor?) thanked the musicians as they left the stage.  In soft tones he acknowledged the timbre of the moment and softly reassured the congregation of God's love and embrace.

The speaker for the night was a woman with an inviting, Bette Midler style smile.  At some point, I realized that I was catching a lot of what she was saying.  I could get the gist of what she said as I struggled to identify tenses and particular words.  All I can say is that I absolutely felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in that place. She witnessed from her own experiences.  She reminded the congregation that God has something more for us than just what we see.  She acknowledged repression and oppression in the lives of the people.  The speaker continually preached God's forgiveness and love.

I went from feeling confused, left out, and generally uncomfortable to being in the moment.  I was drawn into the speaker's words and indeed felt el Espíritu en esa lugar ( the Spirit in that place).  I don't know what I expected the night to look like.  I do know that I was glad to worship among these followers of Christ.  Praise be to God. Alabaré
(I will praise).

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