Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mashup Church Experence

St. Paul's by the Lake Episcopal Church Chicago
Dave, my husband was asked to preach today at a South Sudanese Church. This church was not located in South Sudan or any where near Africa. This church was meeting in Chicago. It was meeting like most immigrant churches at a odd time on Sunday afternoon when the building is not in use. It was not in the basement of the church but meeting in the main sanctuary.  We came early before very many had arrived. The Church building was a beautiful ornate old building built in 1882. Stained glass windows depicting the early apostles framed the sanctuary.  The wood work was exquisite with intricate work every where you looked. It was just breath taking! It was decorated for this Christmas season. The smell of incense was in the air. Then on the front pews there was something unusual that you would not expected to see in an Old Episcopal Church , two African drums.

Soon several South Sudanese began to join. This was primarily a gathering of the Dinka , who are very strikingly tall dark beautiful people. They began to sing in Dinka. I do not know this language but have heard it before through the years of meeting Sudanese refuges in Uganda and Kenya. The singing is very rhythmic and remains with you. 

I began to close my eyes to worship God in my heart and as I did I was transported far away to a small church gathering under a tree in rural Africa. I could see the large tree we were meeting under. Children wandering around playing with simple toys made from wire and other recycled material. I could feel the cool breeze blowing through reminding me of God's spirit. I could see all the colorful material that was worn by the women and the clean pressed suits by many of the men. In the near distant I could see several huts with thatched grass roofs. When I opened my eyes and saw the Old Episcopal Church building  again...somehow these to things were having a hard time coming together for me. It was such an unusual experience.  

It reminded me of a mashup song--where 2 or more songs and blended together to form one song. It was if the old American church with its liturgical service was mashed up with a traditional Dinka worship service. What was made --was something unique and beautiful.  I am so thankful that I experience  a Mashup Church today.