With our journey of visiting fifty-two churches over, I can reflect more on the complete experience. Today, I’ll add to my thoughts about Church #26.
Beyond their worship of God and approach to him, two other things stood out about this minority congregation. First, the kids were an active presence during the service, both in their participation and in their can’t-sit-still bouncing from seat to seat. Although at times distracting, I’m glad for their involvement in the service.
The other item is their view of time is different from mine. Though the service started when specified, the crowd was sparse. For the next fifteen minutes, people wandered in, eventually doubling our numbers. The last family showed up thirty-five minutes after the service started. I know this is a factor of culture, but it’s hard for me to understand.
Likewise, their service lasted longer than most, scheduled for two and a half hours, and extending beyond that with an after-service meal to celebrate the baby dedication. Though we stayed to eat and talk, we were still the first to leave; everyone else seemed content to stay even longer.
This was one of the two non-white churches we visited. (The other was church #20.) At both, I felt, for a brief time, a hint of what it’s like to be a minority. Yes, these experiences were shallow in that respect, but it’s all I have to go on. More important, however, is that their worship of God was fresh to me, invigorating my soul. I desire to return and spend more time with them.