For a 9 month old boy every day is a new experience; new smells, tastes, places. Everyday he seems to learn something new whether it be a new noise, crawling or cruising. Being a parent of said 9 month old therefore brings about new experiences for us on an almost daily basis as well. Sunday however brought about and entirely new experience for all of us, one that came a little bit as a surprise but what turned out to be very pleasant.
Sunday we were attending a Christening of one of my OH close friends. Nothing new there I’ve been to a number of Christenings over the years including my own niece’s last year. I find them relatively dull affairs, I am not religious nor do I attend church on a regular basis. I find churches to be stuffy environments and much of what is being preached contradictory and in some respects antagonistic in its approach. However this isn’t a piece particularly to discuss the merits of religion or my own particular beliefs, I just feel its relevant to the experience I had.
When we finally found the church, (I do happen to love church buildings, I could spend hours walking round and admiring the architecture) it looked as many city churches do, pleasant building some people milling outside, not the normal looking church goers I must admit. Upon entering the church my instant reaction was oh, I am so out-of-place here. We had entered a gospel church and as a white man you can understand my immediate reservations. The woman who greeted us couldn’t have been more welcoming, showed us to a seat where upon we sat and my little man was soon the centre of our immediate surroundings attention.
What followed I was truly amazed by. the Deacon himself in trying to describe the events to follow (possibly aimed out the obvious outsiders) likened it to Sister Act the film and he couldn’t have hit the nail on the head more. It was a morning of worship unlike I have ever seen before, full of singing, clapping, jokes and laughter. Together with lots of praise the lord’s, hallelujah and amen. I don’t think I have ever felt more welcome in a church before, more relaxed in a church before or enjoyed a church service like I did this one. The message was very clear, God is to be worshiped and worship him they did with great gusto and enthusiasm which was altogether infectious and dragged you in. I couldn’t help but clap my hands and tap my feet in time with the music.
Our only regret was that we just were not prepared. We should probably have guessed it was going to be lengthy when the woman in front of us pulled out a thermos of coffee, bottles of water and a packet crisps, she isn’t here for your bog standard our service. After 2 hours we decided we needed to go, the little man who had loved it and was superb throughout was getting restless and hungry. We slipped out, but again no looks of disapproval just some farewells from the people at the door. Some welcomed us going only for the fact they could now sit as the church was so full there were people stood at the back for the entire time.
All in all a day that filled me with some trepidation not only surprised me but excited me and turned out to be a wonderful experience. As I stated earlier I am not a religious person but if I ever had a notion to attend a church on a regular basis that is the one I would go to.
So what unexpected new experiences have you had recently ?