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I have skipped church a lot lately. I got sick and couldn't go, then got used to being lazy on Sunday mornings, and felt I still couldn't go. But, I love my church and so I was always torn between my natural laziness and the happiness I feel when I go.
Last Sunday I went to an International Palm Sunday service in which around a dozen nationalities were represented. The Marshalese, Samoans, Chinese, Portuguese, and Navajo performed, and each song was so uplifting.
We seem to take for granted how our particular culture or religion expresses itself, and at first the ways of others may seem odd. For instance, the Marshalese sang and danced from a sitting position imitating the motions made when rowing a boat. They smiled rowed, slapped their chests and thighs, and had a general good time. A Navajo woman dressed in traditional garb used Native American sign language to "The Lord's Prayer." I came to tears several times during the service because of the joy that was expressed by each group, and by just looking around at the beautiful native costumes worn by many scattered throughout the congregation. There were several African women, but all wore different types of dress identifying them as from this area or that. The Island people broke their palms and wore them in their hair. A couple of young women floated down the aisles in their gauzy saris.
Sometimes people wonder why they would believe that there was something special about the life of a carpenter who lived 2,000 years ago. That's just it! After 2,000 years, not only SOME people believe, but people from nations and languages around the world.
I have to watch myself that serving God doesn't just become ceremony. But these people, especially the ones who come from war torn or impoverished countries, throw ceremony right out of the window. No quiet, reverend head bowing for them. Like we yell and cheer for our sports heroes and celebrities, they yell, cheer and sing at the top of their lungs for their savior.
I poured some of my beads into a jar and noticed how pretty the layers were. I even took a picture as you see above. Once the beads were mixed up, they didn't look as interesting or even as pretty. I love these different cultures and although some people wish they would just mix in and become "American", I think they should be poured in like the beads, but keep their identities a little separate from the norm--a layer upon another layer--so rich and interesting!