Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

"Happy Thanksgiving!"  That's how we were greeted as we entered church last Sunday (November 30th).  That might not seem strange, until you remember I'm in Nigeria.  No Turkey-Day here.  But, there is still Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Sunday is a special day when everyone takes extra time to celebrate the Lord and give thanks for everything he has done for us.  I have to wonder if the timing of Thanksgiving Sunday has anything to do with the American Thanksgiving holiday.  I know our church here has a lot of connections to the US and participates in programs, seminars and other calendar events put together by a US organization. 

Instead of the normal 3, hour and half long, services, Thanksgiving Sunday had 2, three hour long services.  The church was jam-packed.  Standing room only.  No sermon, just lots of singing and dancing.  Boy was there dancing!  And a live high-life band.  (Only the 50, 60 and 70 year olds were allowed on the "dance floor" when the high life band played.)

There was one psalm reading, but it was hard to hear the pastor over the crowd's cheering.  Every time he said "the Lord," the crowd went nuts.  I was a little scared.  Large, excited crowds (with few escape routes) make me nervous, especially in Africa.

We also still had an offering, but not in the usual way.  Normally, we pass little plastic trash bins down the rows.  Every row has its own bin that is stored under the chair at one end of the row.  This week, we all had to take our offerings to the stage.  The entire, very full, very large, auditorium of people had to file to the front to place their naira on the stage.  The offering had been going on for at least 20 minutes before we finally reached the stage.  We left after that, so I have no idea how long it took the service to finish.

Although the style and length of the service weren't really to my taste, (I prefer pretty hymns and sermons) there was one part that I liked.  We had to get into small groups and tell the other people in the group what God had done for us.  I liked hearing what other people had to say, and unlike usual group-share, this one was easy.  God has done so much for me, especially this year with all my traveling; I definitely have many reasons to be thankful.


MaryRuth said...

That is awesome! That's a LOT of people in there. I love the high-life could you not be in a joyful mood?!

munckinhead said...