Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Attending a church service in another language can be a bit like watching something on Channel 9.

One moment you think you’ve got everything sussed. The minister is addressing everyone in Korean – yes, that’s the sermon, got it. Then everyone closes their eyes and nods their head forward in unison, and like a soldier you bow forward too, to pray. Then the pianist starts, ahh – this’ll be a hymn. Then suddenly everyone except you is producing flowers, forming a line, and crooning synchronised gibberish with mime-actions that cannot possibly represent anything on Earth.

And you’re the foolish white man trying to join in.

In fact, stuff the analogy - just watch this clip off Channel 9 before reading any further, and you'll go through a similar experience to what I did:

There – that’s what it was like today.

In a nutshell - just what in the universe were they all doing?????

Before we get there, this post does not end with my finding out. We’ll never know, I’m afraid. I can only tell you that whatever bizarre untranslatable ritual that I was willingly flapping my arms about and saying ‘Amen’ to, I enjoyed it two weeks running.

This is what I like about attending a church whose principle language I don’t speak – one deals in concepts that don’t need words to translate – friendship, fun, helping, food, acceptance. The English lessons I’m conducting for them will probably ruin all that. :)

Anyway, today I was the Salvation Army Korean Corp’s official photographer for a big certificate-giving ceremony during the service. Captain Kang wanted the event captured on real 35mm film (!) rather than pixelly digital, so being a dinosaur about such matters, I was only too happy to expose 100 shots of everyone. Here, chronologically, are the five that I like the best:

I like this one because everyone looks different. It reflects the church’s involvement in the diverse community – these are all clearly different people from different walks of life.
On the other hand, these members are uniformed to look the same. To me it implies devotion and commitment to a common belief.
My favourite shot from the day. There’s a bit of both the above pictures here – the identical uniforms, all containing such different people. They all look so animated, yet each in a different way.
Final blessing.
I like the way they all instinctively knew how to form a group pose! That's my top five.
I can’t recall who took this, but I’m a member here too!

Afterwards I gave the Captain the three spent rolls of film, and headed out to my favourite bus stop in the whole world:
I mean it must be my favourite – I spend so much of my life here!

Now that my English-speaking church – cession - has moved to The Depot in Howick, I can get a bus back from the city on Sunday no problem.

The first service at our new location was last Sunday, and for some bizarre reason I was asked to host the first two services there. I kicked-off the first one by stealing one of old friend Jamie’s gags – “I love this church – it’s the sort of place where people come up to you and say things like ‘Hey – you’re new here. Would you like to MC our first meeting at our new venue?’” Fortunately Jamie’s material got the desired opening laugh, indeed Brett’s gag at Scott's expense went down pretty well too.

Last week and this have been a two-week series entitled Trading Spaces. Based around Nehemiah’s rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls, it looked at the building of a church, and how this is really about building community, something very central to what cession is about. Brett had written me a script, and told me to play myself as a reality TV presenter to deliver it.

I was grateful that he wanted it in English this time.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali!

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2 comment(s):

At 2:00 pm, Blogger BJ said...

You forgot to mention how it poured insanely with rain and the roof leaked in 5 places!

A great night nonetheless...

At 10:16 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Well, you can see the rain in my photo at the bus stop...


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