Gratitude, warmth and worship

Kajiado_2017_tka_team Posted by Roger Cooke, 15 days ago | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Sunday 19th November

Sundays here are…different. Very different indeed!

Things kicked off at 9.30pm on Saturday evening. I was wrapped up in bed softly searching sleep when what sounded like a disco struck up. Deep bass thumps overlaid with melodic keyboard and harmonic voices. The rhythm varied from country to near rock and roll to pure American pop. And it was loud. Extremely loud. I toyed with the idea of getting dressed and joining the party but in the end decided to remain coy and hope it didn’t last into the wee small hours. As it turned out, all went quiet at around 11 o’clock and I drifted into the land of nod.

Not for long though.

At 5am the whole thing started again. Thrump thrump thrump! Yeeho yeeho yeeho! Over breakfast I quizzed our host about this nocturnal rumpus to be told that it was the choir practising for Sunday worship.

Our team broke into two parts. Bishop Patrick and Stephen McWhirter stayed in Oltiasika and the small church. The rest of us climbed into the landrover and headed down the hill a half hour drive to the plain. We pulled off the track at a small village surrounded by a thorn hedge and drove across the dusty ground to a tree.

Yup! A big acacia tree encircled by a high thorny enclosure. No walls no roof no floor but the dusty earth. Just a tree and a hedge. Called Obilee (oh-bill-eee). This was to be our church for the morning.

As we approached Obilee we saw our congregation. Virtually all were women and children, about 25 of them, with maybe half a dozen men. The women and children were singing and dancing in the Maasai manner that made their neck rings bounce.

That’s not a sight that greets us in our parish churches every Sunday. We were welcomed by the local Evangelist who was wearing traditional Maasai dress. He spoke a little about himself telling us he has two wives both of whom were there and 11 children all whom were also there. He introduced the lad (one of his sons) who would translate my sermon as we went along.

To start, the evangelist introduced himself to us, along with his family, some of whom were in church. Then there was a song and a dance, accompanied by a single drum Maasai style. Then came my sermon.

I’ve never preached with a translator before. It was a very strange experience. But after a while we found our rhythm and everything seemed to go okay. ‘Seemed’, I say, because I have no clue if he was translating what I actually said. But it was well received and only lasted 40 minutes. Doris read the Parable of the Good Samaritan in English then the local Evangelist read the same passage in Maasai as part of the sermon which took the theme Love Your Neighbour.

As with everywhere we travelled in Maasai land it was the people who made it come to life. I have lost count of the times I have heard how we welcome we are and took make ourselves entirely at home. These are remarkably warm folk.

After the service every single person greeted each other with a handshake. As the children passed by us in line each bowed his or head for a blessing as we laid a hand on the head. This is truly a community at peace with itself and with God and church at its heart.

While most of the team were at Obilee, Bishop Patrick and Archdeacon Stephen stayed at Oltiasika. Stephen writes:

Bishop Patrick and I went to worship in St Barnabas Oltiasika. There was a large congregation as another church, St Patrick, joined us because of the visitors. Bishop Patrick and I joined in preaching. Bishop Patrick spoke of transformation using 3 visual aids focusing on Doing-Learning-Being. I followed up with the story of Zacchaeus and how he was transformed by meeting with Jesus. The service was filled with the usual Maasai colour dance and singing. We hardly noticed the time passing in a service that lasted almost three hours.

Evening prayers ended the day. We shared our personal insights and reflections of what we had experienced on this remarkable Sunday. Gratitude and warmth and a story of true and deep worship headed everyone’s list.

Kajiado 2017

More from Kajiado 2017?