02 July 2007

Home

There's nothing like coming home. The few times I've done this my head swims like the dickens and somehow I keep being surprised by that fact. As it turns out, I was so excited to not have to work until Friday, which I didn't at all expect. It has allowed me to chase my tail around my apartment before I even finish my second cup of coffee--starting organization projects & leaving the house in a borderline frenzy to wander aimlessly around target to buy toothpaste. It is not always easy to slow down and rest, or to regain your bearings.

In the coming days & weeks I plan to try to process a little more of what this trip meant, what I learned. Sooner rather than later I will post some of the pictures of the places we visited and the people I met. This trip was a great blessing--some night wrestling matches, some unexpected and wild experiences, some tearful goodbyes. I get a little overwhelmed when I think of all of the things buzzing around in my head that have not been articulated or have been haphazardly shared with patient and caring friends & family, who let me tell them about some of our adventures already. That part is a gift in itself, so, thank you for that.

The thing that I'm thinking about right now is the several church services we were able to attend. The Anglican church, Emmanuel, which I sadly never got a picture of (drat!), is a small stone church set at the base of the mountains. It looks more like it should be in the English countryside than in the tropically green hills of Morogoro. When you walked in, there was a hushed holiness, light streaming in the long, narrow windows. The kneeling pillows were maroon and tattered. The liturgies we were handed as we walk in were salmon pink and had been held in a hundred praying hands. The chairs were simple, creaky, wooden and varnished, and most likely hand made at a local carpentry shop. It was a little musty, a little humid. The hymns and praise songs echoed through the high rafters--we sounded like a thickly accented choir.

Saul, the pastor of the English speaking service, led us in hymns. He is in his 30's and has a wonderful, friendly, jolly presence. Each week he invites everyone to stay for "some bites" after church--ju-weese and kay-kees (juice & cake), and of course a cup of tea. When we took communion, we took turns lining up at the altar and being handed the elements, a practice which has not been much a part of my non-denominational and later Presbyterian church experiences of taking communion. He said as he handed me a thin wafer: "Angela, the body of Christ, broken for you."

The body of Christ in Tanzania. My friends, who live in villages called Kibakwe & Chiniqua, my friends who also meet for home group on Wednesday nights. God's kingdom meeting together in unroofed church buildings, in villages where the red dust covers everything, where the prayers and songs push against your sensibilities and render you again a child.

I have so much to learn.

"There's a communion wafer moon
Dissolving on the blue tongue of the sky

Sometimes the whole world is nothing
So much
As an altar inviting us
To kneel"

Copyright 2007, Linford Detweiler

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back Ange. I look forward to hearing and seeing what you experienced. Yay for the pictures coming soon!
"There's a communion wafer moon
Dissolving on the blue tongue of the sky

Sometimes the whole world is nothing
So much
As an altar inviting us
To kneel"

Amen. Chills.
Heidi V.

11:55 AM  
Blogger kms said...

Welcome back! I enjoyed following via the blog...

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Neil E. Das said...

Darn them work people, what's with them allowing for four days of rest ;)

The Anglican church sounds lovely, both in its situation and service style.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Renae said...

Sounds wonderful, Angela. I hope to hear (or read) more about your trip.

We have that poem on our fridge, from a notecard they sent out with one of their recent CDs. I'm so looking forward to their next release!

3:37 PM  
Blogger steph said...

i'm sad i won't get to read anymore from tanzania, but i'm glad you're home safe. can't wait to hear more... wish i was cruisin' through your hood soon. :(

love love love.

4:16 PM  
Blogger April said...

hope to talk with you soon...!

6:45 PM  
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3:36 AM  

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