What About Bob?

There's nothing like an African church service. It's hard to describe the experience to someone who's never been; it is beautiful, exciting, lively, and long! The Basotho love to sing and dance; they have an innate harmony which never ceases to amaze me. They sound best singing a cappella with no microphones; but unfortunately the Basotho also really love to blare music as loudly as possible, usually to the point of distortion.

The service we attended this morning included a mixture of Sesotho, Zulu, and English songs. Much to my surprise and chuckling, we even managed to sing Bob Marley's "Let's Get Together and Feel All Right"! (I just kept picturing the commercial for travel to Jamaica that used that song as its theme when I was a kid.) Only in Africa could you get away with singing Bob Marley during a worship service!

The "high context" Basotho culture means church services have protocol and formalities to be followed. For instance, every person who gets up to speak says, "I greet you all in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen." There can be no lulls, so the short quiet between the introduction of someone and him/her actually starting to speak is filled with a song (which extends to several minutes and makes it a bit awkward at times for the person who was just introduced).

Church was short today; we were on our way home only three hours after the service started. Niel ministered a great word and the Lord was clearly moving. The deep faith of the Basotho inspires me; their joy and willingness to sing Him praises while living in dire poverty challenges me. It's great to "get down" and have church Africa-style!