Sunday, August 14, 2016

Service at the Cathedral

Today, I was the only white person worshipping at the Cathedral.  Bishop Todd, Simon and Wendy left at 4 a.m. for Betioky, but I was exhausted after so many days of teaching and could not face the 5 hour drive each way over unmade up roads.  Rev. Patsy had gone to Motombe to take the service, and I stayed here  in the Cathedral complex so that I could go to a slightly later service and only needed to walk for a few minutes.

It was just under 2 hours long with 35 minutes of announcements from a variety of people - St James the Less, no more complaints about how long our notices take, please!  Of course, it was all in Malagasy.   I had a vague sense of where we were in the service from it being the same liturgical format as in the Episcopal Church, and catching the occasional word for Lord (Tompo), Christ (Kristy) and Holy (Masina).  There was not a spare prayer book to use, which makes it much harder for me to know what was happening, as I find it much easier to read and follow, than listen and follow.

After  while of sitting in a pew by myself (because I was late arriving, and crept in at the back), a few children started to gather around me and share my pew and those around me.  Then I closed my eyes for a prayer and they had all disappeared again!

Then I was joined in the pew by the lady on the left in the photo below. Her name is Rinakely.

Banner making 2014 - Katedraly group

She kindly guided me with signs to sit, stand and move at the right time and to the right place.  When it came to sharing the Peace, we held hands (as is the Malagasy tradition) and sang a song, raising our hands together at the end, and she gripped mine so tightly at that point.  Then we spontaneously turned to each other, and gazed into each others - sharing the Peace and love of God without words.

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