We had rehearsed two of the songs in preparation for today, and it was necessary. This morning’s worship was led by the Episcopal Church of Cuba. Musically it was a bit like the Buena Vista Social Club, which I hasten to add I appreciate - I’ve got the CD! The difficulty is that this style is very hard to engage in if you’ve been trained in the Western classical music tradition and I have to say I was nowhere. There is a rhythmic pulse but the syllables, which are numerous, and melody are very fluid. This being said, far from detracting from worship it was most helpful.
When we as a Baptist family have a global gathering, different parts of the world are given an opportunity to share their culture within the worship. This can be extremely rich but the down side is that with a completely different menu each time you can feel a bit stuffed! I’ve only been here for a short while and if I was present for the full two weeks my experience might be different, but my sense is that the worship led by different provinces brings a distinctive flavour whilst remaining within a liturgy which remains essentially the same. So there is variety but within a given-ness.
The collect for today I particularly appreciated:
Almighty God and Father,
who breathed your life into humanity
and wrote our names in the dust:
help us to accept the transient nature
of our saintliness and sinfulness,
that enlightened by the witness of your Son,
we may ever hold fast
to the eternity of your love. Amen
During the Eucharist, the music was sublime, including a beautiful piece sung by Geraldine Latty. It was very special.