rotating header

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmastime in Kampala

We came down from the mountain to the bustle of Kampala, a rather
shocking change from the wilderness. For the last several days we've
bathed and eaten and slept, and shopped for food and run errands like
drivers' license and park pass renewal, and taken the truck for
mechanical work. All the little errands that build up over months in
Bundibugyo. . . And by God's grace our first day was a Sunday. One of
the largest churches in the city meets in a renovated movie theatre,
with vibrant worship and burning zeal, four or five services, each
packed with hundreds and hundreds of people. This week the children
did a Christmas drama, with great professionalism and rhythm, original
songs, dance, a choir of several hundred all in step and on key . . .
as Scott pointed out the director must have expended 8 thousand
calories with her vigorous coaching throughout the service. And that
the cultural gap between Kampala and Bundibugyo is more of a gaping
chasm, such a production would be unimaginable there. I always feel
encouraged that the country of Uganda has to be influenced by this
core of people worshiping God. Ritual child sacrifice and wife-abuse
and murder are the news headlines, the LRA rebels have walked out of
peace talks again, Congolese refugees clog the borders. But the
Spirit is moving in Kampala.

Since we are only here a few days, we went from the modern
choreographed super-charged pentecostal service to a traditional
service of lessons and carols at the historic Namirembe Cathedral
Sunday evening. The rough brick cathedral with its wooden pews and
echoing organ, the choir in white-collar-ruffled robes and four part
harmony, the stately reading of Scripture, was beautiful in its own
way, in direct lines of continuity with the culture of the same
British colonizers that shaped some of our American roots. Here some
of the readers were justices, ministers, and traditional elders. The
pianist could have been a professional. It was very well done. But
just to remind us that we're in Africa, and our cultural bounds need
stretching . . . near the end the choir came down from their knave,
and stood across the front, and broke into a swaying jiving version of
Feliz Navidad!!! Wow. Their joy was infectious. Then they returned
to their latin-solemnity and processed out.

Tomorrow we head back home, where we have only a week to put up our
tree, visit neighbors, carol, unpack, clean up, catch up with
patients, and focus on Christmas . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Merry (early) Christmas!!!