A Travellerspoint blog

Slaves and Free

sunny 13 °C

I thoroughly enjoyed the visit Mount Moriah, the African-American church in Marion on Sunday. There were about 7 of us that ended up going which I didn't particularly like because a large group always seems more intimidating and can mean that there are less chances for good conversations and lunch invites...

Everyone in our all-white group seemed very nervous and not sure how to interact when we eventually got through the doors after doing some unnecessary laps of the highway in the car. The exuberance that typifies the African- American church made everyone a bit flustered about when something should be chorused in reply or when the hands should be clapped. Everyone was encouraged to get involved.
"Do you feel like praising Jesus this mornin'?" "I said: do you feel like praising Jesus this mornin'?" "Let's hear you clap your hands for Jesus!" "HALLELUJAH!" "AMEN!" I liked having the interaction with the "MC" who seemed to me like a dj stirring up the energy in the crowd.
We white folks stuck out like sore thumbs. And then they asked whether there were any visitors. It was easy to spot the visitors to be honest. I don't really think it was necessary for him to ask that - and then we all had to stand and display ourselves. It was nice to be welcomed, though.

I found the sermon by Pastor Michael Smith really good and fascinating. He was reading the book of Philemon. Onesimus who was a slave he had met while he was in prison in Rome. Paul was writing to Philemon to encourage him to take back Onesimus as a brother in the Lord as Onesimus had accepted Jesus while listening to Paul. The sermon was fascinating because of the topic of slavery that Pastor Michael delved right into. He said that slavery is a sensitive issue in America still today. He said how wrong it was because it strips people of their rights to be human. But his main point was that whether slave or free, it is only the internal freedom that Jesus can bring that means that we are truly free. "If Jesus Christ sets you free, you will be free indeed!" It was a powerful message considering that Pastor Michael and the entire African-American congregation knew exactly what he was talking about.

Following the service, we hung around (I was definitely loitering with intent in the hope of being asked to the meal being served downstairs...). There was a massive queue when we eventually decided that we could go down (if it was up to me, I would have gone down there a whole lot sooner). Embarrisingly, as honored guests, we were led down the front of the queue. The church supposedly meets once every 4 Sundays for a meal together.

I thought maybe this car sticker on an old car was a message from God for me:

In the evening, we began "Pump class" which will be running for this last week that I am here in Marion. It involves looking at hand pumps and understanding how they are put together. This will be useful for trouble-shooting in the field when hand-pumps may be broken and not producing water. This photo shows us ready for action...

Posted by africraigs 14:20

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