Friday, April 2, 2010

Palm Sunday

These girls followed us from our house to the piki stop. Notice, they have palms, too.

(This is the crowd leaving and coming between services)

Starting the Friday before Palm Sunday, palms are being sold and attached to bicycles all over town. By Sunday, every person in town has a palm branch. Our watchman bought one for each of us. The kids carried theirs to church Sunday.

I volunteered to be part of a new ministry at another denomination’s church that will send us into people’s homes who suffer from HIV other sickness, so we can pray for them. This last Sunday, we went to be introduced to the congregation.

This is a rather large church, and Palm Sunday is more popular here than Easter, so ushers had saved us seats in the front row.

About 800 – 1000 people all came in to sit down, everyone with their Palm branches waving. The minister announced that we would be reading from Isaiah 50 and Philippians 2, but before we did that, everyone needed to go back outside and line up in front of the post office next door, so there could be a processional with the palm branches.

Caleb and I stayed seated as did about 100 other people, but everyone else filed outside. This was so amusing to me, because as people exited on one side of the building, late-comers came in the other side and took over half the seats of the people who had just left.

The processional had no music, it was just a mad dash back in after about 25 minutes outside in the sun.

The part that was different from America is that not a sound was heard when the people re-entered. There was no, “Excuse me, you are in my seat.” “Excuse me, my family was sitting there before we went outside.” The nationals just figured if there were already 16 people on a row, surely it would hold 10 others, and they just kept scooting together closer and closer.

Communion was taken at the end, but the church doesn’t have enough money to provide wine for the congregation except once a year at Christmas. So the minister took the wine for the people, and everyone else just had a wafer.

We met with some officials after the service about the home visitations, and I’m hoping to hear something soon.


Kelly said...

Smart for staying!!! What about the rest of your family? Were they hanging out in the sun? (I'd have been indoors with you!) I guess Ugandans don't have a strong concept of "personal space"?

Nancy said...

My favorite church in all of Uganda is in Jinja. They ran out of money and there is only a roof and half wall with an open view of the town. Which means the breeze comes in and I can get fresh air instead of the stifling heat in a packed and closed up room.