Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jamaica 11--Church

On Sunday we went to a little Brethren church in another part of town which seemed peaceful enough but the pastor talked about how they have a hard time scheduling youth activities because of the curfew. And the curfew, I was told, is because the area has had a rash of murders, which of course turn into revenge killings, back and forth, over and over, and no one will tell on anyone else, so the police can't do much.

But you wouldn't have guessed that on a Sunday morning. The doors and windows were open and the breezes blew and the nice young man played the piano and an even younger man, who couldn't have been much older than Jenny, played the drums amazingly well without a hint of showing off.

The lady in front of me nursed her baby until she fell asleep, and about two minutes later the already-loud music was cranked up two notches out of the suitcase-sized speakers, and people in the audience picked up the tambourines that had been left on their seats and joined in.

The baby slept through it all.

It really was a nice service.

However. I managed once again to embarrass Jenny. See, I didn't clap.

You don't know what it's like, you Pentecostals and musical people and Africans, you who can coordinate hands and feet and beat and words.

It's bad enough in an American service when people clap on the obvious beat. But in Jamaica they had some funny twist to this, and there was no possible way I could clap along.

Jenny said,

Quote of the Day:
"If I would have been a little native girl there I would have thought you were a sullen and disconnected white person."

Well, my dear, these were my options:
A. Try to clap along, get completely befuddled and confused and "off," try and fail to follow the person in front of me, and make an idiot of myself.
B. Stand there and smile and try to look interested and pretend to sing even if I don't know the song, but don't clap--and also make an idiot of myself.

You can't sway with the tambourines if you grew up on the Lob Lied, that's what I always say.


  1. Great final line. I don't have a good sense of rhythm either.

  2. Yes. I like the last line, too! And I have a terrible sense of rythmn. Just last week at a ballgame I was valiantly trying to clap in rythmn with all the people around me, and the harder I tried the more difficult it got. And now I know why! It's all because I was raised with the Lob Lied.

  3. Someone once told me "Plain people have no sense of rhythm". Rather broad brush to be sure, but it does seem somehow even in the midst of all our leader directed singing we failed to get the "know how" of rhythm needed for tambourines or clapping.

  4. I rarely clap either during singing. I have my personal reason and it has nothing to do with Lob Lied.

  5. Growing up in a Pilgrim Holiness Church in Dominica, another West Indian island just down the chain from Jamaica, lead me to having a perfect sense of rhythm. Only problem, is on the off beat, as the Dominicans use for their hand clapping. Such a skill doesn't come in very handy here in the States.
    It's actually completely useless in my Brethren church. The only good that I've seen from it is that if my teenagers act up I can't threaten them to break out in song and clapping during testimony time......That really straightens them up! They just roll their eyes when Mom starts that West Indian thing again...

  6. I don't know what Lob Lied is, but I can tell you NOT all Pentecostals have rhythm. But My sister in law told me when as a Baptist I was thrown into a Penticostal church - You worship the Lord your way. He loves your worship - that it's the heart that counts. I have loved and been touched by your Jamacian trip. It is good to hear of God's work there and needful to hear of the needs. Galilee

  7. What a hoot-after I read that last line,I actually was digging into the recesses of my mind,trying desperately to come up w/the first phrase-correct me if I'm wrong,is it "O Got,Fater,vir loben dich,un deine gute freisen"Ah,priceless stuff,those memories!Also can relate to having no rythm,I've always wanted to secretly hire a dance instructer!Ha,such worldy desires.A lot of good that would do me,41 yr.old mom of 4,3of them being teens that would disown me.Kathryn Martin

  8. Life of a Plainlady--I loved your potent threat for misbehaving teenagers--wish I could see it myself!
    And Kathryn--that's how I remember it too except I thought it was Preisen not Freisen. And my sister took a ballroom dancing class in her 40s so it can be done!