Sunday morning was the only time that the group would separate and experience something different. We had decided to split into three groups and worship with the three churches we have spent time with here in Havana.
Rob, Alison ad Katie would go back to Guanabacoa with Dyana. Matthew and Shona would stay at Luyano and Avril, Jen, Eilidh, Erik and I would return to First Havana with Anaitza.
Luis took us and dropped us off before taking the others out to Guanabacoa. We arrived to find the congregation gathering, all in yellow t-shirts.
We ended up sitting at the back on extra chairs as the church was completely full. The children from the holiday club were all there, swelling the congregation, but we were told that the church is often full. It was great to sit at the back… that’s where the fans were!
Worship was full of music; an amazing tenor sang the introit followed by a quartet, and octet, all 90 children and a group from the Korean Presbyterian church in Miami all sang.
The preacher was from the Korean-American group and Frank (conducting the children’s choir in the photo) came and translated the sermon for us. There was a funny moment when he and Jen (who speaks excellent Spanish) looked at each other… then Frank said ‘No, I don’t understand him either!’.
After worship we got a yellow taxi back to Luyano to find the rest of the group talking about their morning. Matthew had sung at Luyano, Rob, Katie and Alison had a fantastic rockin’ time at Guanabacoa and we had been treated to some brilliant music. All in all a great morning at church.
The rest of the day was free. It was our first real chance to sit down and just relax and I’m glad we had the space.
We decided that after dinner we would gather on our own as a group to share in some worship which I would lead.
I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘revolution’ recently and this seemed the perfect topic for Cuba. We began with ‘The Call To Prayer’, the Muslim-style call from Karl Jenkin’s The Armed Man (A Mass for Peace), a strange way to start a Christian worship. We talked about Mark’s revolutionary Gospel and how it presents a different way, a revolution of peace and love and justice and grace. We shared a communion of coke and pringles, a strange way to celebrate a sacrifice. And we listened to revolutionary songs. Martyn Joseph’s ‘Strange Way’ and Tracy Chapman’s ‘Talkin’ About A Revolution’.
I think tonight was probably my favourite moment. It seemed real and right and good in all its strangeness. A group of people sharing God and finding him in the ordinary and the strange.