Sunday mornings in my vacation abode are an audible experience unlike no other I've known. I haven't been to a proper church service since I fell out of liking with the Lutheran church of my teens. I have been to a few Christmas services and stop by the seaman's chapel in Southampton every chance I get to say a silent prayer in the serenity of that little space for the voyage but beyond that I mainly avoid organized deity worship.
That is not the case though for our next door neighbors. A tired old steeple and fake stone and mortar siding encloses one of the most reverent and boisterous preachers I've ever heard. For up to five hours each Sunday the congregation is led my their pastor in round after round of "Hallelujahs" and "Amen's" which crescendo in a full drum, bass and guitar band of soul hymns and gospel. If our windows are open then the music drifts right in to sound as if we were sitting right there in a pew ourselves.
Joyful expressions of love and devotion are really quite uplifting and moving unlike what some other members of the cloth are up to in these hard economic times. Read the link to this New York Time's article from yesterday to see what I mean.
While I find religion to be a personal thing, something I do not spend an overly large amount of time contemplating in these busy modern times, I do appreciate the significance of faith in communities and culture. While we vacationed in Guatemala seeing, hearing and running from the fire works of a mix of Maya and Catholic beliefs proved to be one of the most endearing and amazing aspects of our experience there.