Day 42

Elsbeth asked me if I wanted to go to church with her this morning.

I knew I would have to cross this bridge some day. It was the same with Joe - for some reason these Christians feel that they have to save you. I don't really feel like I need saving but since I have difficulty saying no to Elsbeth I went along.

The church ended up being an ugly hall full of plastic chairs, not a beautiful edifice such as they used to build. I guess we have the Reformation to thank for that. Real shame in my opinion.

As we arrived they were serving coffee and cakes. The coffee was surprisingly good and helped ease the winter chill in my bones. I bumped into some of the youngsters from the soup kitchen who gave me a very warm welcome and seemed genuinely glad to see me.

The service started and people made their way to sit down, some carrying their coffees with them. There was a band up front, no organ, playing modern sounding tunes, though I recognised some of the words from older hymns I learned at school. People sang exuberantly, some lifting their hands or clapping, some just standing quietly with their eyes closed muttering something. After a couple notices, the minister stood up and spoke for about half an hour on the Church. I didn't realise that the term refers to people, not buildings. After that a closing song, and something called "The Grace" where everybody blesses each other. All very strange but touching.

Elsbeth had to visit someone in hospital afterwards so I took my leave and pondered the morning's events. Many people find religion a turn off, mostly because of the people who follow those religions, but this was different. The same thing that shone out of Joe and Elsbeth was there: a light, a fragrance almost. I am left with a feeling of empty longing.