8 April 2012
Happy Easter, everyone! Or as we say down here in South Africa…Happy Easter. I google-translated it. I join five friends this cloudy, cold morning for what we think will be a nice Catholic Easter service. Upon reaching the church, however, we are greeted only by the locked door and empty parking lot. Apparently Mass is at 9:30, not 8. So we’re a bit early, that’s fine! Annie brilliantly suggests we bide our time with an Easter breakfast. We feast on hot-crossed buns, chocolate Cadbury buttons, and gas-station coffee (shout out to Kelly and Jennifer). Just before 9, we decide the church must at least be open by now, so we walk back, boasting about how we’ll have the best seats in what is sure to be a packed house. Instead, we find the Catholic Church just as ghostly as before. So where is that joyful singing, boisterous clapping, and soulful “AMEN”-ing coming from? Why, the St. Ida’s Reform Church across the street, of course! Their service began at 9, and as Halie says, “Church is church, right?” To say they welcome us enthusiastically would be an understatement. A particularly kind gentleman of the congregation tells the pastor that we are students from America, so try to incorporate a bit of English please. We are up and singing in no time! Annie and I are lucky enough to have half a semester of Afrikaans under our belts, which helps in pronouncing the hymns…although I can’t tell you what on earth I am singing. Probably something about God being good and risen. I trust my tongue to do the verbal praising and my heart to put the meaning behind it. It was an unexpected way to celebrate this joyful day, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for a million Rand.