The wailings of hell?
The wailings of hell broke upon me with unrestrained agony. The previous week had been heaven. We had sat on the balcony of our simple hotel, overlooking a pool and garden set just behind the ocean, which had been lulling us to sleep with the gentle wash of the waves.
But now the Mexican National Holiday had begun. It was not long, and every ounce of fun had to be squeezed into this short and glorious break from their work-a-day world. In front of us was the pool and garden. A swarming mass of happy, yet boisterous kids played and yelled. On the terrace of the next-door hotel the patrons had hired a Mariachi band. Unfortunately the only part that seemed to work was the rhythm section, which did keep a strong, powerful beat. Over it, a variety of instruments seemed to be happily playing whatever they felt might fit in. Oblivious to the storm of sound, people danced and danced. In a narrow alley adjoining our hotel on the other side a vendor had set up a food stand, and in front were two huge speakers, also blasting music - music, which it must be said was of a much better quality than the Mariachi band, but very loud, and now even louder to try and compete with the band.
For the Mexicans this was a romp of exhilaration and relaxation. For the few Gringos it was not. Some booked out and drove elsewhere. We, knowing this might happened, were scheduled to leave the next day.
As we travelled in the comparative quiet of the plane the next day, not quite sure whether we could not still hear the cacophony, I reflected that on that old adage, ' Different strokes for different folks'.
I love music , and I am most comfortable in the realm of classical music, though I enjoy dipping into other genres from time to time. I even watch American Idol faithfully as I find I enjoy some of the music, and I love hearing the judges, through whom I have gained a better understanding of the pop music world.
I also love our 10am service. I find it fulfilling, meaningful and I usually feel better after partaking of this familiar and beloved ritual. That, unfortunately is not how many people see it. For someone wandering in, without any previous experience, it must seem incomprehensible. Though, hopefully their experience is improved by the warmth of the people around them.
As part of Just Imagine, one of our goals is to reach out to people, and at All Saints some in our parish have doing wonderful work through Messy Church, with some of the younger members of our parish family.
As we undertake the vital work of building renovation, let us not forget that buildings alone do not build a strong church. Better facilities will give us the opportunity to do even better reaching out to those in need. They will also provide a venue to provide a meaningful spiritual experience to more people.
As long as I am at All Saints I want that 10am experience, but I also know that others may need something quite different.
We are responding to a call, to be open to new directions, to new experiences. The result may not be what we thought we wanted, but we are not the ones giving the directions.
Written by Peter Bayley.