Haitians love chu’ch. Not church, I’m talking about chu’ch. In the last seven days, I’ve gone six times, including twice yesterday. I’m talking about 2.5 hour marathons, with an hour and a half of singing and an hour-long sermon.
Singing isn’t like the open the hymnal, follow the powerpoint type church singing that I’ve done in most chapels. There’s bouncing and dancing and walking around and yelling and praying. It’s also almost unbearably loud, with drums, a keyboard, a bass, and an electric guitar. There’s 90 minutes of singing about 25 words, 5 words for each of the 5 songs that we sing. It just repeats over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. And one more time after that. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s completely possible to sing one verse for 20 minutes. Thats what happened yesterday morning.
I don’t know exactly how long we sang “mwen adore” (I adore) yesterday, but it was enough time for me to daydream about eating a salad, imagine taking a hot shower, replay the State of the Union in my mind, wonder about where my friends were going to eat lunch after church in LA, and try to count the mosquito bites on my arms. After all that, there was still time to start thinking about why He is worthy of adoration. As more and more things came to mind, I started singing, then swaying, then clapping.
Maybe that’s how the Haitians can sing the same words over and over. Or why the creatures around God’s throne can sing the same verse day and night without growing weary. There are no words that can fully capture who God is. There isn’t a word that sums Him up, that we can hear and say, “Oh I get it. So that’s who God is.” He isn’t just holy. Or holy, holy. Or even holy, holy, holy. He’s holy an infinite times over. And one more time after that.
Then there’s the preaching, which is another spectacle with bouncing and dancing and walking around and yelling and praying. Unless I’m preaching, which is what happened last night. Then there’s a lot of crickets chirping after failed jokes. And quiet. Lots and lots of quiet.