Thursday, April 21, 2011

Palm Sunday in Korea

So, I was yearning for a church to attend on Palm Sunday. Hoping to sing some Hosannas and see little kids with palms in the aisles. But the church we attend currently doesn't do that sort of thing. I thought, "Why not try the church down the street? Even if I don't understand the service, I might hear songs and see kids." I don't exactly know what denomination the church is, but it's Christian, so I thought I would give it a try.

I timed my entry so I'd arrive right at the start. No use trying to greet people I can't talk to. I entered the church alone just as the service was ready to go. First thing I noticed was that the pews in the small church were full of middle aged to elderly Korean folk. The only kids around were the two alter boys. The next thing I noticed was that 99% of the women had their heads covered in white lace. I didn't. Oops.

Thankfully, two women in the back row didn't have their heads covered either, so I took a seat next to them, removed my coat and took out my Korean/English Bible. There WAS a bit of singing Hosanna, but it sounded more like a dirge than celebration.

I listened to prayer, more prayer, liturgy, and prayer (at least that is what I think was going on) and read my Bible. An alter boy up front yawned big as day. After awhile I noticed that all the women (no, EVERYONE) had their arms covered. Oops! While I was dressed nicely, I didn't have long sleeves. I discreetly put my coat on over my dress so as not to offend anyone further.

I wish I could have understood more than "Christo", but I did what I could. I repeated phrases during call and response and prayed silently. What a strange sensation it all was.

After a while I snuck out a bit early and headed up the hill to the Catholic's prayer garden. There I was able to read my Bible some more in the sunshine with the statues of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus to keep me company. The sun was bright and the trees blooming. It was a lovely Spring day!

So, while I can't say I'll venture back to the church down the street, I did manage to find some peace, comfort, and joy just as needed.

Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!

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