On Sunday afternoon, my wife, mother-in-law and I attended an Eritrean wedding at Westminster Community Church with our new friends, the Peace Gospel Mission. There were traditional Eritrean dresses, ululation at each “amen”, and children escaping from parents to run down the aisle. All the service was given in Tigrinya. I recognized “Christ”, “amen” and “alleluia”, but little else, and yet the spirit of love was obvious. The energy was infectious! At some points of the service, as the couple responded with their own, “Amen”, the congregation cheered and the band played a drum roll!
At the end of the service, I was invited to give the couple a blessing and I pronounced the final blessing from our own marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. As I finished with an enthusiastic, “Amen”, the congregation spoke their own and some even cried out in ululation.
After giving the blessing, as the event was shifting from the service to the meal, I thought we would leave. I was feeling a bit out of place, and a little shy. The only person I knew there besides my wife and mother-in-law was Pastor Solomon, who was busy presiding. I went to get the car, but we didn’t make it out before we were gathered back into the room and handed plates of delicious food.
I thank God for the generous hospitality of the Peace Gospel Mission. It really is a blessing to be welcomed and fed. I have invited their congregation to attend our July 4th picnic. I hope we have many opportunities to get to know Pastor Solomon’s congregation. It is another chance to live into our vision that: On earth as in heaven, all are welcome, all are fed, and all are loved.