You have all been learning about my experiences growing up in the Catholic Church, which I wrote about in several previous posts. (Memories in the Church on the Hill. )The three of you were raised in that same religion, but as adults, you have now formed your own opinions regarding the Church.
Over the years, I have experienced different religious services—as a guest at a few bar/bat mitzvahs, with a friend at an Episcopal service as well as Aunt El’s Episcopal wedding, and at the Methodist Church up the street with Kelly’s family.
Yesterday, Dad and I added a new religious experience to our repertoire, at an AME Zion church, which was the site of a rally at which the keynote speaker was Casey’s favorite guy, Vice President Biden.
Not paying attention to that fact that we would be going to a church, we dressed in jeans, and while that did not make a big difference to the other attendees, it did to me. Looking around at how nicely almost everyone else was dressed, I felt I was being a bit disrespectful, but we nevertheless did not let that deter us.
It was several hours before the guest of honor arrived, but we were not at all bored. The music was fabulous. We heard a combination of blues/gospel/spiritual music sung by several choirs of men, women, and children. The energy was electrifying, and we found ourselves clapping, swaying to the tunes, and smiling. There was lots and lots of smiling.
Many spoke—men and women, both politicians and members of the church. We were honored to have the first female bishop of that church as one of our speakers. The messages were all positive and encouraging, and we left feeling so uplifted.
When the Vice President arrived and spoke, I was not disappointed. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. He told the story of his grandchildren and the Obama girls having a sleepover at a hotel on the night of the 2008 nomination. He said that seeing those little bodies of black and white sleeping together on the floor made him know that he had made the right decision to run on the ticket with the man one of his grandchildren referred to as “Bawack.”
Looking around, we were clearly in the minority, but none of us in my group felt that way. Everyone was just so happy and welcoming. I wish there was more of that in this country.