Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Make a Joyful Noise
I have awoken this morning as I have for last two mornings to the sound of Morning Services being said and sung by the students in the chapel of the seminary. The hymns are sung from the psalter, so you have to remember the melody, but no one will notice if you make a mistake because they are accompanied by drums and tamborines. The rhythms are unfamiliar and the cadence very rapid but the songs are sung with joy.
The community of St. Nicholas is an island of peace in a hectic and crowded world, serving not only the Church in Ghana, but Togo, Cameron, Nigeria, and other countries as well. 40 students and 5 full time faculty, along with some visiting faculty live and work here. They are mostly men, with 2 women, one of whom lived in Alexandria, Virginia for some time. The students wear cassocks to class and to services even in this heat, and live a very disciplined life, going to lecture all day after Morning mass, ending with Evening prayer and Compline almost every day. The students are happy this month because the dean excused them from Evening prayers on Tuesdays and Thursdays while Craig and I are here so that Craig could give a series of Lectures on those evenings. Last night was his first lecture. The topic was "Virtue Ethics" which is a really interesting and quite ancient way of doing ethics. He taught for an hour or more, explaining the ethic's history and content in a clear and accessible way that I really enjoyed. I see him preach all the time, but never get to hear him teach, so this was a real treat. You think you know everything about someone..
Today we go to visit one of the national forests. There is another American named Jared from Louisiana who is visiting in a near by town and he will come with us. The Dean has arranged for someone to drive us and show us around. We are very fortunate to be so well cared for.
It is already heating up and the sun is not even up yet . I hear the ending hymns, which means I better get up. Things start early around here. The noise of the service resounds loudly in this part of the town, waking the roosters by the kitchen and the turkey in the pens under our bathroom window. Both began crowing and gobbling as soon as the first drum beats sounded about an hour ago. The turkey will gobble all day long. I've named him Henry, since he seems to be part of every conversation I have. "Hi, how are you? (gobble)"