Monday, August 02, 2004

Who put the cold in the snowflake?

Around April this year I was starting to get a bit worried. I'd been in Hong Kong for several months without finding a church that I wanted to belong to. And I was becoming more picky and critical with each new one that I tried. Most international churches seemed to be too big and impersonal - full of money and neurotic people. I sat through many boring (and a couple of painful) sermons noticing that 'international' seemed to be synonymous with 'American' and wondering what percentage of the congregation held NRA membership.

Finally I tried a church five minutes from my house which had made several donations to our work with asylum seekers. It exceeded all expectations.

The pastor is from Manly and his sermons make me think more than I'm used to doing in church. The congregation really is international, mostly from different Asian nations with a handful from Africa and the West. The style is a little more traditional than I am used to but the pace of life here has given me much greater appreciation for a service that is a more peaceful and reflective. I knew it was the place for me when the first week's announcements included an upcoming forum on torture and a protest later than day outside the US embassy.

But it couldn't be perfect. The music is absolutely hideous. The hymns are all very old and their tunes are terrible. If we have to sing old hymns then we could at least sing the good ones! Every week there is a more modern 'Young People's Choice' but I'm convinced that a real young person does not do the choosing. I know it's a bit long but here's the first verse of one of the worst ones so far. I just about managed to make it through this song without breaking out into hysteric laughter:

Who put the colours in the rainbow?
Who put the salt into the sea?
Who put the cold into the snowflake?
Who made you and me?
Who put the hump upon the camel?
Who put the neck on the giraffe?
Who put the tail upon the monkey?
Who made hyenas laugh?
Who made whales and snails and quails? (mezzo forte)
Who made hogs and dogs and frogs? (forte)
Who made bats and rats and cats? (fortissimo)
Who made everything?

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