Worship Tanzanian Style-Part 2
The theme is chickens, because last week I told you about the chicken that was being auctioned off after the service. Today we had two! Two roosters being offered to the highest bidders not after worship but in the middle of it. You see, Randy and I weren’t the only special guests at Uyole Lutheran Church this morning. Bishop Mwakyolile was there to bless the new parish truck for which the choirs at Uyole had raised the funds and which they had then bought. But buying the truck wasn’t the end of it. It needs newer, heavier tires to be as useful as possible. Hence the chickens.
At the early service, a man from the congregation led the proceedings after some singing, praying and joking. He carried the rooster to the front of the chancel and let the mayhem begin. A live chicken normally sells for 15,000Tzs ($9) in the market place, but this morning the bidding started at 10,000 and quickly escalated to three times as much as members of the church tried to outdo each other getting this bird as a gift for the bishop. Much laughter later and it was his.
At the second service the chicken’s twin was up for bids in the same way and since I had some money left in my pocket I told Dr. Mankenja that I wanted to place a 15,000 shilling bid on that chicken for the bishop. He should have both of them, I said. The good provost shouted out the bid in Swahili for me, the congregation cheered and before you knew it the chicken’s price was up to 40,000. All for a good cause and in good fun. Of course, what I wasn’t prepared for was that the auctioneer handing me the bird to present to the bishop because I had been the one to drive up the price. The last time I held a grown up live rooster was ….never.
You never know what happens at worship here in Tanzania but it sure is lively and alive. You come for preaching and you take part in a chicken auction. You worship, you get fed (twice), blessed more times than you can count and you become part of the body of Christ in all of its variety and fullness. You sing, you pray, you laugh and you hold each other up. It’s something around here.