No, not people. Hymns.
On Sunday, I woke up on my couch bed (ridiculously comfortable, but I believe I mentioned that). After some breakfast, I went with the Tsujitas to Church. Their Church is small, consisting of their family, Debbie's brother's family, another small family, and Joseph. I think there's a few more people who come, but they weren't there when I was. There were 10 of us sitting in the community center room; a few of the kids were in another room.
I've been to Church in Osaka twice. The first time, I was too homesick to do anything but try not to cry. The second time I felt out of place and out of touch. Everyone I met (both times) was very friendly and kind to me; going out of their way to talk to me and introduce me to more people. But I didn't enjoy either time or get much out of it (except feeling uncomfortable), so I didn't go. And - I have been travelling a lot and am often out of town anyways. So it's been a while since I was at Church.
We spent two hours in the Church room (a rented community center room), in a circle of chairs. I enjoyed every second, and twice found myself wishing it wouldn't end.
We started by singing from a thin book of songs that Debbie had put together. There were old songs and newer songs and Christmas songs. We sang some hymns and a chorus and some other songs. When it ended, I looked at the clock and couldn't believe it had been 45 minutes. I mentioned in my last Oita post that we spent a lot of time singing old hymns the evening before, and I loved it. There's something about the hymns that I didn't realize I remembered, and the tones and the melodies, and the words that have so much meaning that draws me in and captures me. It's a feeling and a desire to sing and listen that newer music never gives me. I wanted us to keep singing forever, but, alas, we sat down and did the Bible Study.
We talked about qualities of God, and I found myself not only listening intently but - learning! Joseph made a point that was obvious and that I was aware of, but the way he explained it hit me in a whole new way. Definitely got me thinking. Again, I looked at the clock and couldn't realize it was already noon - the end. After, I spent a few minutes being happy and friendly (by choice) and talking to Joseph (who is in Japan doing his Masters (I think?) from Ghana). As we left, I found myself wishing I could come back next Sunday. Thoughts were crawling around my head, I was humming hymns and old songs, and I was perfectly content.
It got me to thinking about why I've had such an aversion to Church lately, when I enjoyed it so much on that Sunday morning. I haven't quite figured out why. But I do keep wishing I could go back to Oita for Church. Perhaps it's the atmosphere and the way people view it, or why they go, or how they act when they're there.
After Church we had some lunch, and I relaxed at the Tsujitas until it was time to leave. I watched some of iRobot with Akira and Misa (really liked it... hadn't seen it yet. It was quite different than I was expecting); and wrote some HTML for Debbie to use on her blog (hello, Grade 8 Computer Class - wow, that was a long time ago).
I was quite sad to leave Oita; the weekend went too fast but was full of good things. And there's always more adventures waiting.... but if I come back to Japan, I will definitely be going to Oita again! :-)