Your friend’s roommate practices for months for this choir concert. He leaves the dorm at around 8:00 every night and comes back home in the early morning- sometimes at 2:00, sometimes at 6:00. It’s not a drug habit, it’s a singing addiction, sponsored by the Methodist-Presbyterian Union here at the university.
The concert is Sunday at 4pm, at the National Theater! Buses leave from campus at 2:15. No, 3:15. No, 2:30. You arrive early. There’s time to wander around the outside of the theatre, buy Fanice, and try to tan the sickly pale underside of your arms. The doors open at 4:00.
You and your friends rush inside. The theater itself feels cramped and crowded, but maybe the streamers and flashing Christmas lights make it seem smaller than it really is. Slowly, the seats fill up. Everyone is your age! College students laughing, shouting, texting.
The lights go out! It’s time!
An MC walks onstage and chats about the program. He’s trying too hard, you think, and it seems like the rest of the audience agrees. But then the curtain’s raised and WHOA!
The theater explodes with noise, and instantly you’re lost in a storm of enthusiasm. Onstage, there’s a choir swaying from side to side, led by a charismatic soloist at the front. He leans back, he jumps, he falls on his knees. The crowd goes wild. The seats aren’t enough! They might as well get rid of them, because everyone flows into the aisles and dances and sings. Arms raised, feet moving, hips swaying. They know all of the hymns. Vuvuzelas blare. The noise of the lyrics and piano drowns out your timidity.
You’re watching. You don’t know the words, you don’t know the motions. But why not join in? Why not raise your arms in praise of a God you don’t believe in?