13 March 2007

Houston #3

Ah, the wedding.

Houston, in my limited experience, does not match up well with Google maps. At least, the directions were difficult to follow. Hence, a trip that GM thought would last about 35 minutes took more like 1 hr and 15 minutes. So we left at 3:00 to make a 4:00 wedding, arrived at 4:15, and were 45 minutes early. That's right. The wedding was on Ethiopian time.

After a 10 minute welcome, in both Amharic and English, everyone stood up and started applauding something the worship leader had said. I think the English equivalent must have been something like "let's stand and give God a big round of applause" or something like that. Then the singing. About 35 minutes of singing Ethiopian praise songs -- loud, with lots of dancing (which in this case looked a lot like jumping up and down), and some fascinating vocalizations that I cannot quite describe: something like saying "lalalalala" (trilling? ululation) in head voice. These vocalizations came at apparently random times. Of course, everything was in Amharic, so the only part I understood was "Hallelujah." Thank goodness for Hebrew.

A 30 minute homily followed. Fortunately there were bits of English interspersed in the homily, so this is roughly what I understood:

rock concert, day saving time, spring forward, she's talking to herself, minus 20, minus 17, only for one hour, lost luggage, Christmas tree lights, cheap, nine dollar, attention (this may have been something Amharic that I interpreted as "attention"), focus, distraction, this is just his first try, it's amazing, "she's only 10 minute, then he spend one hour", pound gorilla, don't worry, shopping center, be fruitful, get up and do something, this is what he's saying, "California, Malibu Beach," panaromic view, it's a historical moment, emergency, midwest, Ohio Valley, downstairs, basement, "Miami Beach. Wow. White sand. Blue water. Cuban music. Salsa.", Hurricane, it's not easy, FEMA, look at picture, set a mandate (again, possibly Amharic), Christmas tree light - is that really a value?, generation

I assume that the Amharic portions of the sermon were more enlightening. As best I can tell this was a sermon about false values, the danger of living anywhere (I assume that's the bit about Ohio Valley, California, Miami), and possibly the widow of Zarephath.

Oh, and the sermon was apparently funny at places.

Vows followed. Traditional as best as I could tell. Then the lighting of the unity candle, which the happy couple held aloft after lighting. And the kiss.

Finally, another part of the wedding I could understand: food. A lovely Ethiopian meal was had by all, including the guests that did not fit in the fellowship hall and had to sit outside. Also including, possibly, passersby who saw there was some sort of festivity happening and decided they too would partake in the meal.

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