So, I recently joined a church choir. This would be less than notable were it not for the fact that I am Jewish. And now I’m a Jew who goes to church on Sundays. However, because I don’t want to get sued for defamation of character and establishment (is that even a thing?), I’m not going to tell you which church it is, sorry y’all.
Although I’ve done my share of singing in churches (the acoustics are great for shrill children’s choir voices), I had never actually participated in a Sunday Mass until last semester. This makes sense obviously, I’m not exactly a devout Christian, though I was curious, so I jumped at the chance to go to a mass in the name of higher education and religion class.
Yeah… that wasn’t fun. Not only was it beyond freezing in the sanctuary (we were sitting at the back and there was a draft somewhere) but I also felt very out of place. Normally during Shabbat services I participate actively, but sitting on a hard pew listening to a pastor go on and on about the importance of welcoming the stranger, I felt very much out of place. And I discovered I dislike being preached at and being told that I am meek and humble. Okay, you can be meek and humble and I’ll be a goddamn diva. Cool?
Despite this less than stellar experience, I jumped at the chance to sing in the other church’s choir. I hadn’t sung in a choir since grade nine and my university’s choir was not terribly challenging. At our first rehearsal, we learned one song.
At church choir rehearsal, we were given fifteen pieces and went through about 7 of them in two hours, the kind of rehearsal where you pull out a piece, the conductor says “go”, the organist starts playing and you just have to sing. Needless to say my sight reading abilities increased exponentially (actually, I think it’s more of a logarithmic function because, at a certain point, I suppose you can’t really get any better…).
All this to say that I am now a good Jewish girl who regularly attends church. And last week’s mass was beyond boring. The week before was alright, the pastor was funny and succinct and I passed the time in reasonable comfort. For some reason this Sunday, however, it was like the service was never going to end. The priest, a walrus of a man, droned on and on and on about Jesus and Zacchaeus. He even started singing about him and talking about how meek we are “in the eyes of the lord”. It wasn’t like my Rabbi didn’t teach during services as well, but it never sounded like she was preaching at us. It was more like a lecture that would be left open to discussion afterwards. I never feel as though there is anything to discuss after the interpretation of the bible passage. Plus, he was really fat and had terrible diction so it wasn’t like I could understand a word he was saying anyway.
So although I don’t necessarily enjoy the whole church experience, I get why people get up on Sunday morning to go to mass. There’s free food afterwards.