Walking through the South Bronx on a Sunday morning, you're bound to hear the sounds of worship emanating from the sanctuaries of numerous storefront churches. I like that these private experiences have a way of leaking into public, giving you just a little hint of what's going on inside as you continue on your way. Today, however, I was stopped in my tracks by the gospel music issuing forth from a small Baptist church. A couple of people were chanting, but it was mainly the keyboardist and drummer that drew me in. Their playing was really expressive and powerful, and I just stood outside and listened.
Maybe a minute later, a woman and her young son came around the corner, heading into the church. "Why don't you come inside?" she asked. I was hesitant to intrude, but her face and voice were so kind and warm that I couldn't say no. So I sat through the rest of the service with her and her son, taking in the music, the preaching, the dancing — one woman even started speaking in tongues in the middle of the sermon. I was very obviously out of place there, but the pastor and many of the congregants went out of their way to make me feel welcome.
And that amazing drummer I mentioned earlier? Turns out it was the thirteen-year-old gentleman you see standing in the photo above.