Now, this was the first church service I've ever been to that wasn't a wedding or a funeral, and it was a bit special.
I like jazz. I have an album by Tørd Gustavsen, a pianist, that I played continuously when I first got it. Spiritual, minimal, glacial Norwegian-type jazz. I was only there for two full days, and in the paper when me and my new Norwegian squeeze were deciding what to do, we saw that, as insane luck would have it, Tørd was playing.
In a church, as part of a service, for free.
Well, bloody hell, we thought. We both love Tørd Gustavsen. This we have to see. Bound to be rammed, we thought, so we'll get there early. We got there an hour early to find only him and a trumpeter, sort of warming up, oiling the sustain pedal. "Hello!" they said. We sat down and when the service started there were only about 50 people there, and of them perhaps five looked they'd turned up to hear the music. I got my programme, or whatever it's called, so I could sing along.
The vicar would speak (gave a long shout out about solidarity with the people of New Orleans when he was talking about Lazarus) and then Tørd and the trumpeter would play something beautiful and minimal that turned into a hymn, and then he'd play the hymn and we were listening to one of the world's greatest jazz pianists playing a little church piano while the congregation sang along. I said all the 'amens', sang along, repeated the repeaty-bits.
The vicar hit a prayer bell and there was silence for three minutes, and I even said (God help me) a prayer. Well, I thought about the world and wished for specific things to get better, and thought about myself and how I wished to be better in specific ways, wishing these things would come about somehow. Then later the congregation were invited to bang their heels on the floor in a heartbeat and Tørd and the trumpeter played on top of it after a while. The trumpeter finished by blowing through his trumpet, unvoiced. It was beautiful.
It was very, very cool. Nice Christian stuff.
Still don't believe in any god or gods, not going to be joining any of my local congregations, but... respect to Jesus and His followers for that experience which had an effect on me. Nice.