Performative worship songs in Angola teach Bible truth
“Why is that woman carrying a huge water can on her head?” I thought to myself. “Why are people putting chairs on their heads? Or Bibles? What’s going on?” Everyone was on their feet, dancing in a loose conga line through the church and singing loudly in harmony to the beat of a couple of drums.
I was in a Mennonite Brethren church in Saurimo in Eastern Angola, Africa, at the end of a weeklong trip in the Angolan countryside. I had been sick the day before, and had agreed to an injection of what turned out to be a drug banned in most countries, but I was pretty sure I was not seeing things.
Then the pastor helpfully explained. “They are singing a song about the exodus of Israel from Egypt. The things on their heads show how they carried all their goods out with them.”
How fun! What a memorable way to teach the Bible stories – completely relevant to kids and adults alike.
I thought of a few other encounters in Angola with the power of music. Two days before, some 200 people from the church met my fellow travellers and me at the edge of Cafunfo. We marched slowly for almost an hour to the church, while singing songs about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We weren’t worthy of that comparison, but that’s what they did.