Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

from A Year of Morning Thanks

Mesowe Apostles

The Masowe Apostolic movement is an indigenous African take on Christianity that rejects many accouterments of traditional Western Christian ecclesiastical life. Instead of worshipping in church, for instance, the Masowe Apostles gather in fields and open spaces, where they believe they can experience the Holy Spirit, who, they claim, rides on the wind and, I suppose, finds church sanctuaries claustrophobic.

Five million people throughout Southern Africa belong to Mesowe Apostles. Their hybrid faith incorporates elements of pre-colonial African religious traditions (the sacred nature of the wind and the elements) as well as traditional Christian doctrine (they believe in Christ and the Trinity, for instance). Like many other newer forms of Christianity throughout the developing world, the Mesowe's practice a faith that is, strangely enough, part-indiginous and part-colonial.

Their four-hour services would be tough for me to take, so I'm not about to convert. What's more, I'm not sure there is a Mesowe congregation anywhere between here and the Missouri River. But after several days out and about once again on the Great Plains, I was reminded, despite the unseasonable snow, how much I too love the open spaces.

I’m thankful for their witness to the spirituality of plains, American or African. On many a morning out here where I live, I think I could join ‘em.

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