An Anglican preacher in Kenya has decided to take his act on the road. Literally.
In a Christianity-meets-corona version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the Rev. Paul Machira, accompanied by singers and musicians, walks a predetermined route through certain Nairobi neighborhoods and lures little ones as young as two to their balconies. There, while social-distancing, they join him in full-throated praise of Jesus.
A groovy rendition of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” blasts from speakers outside an apartment block in the outskirts of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Children, some in diapers, dance on the balconies above, accompanied by their parents, to the tunes bellowed out by Rev. Paul Machira and a supporting band.
Coronavirus restrictions don’t stop Machira in a country where traditional church services have been suspended. The man who calls himself a “children’s preacher” calls out Bible lessons between songs.
At least he’s trying to be considerate about the whole thing.
Machira said the “Balcony to Balcony” service has visited 16 locations so far, and his team has two requirements before arriving. The housing should have balconies so social distancing measures can be observed. And everyone at the compound must consent to the service’s presence.
Cool. Although you can imagine what it’d be like if you were to actually voice a polite objection to all the devout neighbors in your building. Best wear earplugs and endure it.
Machira told the Associated Press that the coronacrisis is
“… the greatest opportunity that has ever arisen to the church, reason being we have got reason to go out on the streets. … Jesus sometimes would go to the temple but his main ministry was out in the fields, out in the streets.” … Many children in Kenya do not have access to church services online, he said.
[T]he idea for the mobile service came from Lilian Mbere, a Sunday school teacher who had tried [to] get children to sing hymns from their balconies to reduce the monotony of staying at home. Mbere said she found the response overwhelming and invited Machira to conduct a service. “It has been beautiful, children coming together worshiping God, praising God…” Machira said. …
One resident, Wanjiru Mbiriri, said it’s been difficult for her 2-year-old to adjust to staying at home on Sundays but the “Balcony to Balcony” service has restored some normalcy.
Sadly, the Almighty doesn’t always cooperate with the weather He sends. Several of Machira’s walking services had to be called off due to heavy rainfall. Floods have killed more than 200 people in recent weeks. Evidently, God is still mad at Kenyans for something.
Sing louder, children!
(Screenshot via YouTube)