February 28, 2016

Sundays in Spain

With enough trips to El Rastro to start my own morning market, I decided that this weekend was the perfect time to try a different Sunday activity in Spain: go to church.

Though I do not attend services at school, I visit my childhood church when I am home.  One of my roommates in Madrid was also raised Christian, so with her, and her break-the-ice visit a few weeks before, I had the courage to go to a Spanish service.  As God would decide, my roommate’s grandmother is friends with the cousin of a former pastor of the Iglesia Evangélica Encuentro con Dios, only a few metro stops from my apartment.

It was my roommate’s second visit, but the congregation still greeted us with excitement, joy and love.  I could feel the acceptance with each welcoming embrace.  As no surprise to me, the non-Catholic, Spanish church service began around noon.  With enough time for a good night’s sleep and a few cups of coffee, we were singing songs of praise for the first half hour of the service.  Because the lyrics were projected, I was able to sing along to and understand much of what was being celebrated.  While I did not comprehend a lot of the sermon, I felt that the closing was delivered with my friends and me in mind.

The pastor first compared a congregation to a fútbol team.  He stressed that no one individual is better or more important than the other, neither on Earth nor in the eyes of God.  Rather, we are all together, on the same team, helping each other live life in God’s name.  Pastor Washington continued to say that it did not matter who you were or where you came from- Spain, other countries in Europe, America, Latin America- because we are all brothers and sisters, children of God.

Similar to my church in Pennsylvania, there was a post-service reception with juice, coffee, and other refreshments.  The Spaniards, though, were incomparably friendly and helpful, offering their assistance to us for anything and at any time of the day.  Though the setting and proceedings were much more informal than what I am used to for a Sunday morning church service, the faith was the same.  Many of my upcoming weekends will be spent far from the little church in Madrid, but I am happy to have gone to express my thanks to God, and hope I will make it back again.

 

Travel Tips

  • Like Nike preaches, just do it.  I wanted to go to a Spanish church service, but I was nervous to go to such an intimate place where I was clearly an outsider.  With supportive friends and a nudge from above, I went, and it was worth it.  Whether it’s a person you’ve been meaning to talk to, or an activity outside of your comfort zone that you know you should try, just do it.  You may only have the opportunity once in a lifetime, and you can’t afford to let it pass you by.

 

Destination Locations

 

Paz, Amor, Madrid

A.J.H.

 

 

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