Back in those days, the banyan tree used to be our “auditorium”, and its shade was our “Chapel” on Sundays.
After a breakfast of Upma on Sunday mornings, you’d walk in single file to church and drop the rupee coin into the offertory box. Then you would go, and sit in rows on those Koorai mats spread unevenly over stones and rocks protruding curiously from the ground, over sand and leaves and anthills.
When the first of “today’s Bible reading” was being read, you’d fiddle with the bookmarks and stickers in your Bible, and you’d play with the surprised insects coming out of the ground to inspect the mats, all of them wondering why the sky fell down on their roofs.
It was only when the choir lifted their voices to sing, that you woke up. “Howwww, Can I say thanks, For the things, You have done for me?” Each comma a pause, as if to emphasize the question. Only now you lifted your head and woke up to the atmosphere of worship and guitar and music.
“Things so undeserved yet You gave To prove Your love for me” – and you’d have a lump of holy confession in your throat.
And then the notes slowly rose up with “the voices of a million angels”, and you could not express your own gratitude, and the sound of birds on tree tops joined in a harmony with the singing, and your body unable to contain itself broke into goosebumps, as you closed your eyes in prayer:
“All that I am, and ever hope to be I owe it all to Thee”