I had the day off today so this morning I went to a Jamaican church in the north end of the city. I arrived late and was escorted by chance to the front row just as the lead vocalist and gospel choir started singing “Highway to Heaven,” which was great because I knew the song, so right away instead of feeling awkward I was clapping my hands and rocking along with the congregation.
(Lead solo) My way gets brighter; (Choir) Walk on!
My load gets lighter. (Choir) Walk on!
(Choir) ‘Walking up the King’s highway.
(Lead solo) Christ walks beside me; (Choir) Walk on!
His love to guide me. (Choir) Walk on!
(Choir) Walking up the King’s highway.
(Choir) It’s a highway, it’s a highway,It’s a highway up to heaven.
None can walk up there
But the pure in heart.
It’s a highway, it’s a highway,
It’s a highway up to heaven.
(Lead) I’m walking. (Choir) ‘Walking up the King’s highway.
(Lead) I’m talking. (Choir) ‘Walking up the King’s highway.
(Lead) I’m singing. (Choir) ‘Walking up the King’s highway.
(Lead) I’m shouting. (Choir) ‘Walking up the King’s highway.
(Choir) I am walking up the King’s highway.
I’m not really very religious and I haven’t been to a church for years. When I do go I sometimes finding myself wanting to be suddenly overtaken. I want my eyes to tear up and a wave of tingling to come over me, I want my burdens lifted, but I never quite get the feeling. People come forward and get on their knees and profess their love for Jesus. I just stand back and watch.
It was a nice service. (I sometimes had trouble understanding the minister Jamaican accent.) At one point they had all the children come up and they asked them questions like “What does Easter mean?” The first kid said, “The Easter Bunny comes.” The minister laughed. Wrong answer. Some precocious kid, said, “It’s when Jesus died and was resurrected from the grave.” That’s right!
A baby was baptised. Later the minister asked people who were feeling desolate to come forward and give their lives to Jesus. Probably about thirty people come forward and knelt before the alter.
While I mainly work in the suburb north of the city, I still do a lot of calls in the city’s north end, and am very fond of the community. When I first started in the city — I was always posted north. I have no doubt been in the houses of some members of the congregation, and cared for them and or their family members.
I thought of all the children standing up at the front of the church listening to the woman tell them that all we want is peace, no ill feelings to anyone, just to live our lives with love. I wonder if I will ever take care of any those kids in years to come. Will Jesus protect them? Or will I have to wash their blood from my ambulance? I wish them only love and health.
I think it is good for a paramedic to know his community. I used to think it was better to not know anyone because then you didn’t become emotionally attached, but I think there is too much emotional detachment in the world. It is better to care.
Jesus didn’t show himself to me, but as I was leaving, several old women in Sunday hats shook my hand and thanked me for visiting.
It’s a highway, it’s a highway,
Walking up the King’s highway.