The sound of a single trombone quietly held the group together in the market place in Vauban tonight. There’s no church in Vauban; they meet around a fire as the twilight descended for a service.
They sing self consciously. Voices speak more loudly from outside the circle – those who aren’t interested in the proceedings. It’s quiet and huddled; it isn’t a big display of belief – no agenda is being pushed on those who aren’t standing there.
The fire burns oblivious to belief. Cold, stiff fingers – people thought, perhaps, they wouldn’t need gloves now that it’s April – hold the music booklet printed on pink paper. The fumble with it as the introduction from the trombone, played by a man standing on the edge of the circle, brings them together. It looks as if their mouths are hardly moving; their shoulders are still.
“God” is the noun, and “to live” is the verb – Gott and leben. The resurrection is covered, love is mentioned. As said every year, I suppose, the message is that, “Everyone is going to be OK, really.”
It’s Easter. The coloured eggs had been prepared and the cakes had been baked before they met around the fire. The tree branches to hang the eggs on had already been found by the small creek that runs to behind the left side of Vauban if you’re looking down to the end of the tram line.
The group huddled – standing for one of the last times in coats and scarves and beanies before the weather gets better – looked like a community. It was here and it was now.
There were probably other similar gatherings going on at the same time – but you don’t think about this standing there, listening. You don’t think about what’s going on externally. These gatherings are immediate, something which small scale, community-based religion does really well.
I left before it ended and dispersed into the night. It felt right to drift away from a half understood sermon, still an anonymous face.