A Travellerspoint blog



MARCH 13, 2022

sunny 85 °F


OPENING HYMN: The Zulu text is sung by the Silver Whisper Choir:

Siyahamba, ekukanyen’ kwenkos’
Siyahamba, siyahamba, oh
Siyahamba ekukanyen’ kwenkos.

The congregation will be invited to join in singing the same text in English.

We are marching in the light of God. x4
We are marching, we are marching, oh
We are marching in the light of God. x2


The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

You that stand in the house of the Lord:
Praise the name of the Lord.

My brothers and sisters, let us ask God’s help in preparing ourselves for worship.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


All you big things bless the Lord
Mt. Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria
The Rift Valley and the Serengeti Plain
Fat baobabs and shady mangoes
Eucalyptus and tamarinds
Bless the Lord, praise and extol him forever.

All you tiny things bless the Lord.
Black ants and hopping fleas,
wriggling tadpoles and larvae
Flying locusts and water drops
Millet seeds and dried dagaa bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him forever.

Let us pray. O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, is alive and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Listen to the Good News proclaimed in the Gospel of Saint John, chapter 10 verses 11-16

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd."

This is the Gospel of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

HYMN: If You Believe and I believe. The choir will sing this hymn once and then invite the congregation to join in.
Words and Music: Traditional Zimbabwe

A REFLECTION The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

Doesn’t look much like church around here, does it? There are no pews, no chancel, no stained glass windows, no organ. We are in the “Show Lounge," the place where folks gather for magic shows and Silversea Singers productions, for Jon Fleming’s insightful briefings and our Tale Tellers lectures. We come here from different backgrounds, with different customs. And yet, as we sing our hymns of praise, hear the words of Holy Scripture, reflect on their meaning, and offer our prayers, there is something very familiar about what we are doing in this place. Here and everywhere people assemble to worship, we encounter the one God and Father of us all, the God who sent Jesus to be our Good Shepherd. “I lay down my life for the sheep,” Jesus said, “...so there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

Now the flock to which Jesus calls us is not an institution with buildings, officials, and rules but a community, and living in community is not always an easy thing to do. We like the idea of a Good Shepherd who will call us each by name, as the attentive Silversea staff does. We like having a shepherd who cares for us and who will lay down his life for us. What we don't like quite as much is being in a flock because then we are just part of a herd, and sometimes other members of the flock get on our nerves. Also some sheep always tend to wander off and then the Good Shepherd has to leave ninety-nine of us behind to go off and rescue the one who has strayed and bring it home because, he says, sheep belong in a flock.

The early Christians took their flock, their community, very seriously. It was where they prayed and where no one was ever in need because they shared what they had. Christian congregations today are still meant to be communities like this, places where people can disagree and can sometimes hurt each other, but stay together because they know they belong to one family and they are bigger and stronger and better together than they are apart from each other.

Our worship together here on this ship has formed us into a little Christian community. We are a flock, not because we have the same heritage and traditions or agree about everything. What makes us a flock is whose sheep we are. Jesus didn’t say that any particular tradition or doctrine or people were the way, the truth, or the life. He said that HE was and that by following him we become his flock.

And so we learn from each other. In a few minutes we will say a Creed, a statement of belief. I have studied this Creed in seminary; almost every Sunday of my life I have said “I believe in Jesus Christ ... who was crucified, died, and was buried... On the third day he rose again and ascended into heaven.” From time to time, I have wondered why church scholars count the time the way they do, why the time from 3 pm on Good Friday until dawn on Easter adds up to three days, but the question never seemed worthwhile pursuing. But then here comes this African creed professing that

Jesus was nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from the grave. They didn’t teach me about the hyenas at Yale Divinity School!

So to the Africans I give thanks for infusing me with new understanding, opening up new images and possibilities, teaching me of their wonder and their faith that Jesus is truly human. I give thanks for African prayers that draw us together into one family asking OUR Father and give US our daily bread?

Being a member of Jesus’ flock means that when we see our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, segregated by class or gender of race or economic condition, we start working to break down the walls and open the gates because God’s Kingdom is big enough to hold us all. It means that we start sharing what we have with those in want because we are only as strong as the weakest of us. It means that we care for the earth because it belongs to everyone. Sometimes it means wearing a mask and social distancing because we are in this pandemic together and all lives matter. It means that we are patient and kind with our fellow sheep when they get on our nerves. Belonging to Jesus’ flock means that we love each other with all our hearts because ultimately we are all one flock with one Shepherd.

THE CREED – An African version

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it.
He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world.
God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth.
We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know him in the light.
God promised in the book of his word, the Bible, that he would save the world and all the nations and tribes.
We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good,
curing people by the power of God,
teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love.
He was rejected by his people,
tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died.
He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him,
and on the third day, he rose from the grave.
He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.
We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him.
All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins,
be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God,
live the rules of love and share the bread together in love,
to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again.
We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

Merciful Father, we are your children, your Spirit lives in us and speaks through us as we pray, saying after each of our petitions: Lord hear us.

Father, you created the heavens and the earth: bless the produce of our land and the works of our hands. Lord hear us.

Father, you created us in your own image: teach us to honor you in all your children.
Lord hear us.

In your steadfast love you provide for your creation: grant good rains for our crops.
Lord hear us.

Father, you inspired the prophets of old: grant that your faithful people may proclaim your truth to the world. Lord hear us.

Lord Christ, You forgave the thief on the cross: bring us all to penitence and reconciliation. Lord hear us.

You broke down the walls that divide us: bring the people of this world to live in concord and in peace. Lord hear us.

You taught us through your apostle Paul to pray for kings and rulers: bless and guide all who are in authority. Lord hear us.

You were rich yet became poor for our sake: move those who have wealth to share generously with those who have little. Lord hear us.

You sat among the learned, listening and asking them questions: inspire all who teach and all who learn. Lord hear us.

You cured by your healing touch and word: heal the sick and bless those who minister to them. Lord hear us.

You were unjustly condemned: strengthen our brothers and sisters who suffer injustice and persecution. Lord hear us.

You knew the love and care of an earthly home: be with migrant workers and their families. Lord hear us.

You lived as an exile in Egypt: protect and comfort all refugees. Lord hear us.

You are the Lord of the living and the dead: open the gates of your kingdom to those who have died. Lord hear us.

Father, we know that you hear those who call upon you: give to us and to all people what is best for us, and the faith that we are in your hands now and forever. Amen.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Life is short and we have little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind, and may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

HYMN: This Little Light of Mine

The Silver Whisper Choir will sing the closing hymn
and then invite the congregation to join in a reprise of the first verse.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ. Amen.

The liturgy is a compilation of various South African and Zulu liturgical prayers, and a prayer of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, slightly modified for this congregation.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins, The Reverend William J. Eakins

The Silver Whisper Choir: Colleen Blanchard, Bill Eakins, Fred Fisher, Luisa Georgov, Joy Griffin, Stella Hilton, David Lang, Bill Phillips, Anne Richardson, Darrell Trojan, June Zeiff
Directors: Rhiannon Herridge and Jade Pritchard

Usher: Andrea Ryan

Posted by HopeEakins 05:04 Archived in Tanzania Comments (2)


Starfish heaven

sunny 96 °F


Zanzibar is complex, multidimensional, throbbing with energy and color in its city and its villages. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous group of islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania. We docked in Stone Town, wound through twisting lanes by buildings with beautifully carved doors, and then travelled to Bluebay Resort about an hour away. We passed street markets and schools, the latter rather open air structures FILLED with children - maybe 100 per class, all in uniforms, with the girls in head scarves (95% Muslim here) to their hips. The impression is one of huge convents where the nuns scamper instead of walk. Beyond the villages are large fields of rice and sugar cane, being readied for the rains which begin in a few weeks. (Who does the readying? Generally two women, no matter how mammoth the field. And who does the carrying of rice, suitcases, jugs? The women, who balance their burdens on the little pad on their head scarves.

Leaving the main road, we turned into Bluebay Resort. My oh my! The impeccable landscaping, elegant buildings, cool spaces, and welcome by a smiling porter led us to a pool winding through the trees and a covered retreat on the ocean. Beds on the beach --- flowers in our towels --- casuarinas swaying in the breeze --- and dhows offering us rides.

Of course! Subooloo our captain and Isaac the mate got us into their vessel that looked as though it had been constructed
just after Adam and Eve left Eden. Subooloo made the outrigger canoe himself; he hollowed out a mango tree and that's how wide it was (i.e. smaller than a butt). He also didn't put any seats on, but that works for folks who jump on and off their vessel a lot. (We like to sit.) What did we want to see, they asked? Barracuda? No, thanks, we were clear, but starfish would be nice. So we went to the middle of the lagoon and Isaac jumped off and came back bearing 10 starfish - red, purple, green, brown, gold .... and put them by our feet and then went back for more. This process continued until Hope decided it would be a good idea to save the lives of these beauties by tossing them back. So we did.

Then back to the ship for a drink in a chair that fits!

Love, Hope and Bill

Posted by HopeEakins 10:39 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)



sunny 91 °F

So there we are at Trivia, answering questions about geography and history and entertainment, and a new question is posed:
What did Omni magazine give as the one unanswerable question?

Thirteen Trivia teams gave answers like:
Why? (This from Team #1: Eakins, Wendy and Roger Fortune and Claire and Will Cupples)
Who created God?
What comes after infinity?

Team 10 offered the following:
Does my bum look fat in this?

Posted by HopeEakins 16:01 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)


An archipelago of Tanzanian islands

sunny 96 °F

The first band of light crept beneath our heavy curtains this morning as the day began in Zanzibar. And then we heard horns blaring --- and whistles blowing --- and people shouting -- and backup signals beeping and wheels squealing. Oh my, this is not the gentle port on the Indian Ocean that we remember. On one side of our ship it is; to starboard small dhows glide gently as they drop their graceful sails; to port (our side) MAERSK SEALAND containers are piled high, some open, some empty, some being offloaded. Chaos abounds. The hopeful day laborers (think Matthew 20) squat beside the shipping containers calling (yelling) out their availability. Those employed grab huge sacks of rice and cement, bicycle tires, even a commercial fridge, and pop them into their trucks. Now the trucks are loaded and ready to go --- but every avenue of departure is blocked, and that’s when the beeps and whistles begin. Adding to the uproar were troupes of teenage dancers and musicians pounding out strong rhythms and inviting us to dance with them (here Fernando, our cruise director, joins the troupe).

Such disorder, near pandemonium, was scary in Mozambique where vendors followed us and shouted at us. In Zanzibar, the hubbub feels electrifying, alive, African. The vendors here are charming; one spent much time sharing his shell collection without making a sales pitch. And when we asked the price of a particularly beautiful specimen, he told us: $2. We didn't bargain!

We spent the afternoon at the Spice Plantation, smelling leaves and roots and seeds of cloves, nutmeg, curries, cardamom, cinnamon. Our charming guide would have his aides crush a plant into our hands and then make us guess its identity. Pretty easy with #1: lemon grass and #2: ginger root, but as the heat grew and the smells abounded, our olfactory senses froze on overload. What’s more, daubs of local oils and creams were put on our arms : hibiscus, vanilla, ylang-ylang – so we felt like a perfume shop. Hope eventually became overcome with heat and aroma, so her guide brought a chair and carried it through the woods for her, stopping in the shade when there was something to be noted .... like the lithe young man who climbed trees and picked coconuts.

Finally we visited the ruins of Maharubi Palace, built in the 1870's by a Sultan of Omanwho came here on weekends. He had 99 concubines at Maharubi, so we don't think his weekends were very relaxing. After a tea stop at the lovely Serena Hotel, we settled down with a beautiful sunset.

Posted by HopeEakins 05:24 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)

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