Some Reflections On The 2018 Feast Of Tabernacles In Suriname

Most years [1] I write some kind of post-feast reflections, and as I just got home early this morning from the Feast of Tabernacles and did not really have the time to write at any length on the matter–not that I have much time now–I think it would be worthwhile to reflect on the Feast of Tabernacles, as this year was a very strange one for me but also a deeply worthwhile and enjoyable feast on many levels.  I will not include my comments that are merely touristic in nature, as there is plenty of time and space to talk about that at length.  Before too much time passes, though, I would like to comment on my reflections about the first ever Feast of Tabernacles kept by the Church of God in the nation of Suriname.  I should note that these are reflections and not a formal review, for reasons that should be clear as the post goes on.

The site of the Feast of Tabernacles this year in Suriname was the White Sands Resort outside of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname.  We had about thirty-six people attending the Feast of Tabernacles, although we had a high attendance on the first night of more than 50 people.  As there were few baptized men at the feast, those that went there were very busy.  I had a split sermon, led songs two of the days, and was a part of three special music performances, besides giving a few of the prayers.  Most of the men who attended were similarly busy, and the women were pretty busy themselves doing crafts and taking care of the large amount of little ones, aside from a few who were involved pretty heavily in the special music.  Suriname was not the place one wants to go if you just want to relax at the feast.  With few people at a feast, everyone has to step up and help out in some fashion.

The nation of Suriname and the Church of God within Suriname have a lot to offer, but they are both rather obscure and isolated.  The Church of God is tied to the Dutch work because of language and colonial history, and it was at the feast that the brethren had the first new hymnals, since they had been using the Worldwide 1973 hymnals up to that time.  That is symbolic of the general obscurity of the country and the work there.  The festival coordinator has recently begun to send weekly sermon messages to the brethren in Suriname, but overall their general biblical knowledge and even their knowledge of how to songlead properly is limited.  Overall the population of Suriname appeared to lack a great deal of knowledge and education as well, although there are some who gained a good education abroad–as there is only one university in the entire country with rather limited options for studies–and who came back to help out their country or at least help themselves.  Suriname has a lot of resources, but lacks the ability to properly utilize these resources for the benefit of the country at large.

Overall, my feeling about the Feast of Tabernacles in Suriname was a complicated one.  Services themselves were outdoors in brutal heat and humidity.  The spotty internet and general isolation of the country itself sparked a feeling of being almost cut off from the outside world.  The food was tasty, coming from a complex mix of influences as complex as the population of the country itself.  The hotel itself was almost finished but still had some work to do, and while the staff was friendly it wasn’t necessarily competent.  The same could be said for much of what went on at the feast–it was a friendly Feast but it lacked the polish of a well-oiled machine.  It was a pioneer experience of roughing it and going beyond the borders of what is known and comfortable, and if you like that sort of thing (and I must admit I like that sort of thing), it was a very worthwhile experience.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/10/22/reflections-on-the-feast-of-tabernacles-2011-in-khun-yuam-thailand/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/10/10/a-review-of-the-2012-feast-of-tabernacles-at-redmond-bend-oregon/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014/10/17/such-a-rollercoaster-a-review-of-the-2014-feast-of-tabernacles-in-redmond-bend/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/10/06/a-review-of-the-2015-feast-of-tabernacles-in-steamboat-springs-colorado/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/10/26/a-review-of-the-2016-feast-of-tabernacles-in-kuressaare-estonia/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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