We woke up this morning in the city that never sleeps and said goodbye to some of the great friends we met along the way. Raina Gars left the previous night, and in the morning, Adam Lightman and Alexa Rakusin left as well. After getting bagels and coffee from the corner café across the street, we boarded the subway at the 96th street station and took it to the Brooklyn Tabernacle to experience a gospel church service. The building was incredible! There was a huge screen in the front and four large screens in the back, a couple rows in front of which we were sitting, which showed the words to the songs as well as closer views of the stage. There were amplifiers all around the room to spread the sound. All the way in the front, there was a decoration that said “GOD IS LOVE.” The service was great! We sang and clapped along with the choir. During the service, they showed a video of a man that received a double life sentence for murder. During his time he found god, and changed his ways for the better. The preacher later talked about how you could be forgiven for murder, even though you are still going to go to prison. This was proven true to the congregation because after the video they started cheering for him.
Something that raised questions for me during the service was the fact that they felt so undeserving of god’s love. I feel like god wouldn’t want it that way. Yes, you could praise and thank god for what he has done for you, but I do not feel that god would want us to look down on ourselves like that. Another belief that raised questions for me was how they thought Jesus Christ was perfection. How perfect could one person really be? Even god had his flaws. I mean, as it states in the Book of Genesis, god wiped away the entire human population except for Noah and his family. Also when god was leading the Jews out of Egypt, god ended up killing a lot of them for worshiping a golden calf. Jesus did do some incredible things, but he definitely had flaws too, in my opinion. One of the things I really found incredible about the service was how everybody was so into it. Even the ushers at the door were singing and clapping along. I have never been to a church service until today, but a gospel church service is definitely something I hope to experience again.
After that we had lunch at a Cuban restaurant next door to the church. At lunch we got a pleasant surprise from our friend Jordan Kaplan who decided, after leaving on the first day in New York, that he wanted to continue on the journey with us for another week. After lunch, we got on the bus for our drive up to Boston. This is a drive that I do a lot since I live in Long Island, NY, and I have cousins who live in Newton, MA. The skyscrapers of Manhattan started getting smaller as we made our way through Connecticut to Providence, Rhode Island, near the Brown University campus, where we had dinner and a little time to roam around. After that, we hopped on the bus to complete our drive up to Boston. We got to the hotel, in a small town right outside the city, at approximately 9:30pm. I am looking forward to a great day in Boston tomorrow.