Having confirmed that they will not bow to any authority but that which comes from the Golden Rule, the whole congregation started singing and dancing, with Aung and Elisabeth once again leading by example. But this time, the two women encouraged people to join them up by the altar, and pretty soon there was a whole little choir up in front of Frederico, singing and praising the Lord.
This went on for some time before Frederico once again took centre stage, quoting a few passages from the Bibel. Then he reminded everyone that the first step in entering the Kingdom of God is to embrace the Golden Rule, and declare oneself a citizen of the empire.
"Remember that the empire is a place you can enter and leave as you please," Frederico reiterated. "However, as most of us already know, being a citizen of the empire is such a joy that once the citizenship has been fully embraced, we never feel compelled to leave the empire. Rather, we seek to take the next step towards Him and His Kingdom."
And to this, everyone responded with a great big "hallelujah". The music started again, and there was more singing and swinging, praising the Lord and general merriment.
Bjorn felt it all a bit over the top, but he joined in as best as he could, not wanting to spoil the fun, or stand out as the odd one in the crowd. Igor and Olga were happily taking part, swinging from side to side next to Bjorn, and Ante too appeared to fully embrace the happy go lucky swing of things.
Bjorn sang as best as he could, swinging from side to side, when he noticed Peter up by the altar, apparently sharing some amusing observation with Frederico. And seeing the two men right next to each other like that, Bjorn remembered in a flash where he had seen Frederico before.
Frederico was the tall blond guy who stood behind Bjorn in line for one of Peter's sandwiches, that first day he had been to the village. And Bjorn felt strangely satisfied to realize this, as if remembering a detail like that confirmed something important about him. Bjorn felt himself quite uplifted by it, and this little push made him for a moment join wholeheartedly in the singing.
For a moment, Bjorn had no qualms about the ecstatic enthusiasm around him, and to his surprise, he quite enjoyed it. It was all a wonderful celebration of life and love. And even he, a convinced atheist, found real joy in celebrating life by praising the Lord and honouring His name.