Sunday Worship Gathering 11 AM @ North Community Lutheran Church
114 Morse Road Columbus, OH 43214 (Map)
We've been in India almost a week now and, like anyone who travels to an unfamiliar place, I am continually struck by the differences between the culture here and the culture back home. But it's not just the seemingly chaotic streets or the tiny shops built into the sides of mountains or the fact that sometimes we literally find ourselves enveloped by clouds because we're so high up. No, what seems so striking to me is that the questions of faith which often plague my thoughts at home don't seem as critical here. I am the type of person that can easily get preoccupied with things like the debates of American Christianity, whether I should vote one way or the other, and whether I should I believe this or that. I often think, "If I believe X, does this mean I'm not a Christian? What does it mean about my faith if I think Y?"
On the one hand, of course we should indeed make all our decisions with a biblical perspective. One of the things I love about Scarlet City Church is that we have the opportunity to dialogue about hard issues and learn about God's heart in various matters. And although I don't think searching your thoughts and thinking thoroughly through what you believe is at all bad, some of that noise inside my head has quieted here in India. It's like a pleasant reminder that it is not particular cultural practices that makes us distinct as Christians but rather, how we love God and others.
It's actually amazing how little needs to be said in order to communicate this love. The kids in the Asia's Hope homes speak mostly Hindi or Nepali, and some speak only the tribal languages of their villages. They are learning English and have varying levels of comprehension and speech, but the universal language of smiles, hugs and laughter usually prevail. And you know what? I think it is so pleasing to God that we are able to communicate His love without words in our short time here… though words can definitely be useful!
Here, Christians greet each other by saying, "Jai mashi," which roughly translates to "Jesus is victorious" or "Victory in Christ." And really, that's the heart of it, right? If we live our lives and base our decisions on that Truth, perhaps the nuances and variations that make my head spin will be found to be more distracting than productive.
I am learning that we don't need all of the answers. We're never going to find some of them out on this side of Heaven. But what we can do is love God and love others by treating them as people made in God's image. That is what Asia's Hope is doing here-- loving these children in action and in word. Valuing them. If I could just take these concepts-- that loving and valuing people is in itself an act of worship--then perhaps the other things, though important, might not lead me into spirals of anxiety about the quality of my faith.
Needless to say, being here is blessing me as a learner of a new culture, as a learner of how a church like SCC can partner with what God is doing in India, and as a learner of what's really important about faith.
Below please check out some pictures from the trip so far!
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