The auditorium was full of bright colours. Flags and banners hung from the walls and lively music greeted us when we arrived. The men and women wore their bright best, with the little children in gorgeous suits and dresses. It almost felt like another country! We were having another culture night at our church! This time it was our Indian community who presented songs, dances and messages from the Bible to give us an insight into the way they worship in their country. They encouraged us to sing with them in one of their own languages and it was great to share their joy and learn about their homeland.
Some other members of the congregation also wore Indian dress which they’d bought on their visits there. Although I’ve never left my own country, I was able to find an Indian jacket in my wardrobe! I’d purchased it here in Australia!
You may be wondering if the little boy I wrote about a while ago made another platform appearance again. No, there wasn’t any dancing this time for two-year-old Ethan. Perhaps he guessed that he isn’t Indian? His family come from Ethiopia! But there were other children involved on this night, dancing and singing. It was beautiful to see them them worshipping the Lord.
As I stood among the people, I reflected how abundantly God has provided for the nations of the world to hear his important news. He started with only a small number of people from a small country. With no newspapers, television, internet or radio, he’d organised for them to spread the message that he loves everyone. We learned how the name of Jesus was brought to India by Thomas, one of his twelve disciples. When we heard the statistics for Christianity’s lowly place on the list of the religions of India, it was a challenge to us. How few they are amongst that huge population.
One of the items that I will always remember was a group of young women dancing together. I think only two of them were Indians! Africa, Samoa, South Korea and, believe it or not, Australia was represented! I felt it was a picture of international unity as they blended their gifts together. A lady from the church, who had been a top Indian dancer, choreographed their worship-dance and taught them how to do it. We were all very impressed by it.
These lovely people had been working for three months to lead us in this evening of praise and worship with the message of God’s love for the whole world. I’m sure he saw it all and enjoyed himself!
Before the end of this year we’ll be having three more of these cultural nights at turningpoint church in Cranbourne. There’ll be one each from the Philippines and Vanuatu, then the Africans will bring us another presentation before Christmas. Not everybody is able to travel to other countries and see unfamiliar cultures first-hand, but here in our church, we can participate in them, even eating their food that they provided for us!
I love these people in our congregation. They’re so friendly, willing to share their lives with us, and we can laugh together over our inability to pronounce their convoluted (to us!) names! I’ve never known so many people from such a variety of nations before. It’s a privilege to have them in our church. What a great contribution they make to the worship, the service and the multi-faceted face of God. He uses them to show us what he’s like.