Sunday, October 22, 2006

Church of South India

Here's the logo of the Church of South India, formed in 1947 from the union of Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians and URC.
I'm told that worship tends to replicate the worship of 1950s England, - that the whole experience of church life may feel rather like time-travel to a period before I was born.
(If I could only find the copy of the Church of S India prayerbook which I was given months ago by a retired cleric, and which I then put in a safe place somewhere in the study I'd be in a better position to reflect on this, perhaps.fx gnashing of teeth and stomping around study a la Rumplestiltskin])
Coupling that with the culture shock of my first exposure to non-European life, my only expectation is to be surprised almost consantly! That's OK. I love surprises!
I also love the logo, with its expression of Christian faith rooted in the specific Indian culture.
Here's the official line on it

The cross represents Jesus' death for us, bringing freedom from sin. The other design is the lotus flower from India, which is a traditional picture of God being near us. The lotus grows out of mud, like the beauty and purity that can grow in our lives out of Jesus' sacrifice.
The cross is red (for life) and the lotus is saffron (for holiness).

To me, the lotus would also represent the incarnation...God born, as one of my favourite prayers has it, "in the very thick of our muddle".
I am looking forward to meeting him in his children so many thousands of miles away.
Meanwhile, time to focus on the 10.00 congregation here in Charlton Kings. Today was my last 8.00 before I go, and they were very sweet...specially one lady who is a remnant of the British Raj, retired to a bungalow with an Indian name. She's quite elderly, as you might guess, but was positively skittish in her excitement on my behalf. I sort of wish I could take her with me...


cal said...

Oh it all sounds wonderful. I'm hugely jealous. Going to India for work is just a great experience - you get so well looked after and taken care of that you get to experience all the best bits with none (well fewer) of the hassles.

I once went to a 9 Lessons and Carols Service in Calcutta Cathedral. Your 1950s description sums it up beautifully. Quite strange hearing exactly the same words and same music as through my childhood in such a different (and warm) location. (Not that I was a child in the 1950s but you get my point!)

Make the most of the food and don't worry too much about the water! 'Yoghurt' tablets (ie lactobacillus acidophilus) are a good idea if you're inclined to have tummy upsets with strange food.

ppolarbear said...

I'm so excited for you.

fiona said...

It sounds incredibly exciting, and, the food and water asside, like my mother's idea of heaven re the worship - perhaps SHE should go out there with you instead of me.
As an asside does anyone know why this post comes up on my work screen (what a giveaway I'm posting from work!) but not at home where we still seem to be stuck in yesterday?