Go and tell them . . . I have seen the Lord. (John 20)
I preached last Sunday morning in Korba, India. This congregation is almost 100 years old and it shares a faith tradition similar to my own in Goshen, Indiana with the former General Conference Mennonite Church.
And so I find myself telling this congregation about my own congregation. About our ministries in the community and about our Easter traditions the week before.
I find out later that this congregation has had its own challenges through the years, but it still has maintained a consistent Christian witness for almost 100 years in the predominantly Hindu culture surrounding them.
“We have a heart of joy welcoming you,” a women’s choir sang to me. I am presented with flowers and a garland is put around my neck. The chairman of the congregation prays with thanksgiving for the missionaries and for MCC.
As I prepare to preach, I realize it is Sunday morning here in Korba but only Saturday night back in Goshen, and so when I preach, I ask the congregation to help me out. Will you greet my congregation by waving and I will email it to my pastors to share with my congregation gathering for worship in a few hours? They agree and so that’s what I do.
After church, and after shaking the hands of every one of the 200 or more persons in attendance, and then sharing a sumptuous lunch with church leaders, I am taken across town to a much poorer community where the congregation has started a new neighborhood ministry. Worship is usually on Sunday evening here, since most of the people in this neighborhood are day laborers and are normally working during the day on Sunday.
We pray with the neighborhood ministry leaders and then head on down the road to the train station an hour away. On this particular Sunday morning a week after Easter, thousands a miles away from my own church, I am at home with this congregation in Korba.
Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed.