by Jarrett Harmon
We slipped into our custom made Indian-style suits– a gift from Jaya's family to show us honor. As I pushed the last button through its hole, an explosion resounded from outside. Ernesto popped his head into my room “They’re waiting for us brother. They have fireworks.” As we approached the second floor balcony, I could see ten heads looking up at our door, awaiting for us to appear, and with every step the number of people grew. By the time I could see the whole scene, I think I had spotted somewhere around sixty people, but there could have been more. Ernesto looked at me, tilted his head a bit, and grinned. He was well aware of what was about to take place. He was somewhat a veteran to these experiences, but I was a greenhorn.
When we stepped into that crowd it was as if we had been swept up by a river. They took us down the road to the right, and we walked amongst the people for three blocks before coming to the church. The whole situation is nearly an entire blur of noises and events. I can only remember snapshots of the event. There was a drummer who set the rhythm for the people to sing to as we walked. Girls walked next to us with bowls of flowers in their hands. They barraded us with the petals. I remember David walking next to me and laughing as he lead the song. His laughter was a result of my face, which undoubtedly bore a mixture of embarrassment and stupor. The whole situation was blowing my mind. The women were running these large scarves in front of us as we walked through the streets. David later informed us that they did it as a means to mirror the triumphal entry because the gospel that we were bringing to the village was important. It was changing lives.
During the church service there was a gift-giving ceremony where they placed shawls upon our necks. They gave us cake and they thanked us for being there. Everything about the experience was utterly baffling. I guess I could understand if they did this solely for Ernesto because the village knew him and loved him, but everything they did for him, they also did for me.
Perhaps I was not the best choice for writing this blog post. I’m still trying to chew the events of today. Maybe I missed the obviously key thing to write on, but I chose to say all of these things, and to recount these aspects of today because they are such a beautiful aspect of the gospel. It is an aspect that I feel we truly do not appreciate in America. Christ once washed the disciples feet, and Peter got angry, which is understandable. Imagine the Son of God washing your feet. We lowly beings would not deserve such treatment from someone so holy. However, Christ did this action to show the disciples a picture of service, and he then tells the disciples to also do this unto others.
We are commanded to serve, and yet it is something that we rarely do in America, and when we do, it is rarely to the extent that Jesus portrayed by washing the disciples feet. I have seen it often in America that we like to serve as long as what we do serves a purpose, creates a meaning, or gives us some sort of backhanded authority. Most do not serve simply to serve, and it is not common place for us to serve the individual just for the sake of showing them honor and blessing them. In India this has been my perpetual existence. People have served me although I do not deserve it, they have shown me honor even though I am no more honorable than them, and they have blessed me greatly even though I feel as if I should be blessing them. The churches here in India serve the way Christ would have his disciples serve, and I am still attempting to process it. For too long I have thought of Christ’s example as an extreme case of servitude. For too long, I have thought myself greater than my master.