PREACHING AT GOOD SHEPHERD AND PREACHING AT RAIKIA
On Sunday I preached at the Raikia Baptist Church, a congregation of 350 or so located in heart of the Kandhamal District in the state of Odisha here in India.
(It is enough of a miracle that I have any internet connection, but I don’t have enough juice for the hyperlinks. I encourage you to Google both Raikia and Kandhamal.)
Both during the preaching experience and then reflecting on it afterwards, I realized that some elements of Sunday celebrations transcend continent and culture. And still other things in Raikia I suspect will probably not happen at Good Shepherd. So here it is . . . .preaching at Raikia and preaching at Good Shepherd.
HOW THEY ARE THE SAME
1. At both places, there is occasional competition from enthusiastic babies and ringing cell phones.
2. At both places, the worship space is semi-circular, meaning the sanctuary is wide but not deep. This helps community and intimacy.
3. At both places, there .is singing, announcements, and teaching.
4. At both places, there is communion.
5. At both places, there is a greeting time after worship.
HOW RAIKIA IS DIFFERENT FROM GOOD SHEPHERD
1. In addition to occasional competition from enthusiastic babies and ringing cell phones, my sermon was accompanied by the bleating of a goat (for more on goat, see below).
2. The simultaneous translation that helps people understand in their native Oriya language makes sermonic momentum difficult to maintain.
3. Women sit on one side of the sanctuary and men on the other.
4. After the sermon and before the communion, the church had an auction. The host pastor became an auctioneer and auctioned off fruits, vegetables, and . . . . drum roll, please . . . . the goat from #1 above. All proceeds go to the church.
5. During the greeting time a former Hindu priest shook my hand. During all his time serving the gods and goddesses of Hinduism, he never felt peace. He found it in the church and the Prince of Peace the church worships.