rotating header

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Every Tribe and Tongue

A celebration of Kenya's cultural wealth by AIC today.  Five different tribes came in traditional dress, dancing in one by one to present songs, clapping and shaking, stomping and ululating. The Kikuyu, the Kamba, the Agusii, the Turkana, and the Maasai.  Each with their own rhythm, their own scale.  Music that originated from a time of rivers and sun, before any influence from radio and TV.  Jumps and spins that recall the grace and flourish of wildlife rather then the ubiquitous moves of Youtube.  A tribute to the glorious plurality of the Trinity, the billion reflections of God's nature.

And in the middle, a sermon by a Turkana man who had been in line to inherit his father's role as a witch doctor, but who preached the victory of Jesus over the powers of the world from John 16:33.  From Isaiah, he read about the promise of new things, of water in the desert and related it to the discovery of a deep water table under his arid homeland.  Echoes of Jesus' words in Revelation 21:  Behold, I make all things new.  Behold, the victory.

Which led to an interesting Kingdom paradox:  celebration of traditional culture with proclamation of a new way.  Holding onto the beauty of tribal songs but changing the words and focus to the one true God.  This tension between rejecting witchcraft and embracing tradition has challenged the church in Africa.  I doubt that we get it right.  But today was a solid attempt to hold onto the past and view it in the truth of the present.  
And a last paradox:  the service was conducted in KiSwahili, the common language forged by slave traders on the coast to bridge between the 40-plus tribes of Kenya.  A picture of redemption, that a language born out of enslavement and injustice now binds diverse peoples and is raised in praise.

No comments: