Saturday was a fairly relaxed day, it was an early start to head to the Cathedral for the morning service to celebrate CSI 65 years of union, followed by a celebration service at the LITE Auditorium. The celebration service was long but so good to see people celebrating union. The Bishop in the morning service gave a challenging sermon about a church untied but a people divided. He went on to suggest that the biggest sin was not the division created by denomination but the division created by caste. It soon becomes very clear the oppression experienced by people because of caste. Trying to grasp and understand the caste system is difficult, difficult in that it is so deeply ingrained and so deeply oppressive. The Dalit people have suffered so deeply because of a system of oppression and exploitation.
Sunday was a bit of an amazing day for me, I had the opportunity to preach at St George’s Cathedral and participate in the communion service. I have never preached in a cathedral, not to a church that is so full, it was an honor and a privilege (bit scary too!) after the service it was into the car and heading off to Annampakom to share in the celebrations of Alexander Silver and Australian missionary. It’s amazing that in my experience I have not heard very much in a positive way about missionaries, yet here in South India they are held in such high regard for the work they have done, particularly in providing education to Dalit people.
I have also been challenged in relation to conversion, in Australia conversion seems to be very much about ensuring that people are accepted into heaven and have access to eternal life. But here it is much more, the conversion to Christianity is about liberation from the caste system, Dalits are no longer untouchables, people who cannot be looked at but rather people, people who have an education and a future, people who have become doctors and nurses and who propelled want to see.
Sunday was a very long day, we started at 6:30am and arrived home at 11pm it really was time for a huge sleep before we hit the road again tomorrow, albeit for a bit more of a relaxing day.