A thought crossed me today, after I re-read my post about love. Maybe it’s better as a question: Why is Christianity defined by an attribute, not a symbol or a style?
I think the answer is that God planned it that way. To be a viral religion, one that changes its face everywhere it goes, but keeps the innards intact. In fact, the burqa, the turban, all these outward manifestations of religion – they require a certain culture to exist. Or a certain sub-culture. You’ll notice fewer and fewer Muslims and Sihks doing these things as time goes by, simple because they want to fit in. But Christianity already has the market cornered on fitting in.
Look at us. We wear jeans, suits, tank tops. We listen to rock, pop, hip-hop, opera, whatever. We drive Fords, Lexi, Volkswagens. And our choices aren’t coherent in a symbolic sense. They’re coherent – or, rather, they should be – because they’re bound together by principle.
In India, they worship like Indians. In China, like Chinese. In America, like Americans. All that worship with a common thread of course. It’s to our God, not any other; it’s worship of a holy God; it’s worship of a God who died and rose again; it’s worship in both extravegant joy and deep fear. Sometimes a djembe. Sometimes a harp. Sometimes a guitar. Sometimes and organ.
That seems foreign sometimes. My ears are conditioned to the notes of my Hymnal, and the praise and worship of more modern times. But my ears aren’t the only thing at work here – I am joined to those Indians, Chinese, and Americans at the hip. Or, more to the point, at the heart. We share the same election, the same virus. We are products of the fall, of course, and we sing in different languages. None of us are perfect in our worship, and our choices, and our lifestyles. Some do it better than others.
But that’s hardly the point – the point is we all raise our hands to bring glory to the same Creator, whether in British Columbia or Prince Edward’s Island. That, I think, is the most important thing. We have the same hallelujah coursing through our veins, us Christians, whether we realize it or not.
Somehow, I imagine God judging the timbre and cadence of our worship like an aroma. Fanciful, I know – but I see him sitting there, smelling a little curry, a little garlic, a little pepper. Watching his holy virus slowly recreating the world.