Saturday, July 31, 2010
I have this little exercise in spiritual scholarship that I do. It's really a simple thing but as with many simple things in the realm of truth, i find it quite profound. It goes something like this: if I'm going to be at a conference or have an extended stay somewhere, somewhere for at least a couple days where there are a lot of people, I ask the Holy Spirit to show me the most humble person there. That is, to show me who is the most Christ like, who is the one with the servant's heart, that one person radiating sacrificial love.
On my way to India this May I prayed my little prayer on the long plane ride. To be honest, it's always a little emotional, this little prayer of mine, it conjures Christ on a lowly donkey, Christ wrapped in a towel washing feet, Christ naked on a tree. My skin is flushed, my eyes wet as I am typing this. Such gentle love, such humble sacrifice, this Savior.
What made India so remarkable in this respect was how it is very much a part of their culture to serve, to humbly submit to all sorts of of ignominious tasks and relentless sufferings. And so it was, that as I spent time with the Believers at the little churches in and around Tuni, that I forgot my little prayer, surrounded by so much humility, so much love.
My daily routine in India began around 4:30 a.m.. Watching the sun rise over the little town from the flat roof of the concrete home, watching the poorest women, barely awake, walking to public toilets or wells. I would read some, pray some, but most mornings I would stay distracted by such lovely people doing such unassuming tasks. As my second week was winding down, I was finishing my morning ritual and as I was walking down the steps I saw a dark figure in the shadows. I stopped and adjusted my position to see, but not be seen. There, sitting on a small handmade bench was Mark. He had something on his lap and was busy about some task. I crept quietly down another step until I could make out what he was doing. He had a wet rag and was thoroughly washing a pair of leather sandals. He worked intently in the stillness of the morning shadows and when he finished he quietly replaced the shoes by the gate leading into the house. A few minutes later pastor Kommina appeared out of the dark house and slipped his feet into his newly washed sandals. Mark bowed his head in respect as is Indian custom, his palms pressed together in front of him. Then the two 65+ year old men opened the gate to the road and climbed into Mark's rickshaw, one sleepy pastor, and one most incredible humble servant, peddling his friend to the outer villages to preach the gospel. And me, alone on the steps, cheeks hot with tears, heart crushed by the weight of the answer to my little prayer.
It would take a book to really do justice to the humility that Mark embodied, (or is that the Humility that embodied him ?) and there were so many countless others that were so very humble in their own right. I will never forget Mark or the gospel that this soft spoken man of so few words, lived so very loud.