Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pentecost worship in indigenous language

Daily chapel at Uniting College today was superb. Our Director of Missiology, Rosemary Dewerse had created a visual environment. In the centre was a world map, with red counters and a red candle lit. The invitation was to lay a counter on the table, and in so doing, to name a place and situation in the world we wished to pray for.

To begin she taught us a chant, in the language of the Adnyamathanha people, from the Northern Flinders.

undakarana ardla, ngapalan yarta yanangka.
In English “The light of Christ has come into the world.”

Using indigenous clap sticks to keep the beat, we began to sing this simple refrain, a gift to us from those who’ve gone before us in this land. A people who’ve endured colonisation and hardship, exploitation and persecution, yet who have still find space to offer their language, their praise, their experience of the life of Christ come into their world.

It was a beautiful, natural, heartfelt way to be in the presence of God. It is part of a shift at Uniting College, in which in more and more ways, we are finding ourselves engaged with indigenous peoples. An important part of this has been relationship building, one to one, and then in Walking on Country, an immersion experience with our candidates for ministry at the beginning of this year.

It’s easy for this to be tokenism, and yet the result for us over recent months has instead been increased enrichment – in stories told in our midst, in shared candidate life together and now in our chapel life. The awareness of the other is becoming such gift.

And with Pentecost this week, it was a wonderful embodiment of the Spirit’s work, the enfleshing of faith in native languages, the crossing of cultural boundaries.

And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Acts 2:8

Posted by steve at 09:19 PM

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