Mike Schrage, Executive Director
The young man was dressed in orange saffron. His flowing garb, long black hair, and cross-legged sitting posture made him look like a respected guru. I imagine Jesus looking and sitting like this teacher.
This former Hindu teacher is now a Christian in the amazing country of India where less than 10 percent of a billion people are followers of Christ!
He shared from his heart how it is up to the people from his upper caste to contextualize the teaching of Christ for Indians to understand. More importantly, this leader wants the people of India to accept the Message not as Western protocol, but as it truly is: global Good News.
One example of contextualization we experienced was the process of sharing communion with this teacher and new followers of Christ. This kind, soft-spoken, young man picked up a coconut, a very common food in India, just as bread and wine were common in Jesus’ day.
The guru shared how the coconut represents Christ’s transformed body. Then he tapped on the coconut harder and harder with a hammer, eventually splitting it open. Immediately some coconut water spilled out. The tapping represented the beating and piercing of the body of Jesus that released blood and water. As the coconut was split in half, the teacher explained the open space represented the empty grave. He said in order to reach the coconut meat, one has to go through suffering, brokenness, and emptiness to find sustenance and life. The coconut meat is white representing purity and hope.
I learned a lot that day from a coconut, just as the followers of Jesus did from the meal they shared with the Savior.