Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sri Lanka 3 - Why are they kissing my feet?

Why are they kissing my feet?

Last night I attended a Tamil Catholic prayer meeting.  They asked for a blessing.  How could I refuse?  There were hundreds of simple villagers praising God on a Friday evening in the Brothers' Chapel.

So I said a few words in English, which few of them understood, and made the Sign of the Cross over them as clergy may do.

But then... 

then they all streamed out of the pews toward me two by two and wanted individual blessings.  I was not prepared for this!!!!  I wish I had a photo to share with you.  Aged women and men, babes in arms, husbands & wives, children of all ages stood silently waiting for my touch.

My words were simple, their actions sublime.
Many of them bowed down and touched or kissed my feet.  I tried to stop them at first, but it was no use.

Kiss my feet?!?!  STOP.
You don't know me...
               I'm this sinner from Buffalo...
                           people there will tell you that I'm really no big deal...ask them!
                                  a quiet guy with lots to learn...
                                      one of thousands of deacons...
                                           with ugly big dirty feet...
                                                 just a religion teacher...

And there's the difference in our cultures - for them there is no such thing as JUST a religion teacher!

The teacher of God's ways is the greatest calling for them.
They were not kissing my feet because of who I am, but because of Whom I bring.

Paul's words echoed through me all night -
                      "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News" (Romans 10:15).

Again I am learning when I am supposed to be teaching.
I have a new appreciation for my vocation and for my career.
I actually think my feet look extraordinarily beautiful now.

Peace and blessings from Colombo,
deacon bill+