I watch the Indian wilderness from my second class window seat. I see jungle, marsh lands, rice fields, villages working on crops. I see rolling mountains, animals that are plentiful and those that are endangered. And my mind wanders from this time to 52AD. This was the time that Indian Christians believe St. Thomas the Doubtful came and brought the Gospel to Kerala (which happens to be the largest collective group of Christians). We met an Indian Christian who had trained it 30 hours to and from for a 3 day Christian conference. He told us that his family were descendents of some of the first Christian converts under St. Thomas. St. Thomas was not the most welcomed person as the country was still Hindu but some families hid him and they were blessed by him. Centuries later Muslim invaders from the north ousted the Hindu emperor and set up a very Islamic state which is still evident today. In the south it is like a totally different country, there are still copious amounts of different religions but it is clearly very Christian in Kerala. As we train it, we even see the differences and changes in the villages. We see more Christian buildings, signs, and church roofs. But in this country I see Christ in the most unlikely places.
If you go anywhere in Southern India you will find old-ancient churches, the closer to St.Thomas’ touch down point will bring ancient church ruins but I find evidence of the Gospel in the people. These Christians live as Christ intended, humble, friendly, hospitable, kind, joyful, and generous. Now I am not saying other Indians are not this. But only among brothers and sisters in the faith will a random stranger welcome you into their home for a meal and a place to sleep! But I also saw Christ in the most northern parts of India. Delhi and other cities have such poverty but yet I see generosity there. A certain older man was given food from a street vendor and this old man clearly needed it; he had but only a crum and gave the rest to three little children. The Gospel lives and breathes in these people. I will not write an extensive sermon since I was not there extensively but it makes me wonder. If these people look more like the Christian life that our Lord challenges us to in the Scriptures, what have we been living?