Thursday, January 1, 2009

At the Foot of the Cross

After over an hour of travel, breakneck speed and screeching stops, dodging motorcycles, pedestrians, and other vehicles, we turn onto a crowded Delhi slum. Population: thousands. Crowded, tiny buildings, made of brick and mud, hold entire families in their single rooms. The streets are tiny, nothing but packed mud and alleys barely big enough for a child. Sewage runs in the streets, trash litters the ground, and everywhere, there are people. The air is cramped, cold despite the close setting; dismal.

In the middle of a street, mats line the ground. Barefoot, dirty children crowd onto its "clean" surface, singing and shouting in response to the man that stands before them. The men stand in the back, the women to the side, dressed in rich colors. This is the chu---, because they are behind on rent for the building they used to meet in. Now, they meet on the street.

Dirty, young faces look up at me. Chubby cheeks and rounded eyes, some young ones are scared of the unfamiliar pale skin of foreigners. They widen their kohl-lined eyes and look away, a cry on their lips. Others bounce, excited. They know the "white people" love to sing and play.

As the parents look on, we lead them in singing songs of the Son of God, the One who came and died for them. We clap our hands and shout, not afraid to proclaim the name of the one who saved. The songs end and the P---- asks for someone to speak. Hundreds of eyes, all around me, look in my direction. As far as my voice can carry, people are listening. And then, the words of life come forth and He is proclaimed in a land where He is not welcomed.

There, in the dirty slums of India, there, at the foot of the Cross.

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