The final worship of the Edinburgh 2010 conference was so beautiful. 300 delegates from around the world singing global praises, praying for the world and listening to the word of God. The high moment was the interpretation of the text about the women at the well (John 4) by a group of Indian dancers. Absolutely stunning, I never saw anything like it! A group of 5 young dancers using Indian music, proper Indian dressing and so much beauty to tell us what happened in that biblical text. Jesus never felt so beautiful and joyous and stunning as in this interpretation of this young Indian dancer. Jesica is from India and the leader of this group of dancers who live in Birmingham, UK and is doing her PhD about Indian dance and Scriptures. After that dance I didn’t even need any preaching.
I guess Edinburgh has never seen such a long service, almost 3 hours. There was a group of African singers from local Pentecostal churches that started and finished the service and they rocked the house! Oh, were they great! However, as much as they sang and danced, they couldn’t make people dance. We were mostly historical protestants after all.
Wonderful things happened during the festival: Maria, a wonderful indigenous woman from Bolivia who now leads the Native People’s office at the World of Council; Walter Altman, a wonderful theologian from Latin America, Tito Paredes who gifted me with a lovely book called: “Con Permiso Para Bailar,” about worship and dance among the Quechua people in Peru; two people that I don’t remember their name: a lovely Chinese Anglican priest from Hong Kong and a Pentecostal pastor from Kenya who also teaches church history; Nilton Giese, general secretary of the Latin American Council of Churches; Mari, a wonderful singer from Scotland, Carol Marples a brilliant visual artist; Pete Okeno, a fascinating drummer from Kenya who is doing his PhD on how drums can provide tools for social reconciliation; Antonio Carlos Ribeiro who works in Rio and wrote about Edinburgh for Latin americans; Luis Coelho a wonderful Anglican seminary student from Rio; Christian Giordano who, along with his wife works with Muslims kids who cross the desert alone and have nobody to stay with in Europe. At meals, he mixes his own Christian prayers with the Islam prayers for the kids. He offered me his house in Spain to study immigration in Europe. These were just few people I met in Edinburgh and many other encounters. All of these encounters made me smile and say: the church is still a fascinating place with fascinating people! Without the church of Christ, the world would be much sadder and worse than it is.
I left Edinburgh this morning. As I wait my next flight in Heathrow, I look back and in spite of some difficulties, I thank God and my friends for this wonderful opportunity. (see more pictures at photo gallery)