Chalice Still Life by Jairus, the Priest of Ikowa

A strange title no doubt.  I hope I can explain it even though words are often inadequate.  So much of life here is NOT still ~ there is much singing, dancing and drumming.   On the other side of the coin one would think life has stood still for these people for centuries.  If you could see their gardening tools, their surgical instruments, their cooking stoves (very small charcoal braziers), and their homes you would think they were living not only like Jesus but with Jesus.  In a sermon I heard this morning at 7 a.m. chapel the student priest quoted Hebrews 13:5-6.  “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.'”  There is a lesson for me here.  Sometimes I think the church gets so catiwompus  about what is politically correct, issues of sexuality and gender equality, ordaination of women, which fork to use etc. that we totally ingnore the message of Jesus.   They give God thanks for the simplest things such as a cup of tea or glass of water.  We take all of these things for granted and as something we deserve.

Jessie wrote last night about our splendid day in the Ikowa Village.  It was fun for me to see them greet her as she was there last year.   It was fun also to watch them joyfully dress her and later me after the service when I could get out of my robes.  Our white skin makes us look like ghosts and one little child would not shake my hand ~ she reached out and then drew back in fear!  Little Grace, Moses’ two-year old fiddled with my stole with children on it quite a bit during my sermon.  At home I would have been horrified ~ here it didn’t bother me a bit.  They know how to enjoy worship.

As I stood at the lectern my eyes were drawn outside the opening that serves as the main entrance (no door) to a lovely sight.  Moses’ village is surrounded by distant mountains creating a visual wonder.  I marvelled that I was here and was aware that living here forces one to live in the moment and not worry about yesterday or tomorrow.  It moves me so deeply that tears form in my eyes and I have to swallow hard to get the lump down.  No words can articulate the feeling.

The priest’s name is Jairus and when we went back to his house for a lunch of rice, beans, and tomatoes he presented Jessie and me with what he called “his work, ” two wooden chalices, perfectly formed and varnished.  Jessie asked if she could see his tools.  I will have her post the picture ~ the “still life.”

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