The Church Times this week published a reflection of mine on the role of processions in the church in South Sudan. I write about how time after time when I was visiting churches, it would involve marching through town, a village, or down the road beating drums, singing songs, and making lots of noise. After one such parade down the main street of Akot, I thought:
“Well, aren’t we making a big deal of ourselves!” But then I realised that this was precisely the point. Processions are not simply an expression of the joy and hospitality that people might be feeling on a particular occasion. They are an evangelistic tool: “Hey!” we were saying, in effect: “We’ve got something good going on here. Come and join us!”…
Christianity is a public faith. From an early time, Christians realised that faithfulness to what Jesus had taught them meant that public action was necessary. The early Christians preached on Pentecost, for instance, and defended themselves in front of hostile crowds. You couldn’t be a Christian and keep it to yourself. Anyway, why would you want to?
You can read the rest of the article here. And here are some more pictures of processions, truly an incredible thing to be a part of.