Sunday, 12 April 2015

Visiting St. Thomas's Mount

The highlight for me of the couple of days we spent in Chennai at the end of our South India trip was the visit some of us made to St. Thomas's Mount.  Tradition has it that Christianity was first brought to India by Thomas, and that led to the founding of the Mar Thoma Church.  It is believed that Thomas was martyred here, being killed by a spear.  That fact is marked in the statue of Thomas which portrays him holding a spear.  I was interested that statues of both Thomas and Jesus give them strongly European appearances, and yet they were both garlanded in typical Indian style.

How do we allow culture to have its place and be properly represented in an authentic expression of the Gospel?

The area on the top of the mount included a depiction of the crucifixion and two chapels, offering opportunities for silent prayer.

How do we make links to the distinctive contributions of the first disciples and express such sentiments appropriately today?

Thomas is probably best known for uttering the phrase 'my Lord and my God' when he became the last of the original band (bar Judas Iscariot) to encounter the risen Jesus.  Those words are depicted in more than one place on the mount.  Can we share in saying them?

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