Something I’ve valued throughout my adult years is how life has spun me into opportunities where I get to celebrate other cultures. I’m not sure when my fascination for other cultures developed, but they are experiences that I truly treasure. Today included such an experience.
A church presents a Greek Bazaar where they serve Greek food and open up their church for informative tours. The food always pleases the stomach and the desserts melt in your mouth (I’m not sure which of the two I prefer over the other! Although on another note, I am a sucker for a frappe!) There is also an assortment of shopping opportunities where one can personally discover the country of Greece for themselves as they become immersed in the culture through literature, food, music, artwork and much more. However, perhaps the most inspirational aspect of this event is felt while going on a tour of the sanctuary. Here you are invited into the minds and hearts of the Orthodox people. You hear about the icons and their meanings, the history behind the symbolism that echoes across the walls and the purpose behind the stain glassed windows. I heard someone state, “Wow. There is meaning behind everything here.” To that a Greek scholar replied, “Ohhhh yes.” The attention to detail is amazing and so is the power behind the work because it truly does teach one every aspect of the religion. Between these images, the candles and the incense, one could easily slip away and feel like they have been teleported to Greece.
It’s such an honor to experience the interaction with another culture/religion. It develops a sense of unity as you find connections between the two “sides.” It strengthens the respect for things that may be different from your views and it allows you a small insight into the humbling life of another human being. There is so much among us that is different, yet if you genuinely look deep enough, you begin to question, “Are we really THAT different?” I am so thankful for those experiences where someone opens a door to which I can walk through and learn more about their culture/religion.
Ahmeli… that we would be open to learning more about those who seem oh-so-different from us on the outside.
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