It was another hot, sticky day in Northern India, and we were on our way to a small village about two hours from our home where Jonathan was to preach that morning. After lurching through one last pothole, we finally arrived in the village and were ushered inside the small one-room structure where the church met.
The pastor and the people were very welcoming and had prepared lovely marigold garlands which they placed around our necks. However, I noticed that when Jonathan was introduced and went up to preach he left the garland behind. It was forming an orange coil on the seat next to me. I thought it might be because he’s allergic to flowers. Regardless, I thought it was strange (and a little rude!) that he would remove their gift…
Jonathan preached the entire message and I noticed some furtive glances cast in my direction periodically. After he was finished, Jonathan took my elbow and said, “You’re supposed to take the garland off. If you don’t it means you’re really vain.” I thought, Now you tell me! Now that I’ve been wearing it for the past hour. That’s me, the vain American. 🙂
Ah, the joy of cultural ignorance!