The Opening Ceremony for the Lausanne World Congress was an amazing multi-media multi-sensory muscial spectacle. I was moved and uplifted and actually quite emotional . . . really. . surprising for a insensitive hard nut like me.
Hard to describe it in words. But imagine standing with 4000 people from almost 200 countries looking up at 5 huge video screens with gorgous African scenery, accompanied by a real orchestra, too many choirs to count, various music bands all playing at the same time.
There were teams of drummers emerging from backstage and swapping themselves with childrens choirs and more musical groups, colorful tribal dress and random work uniforms, flags like sails, deep deep deep sound, bombarding your senses and high decibel African music rocking your body with waves of complex harmonies so complex you can't get your mind around it. You cant fathom it. You just have to join it.
Add to that experience moments of great hymns of the past, photos of children and landscapes with African sunsets and African voices continually saying "Welcome" and you get the picture. It was an extravagant welcome and a great kick off to the Lasaunne World Congress here in Cape Town. Well done Africa! Nice to be back in your country again.
As for the rest of the evening, there was an absolutely superb video of the history of missons over the past 2000 years which I cant wait to show you all. There was some good dramatic performance of the wide reach of the gospel to transform abusive social customs and unjust political structures. And more singing of course.
Yes, there were a few things that made you say "Huh?" like some overreaching remarks about the theological breadth and historical significance of this event [mostly evangelical protestants]. And, as the Australians remarked, maybe the opening ceremony really did had more endings than the Lord of the Rings. But overall is was overwhelming good and spiritually uplifting. A great start to the conference.
Link to video here when its uploaded (just a few hours)
Others: David Neff, Chris Sudgen,
I’m sitting in a class in Toronto with Dr. Howard Snyder who just referenced the Lausanne World Congress. He is asking the question whether we can talk about the ‘whole gospel for the whole world’ without talking about the ‘whole creation’.
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on whether the congress is actually addressing the whole gospel, or just a portion of it?
Jamie (a kiwi in canada)
Ps. say hi to my dad if you run into him over there!