I had the privilege of touring a city in India called Kanyakumari when I visited last September. It is the most southern city in India, with its tip providing a view of the meeting point of three different bodies of water: The Bay of Bengal, The Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. You might remember hearing about the Kanyakumari district in the news a number of years ago. This was the part of India most badly affected by the Tsunami.
The day I spent in Kanyakumari was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of my trip. We started off the morning watching the sunrise over the three bodies of water. My first thought was that watching the sunrise on a beach in India would be similar to watching it on a beach in America. There would be a few early risers out to watch the spectacle, but for the most part it would be a serene, calm and relaxing way to start the day. However, like most of my expectations for India, I was completely wrong.
Hoards of people filled the beaches with countless vendors trying to sell me “Chai Tea!” and “Coffee, coffee, coffee,” postcards, and even little toy boats. The place was buzzing and it was not even 5:30 in the morning on a Tuesday! I was wondering why so many people pulled themselves out of their beds that morning just to see a sunrise, when all of a sudden, the sun began to rise over the three bodies of water. I immediately knew why there were crowds.
As soon as the gold sphere broke over the horizon, the light emanating from it painted itself in a beautiful mosaic of colors across the grey sky. The entire scene changed from dark and bleak to bursting with color in a matter of seconds. As if the scene was not already enough to count itself among the most beautiful art pieces created, the sounds that accompanied were overwhelming with awe.
The hoards of people erupted into cheers, singing, and wailing as the first beam of light splashed across the sky. Seeds, rice and multi-colored lentils were thrown into the air while many of the onlookers raised their arms up to the Heavens or bowed their heads into the sandy beaches. It was as if the light from the sun poured its energy into every person gathered on the shore and, charged with its vigor, everyone exploded with worship and praise.
The only problem with the entire scene was that all those gathered to see the beautiful spectacle were worshipping a Hindu god. They were lifting their arms to Brahman, or to some other unknown god different from our Christ. But with such beauty, devotion, and sincerity did they do it! If only all those gathered were Christian brothers and sisters praising God for His faithfulness and love, how much more beautiful the scene would be. I look forward to the day when all those devout Hindus gathered on the sandy beach will gather there not to thank Brahman, but to thank Christ for the gift of the Sun. When that happens, we will all sing the Psalm of David in Psalm 35:18, “I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty throng.”
This is a video I shot while we were waiting for the sunrise.