Commonalities Between Cultures
I don’t know about anybody else. Maybe it’s just me. But I keep being surprised by some of the smallest things in this cross-culture life God is giving.
For example I was chatting with a Czech friend after church. I was trying to share a recipe for macaroni salad. Jana speaks English well so I couldn’t figure out why she didn’t understand me when I said I start with elbow macaroni.
Since moving to Prague my skill at charades has improved. I pointed to my elbow and explained that the macaroni I used was shaped in a similar way. Jana’s facial expression let me know she was still unsure about what I meant.
I continued with small words, thinking all was lost until she asked, “Pasta?” Ah ha, we were on the right track.
I dove back into the explanation with a demonstration, saying the pasta/macaroni was shaped like my elbow. I even formed a tiny model of what I was talking about with my finger tips. When the sparkle filled her eyes she said, “kolinka”.
We giggled together at reaching an understanding over such a small and basic item. I made several attempts to pronounce the Czech with Jana’s guidance. When I drew a breath to carry on with the recipe she said, “Knees”. It was my turn to be confused.
Jana patiently explained the literal translation for elbow macaroni in Czech is “little knees”. I’ve been pondering this amusing cross-cultural intersect ever since.
The Body of Christ
On the surface there’s the simple comparison of two cultures using two joints to give a descriptive name to a common item. It bespeaks a certain similarity of process with different yet equally fitting results. I find that interesting and delightful.
More deeply I am drawn to 1 Corinthians 12. Paul explains that the body of Christ is made up of many parts, elbows and little knees if you will. Their diversity is essential to the proper function of the whole body. Yet each part is equally valuable as is each piece of pasta.
God has granted each of us a particular setting, a personal calling, specific gifts, and so much more. It is when we embrace and pursue His divine purpose in unity with our brothers and sisters that we are truly living the Gospel.
“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” 1 Corinthians 12:18
What examples of the unity and diversity of Christ’s body have you noticed lately?