Christianity, as we know it today, largely came to the Indian subcontinent from the West. Worship and other forms of religious practice were introduced to the region by Western missionaries. This tradition took root in South Asia and brought about a great change. Its theological background was gradually understood by the people, and they are aware of what shaped their spirituality. In the Christian churches, a South Asian face gradually emerged. In the name of inculturation many changes were introduced to church structures and modes of worship. Basically, however, the Christian identity remains the same in terms of worship and spirituality.
There are some common factors in the countries of the Indian subcontinent – India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh – such as the shared colonialist past, the socio-economic/political situation, addressing issues of human rights, and Christians living amidst other major religions, notably Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Their challenges are also common, such as dealing with people of major religious groups, the struggle to alleviate poverty and discrimination against minorities. Though the Central Asian context is different in significant respects, similar challenges apply. The Christians’ message is seen as hope of liberation and their faith is seen as a source of strength, which holds the people together.
Worship (adoration) is a special form of prayer, present in the cult of all religions in various accentuations. From the Christian point of view, worship is the response to the inner call of the Divine, an aspect of the belief in the God who reveals himself. Accordingly, church teaching explains that real worship (Greek latria) belongs to God alone, in contrast to the reverence shown to the saints (dulia). The attitude of worship is embodied in gestures, words and silence. The Christian faith, with its ecclesial dimension of a community of God's people, has ritual forms of expression in worship.
In worship, the basic truth of being a creature is realised; human beings free themselves from slavery to things and turn consciously to the Creator, who blesses them with the gift of their being. Worship cannot be considered a personal achievement through dedication and cultic practice.
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