To Feria or Not to Feria

1 06 2010

I’ve been told on several occasions that people from my church don’t go to Feria. On occasion that’s been from people outside, and sometimes from with. Since it’s one of the biggest events of the year and also a window into culture here – I was keen to go and experience it. But I wanted to now what would be read into that, how to talk about it with people at church…

I assumed the reason for not being involved was because people drink a lot, dance the night away and come home only fit to rise late and do it all again.  But that’s not it. The fiesta is in honour of the virgin…  So rather than be involved in something that is in honour of the virgin – they abstain. Missing Feria is a really big deal. It’s the highlight of the year, it’s a party that closes the city. To be Córdobese is to go to Feria (and to have a fairly average local futbol team, and a small case of little brother defiance towards Sevilla).

So whether or not I follow that logic – and I think there are some good questions to be asked about how the people of Córdoba today understand the purpose.

While I have friends in oriental cultures dealing with animistic rituals or in Muslim cultures working out respectful bridges for the people – the questions I face are usually: to party or not to party…

Imagine if you were holding front row seats at the final of the rugby world cup or the soccer in South Africa this year; and someone told you that the match would begin with worshipping the God of football (although some would say that’s pretty much exactly what’s happening:). Would you be willing to forgo the tickets?

My question isn’t whether you agree it’s necessary, but would you be willing to not do it.

If your favourite band was playing but the concert was in honour of Mother Earth, to show appreciation for her provision, would you be willing to miss it? I think my lack of willingness would probably send me looking for a different course of action… I wonder how often I start with what I want to do, and skim for logic to allow it.

That’s the kind of fervour the church in Spain has here for holiness.

For sure, I keep coming back to a recurring issue, which is that questions need to be asked about what ‘holiness’ looks like… but that aside, you gotta love their passion, and commitment to throwing off everything that entangles.

I’ve been reading Leviticus and clean and unclean lately an it seems a whole lot of palaver to me but maybe in part that is because I’m so used to seeing the distance between me and that way of life, the incredible chasm between the Old and New Covenant. But the bridge is the incredible Holiness of God – and for that reason the gap between our lives and the lives of those of the world ought to be so much more striking!

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