Using henna to communicate the Gospel

Henna Stories websiteA couple of years ago I posted on a fantastic example of how the art of henna might be used in Bible engagement (you can read that post here: Henna storying the Bible). People still come across that post most days, which suggests the concept intrigues and resonates with them. I’ve also had the privilege of seeing a student submit some henna designs for an assignment on the Psalms here at Redcliffe.

Revisiting the topic I notice that there are now quite a few links out there on the subject. The Henna stories website is a good place to start, as is the section on Henna in the AfricaStories website. Two interesting articles can be found on the Indigenous Jesus blog: Contextualized Henna Art and Mehndi Gospel Paintings.

You may also like to check out a couple of videos: Creation to Christ and Henna and the Gospel.

What about your own context? What expressions of creativity are prized in your culture and how might they be used to convey the message of the Gospel?

Henna storying the Bible

Henna and the Gospel image
Image from South Asian Peoples website

While looking through the excellent oralstrategies website in preparation for a new module on the Bible and orality I came across an item highlighting the way believers are using henna to communicate the biblical stories. The item linked to the website for South Asian Peoples, which said the following about the ministry:

Henna Storytelling

Henna, a temporary artwork drawn on hands and other parts of the body, is a popular beauty technique in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Christian women use henna to illustrate Bible stories and share the Gospel in a non-threatening manner.

These pages describe how you can host a henna party in your home or church. Learn how to make henna and draw Bible story illustrations, and how to prepare traditional foods served in henna cultures. Then spend time praying for the women of the world who use henna and the missionaries who serve them.

They highlight links to videos explaining more (see one below), story sets and henna patterns, a guide to making your own henna, and a booklet entitled, ‘Henna and the Gospel’.

Please do check out the website. Even if it is not your thing, or you are unlikely ever to use this particular strategy yourself, just drink in the creativity and be inspired to do something appropriate and imaginative in your own context.

Creation to Christ Henna from South Asia on Vimeo.

We’ll be looking at this fantastic ministry, along with many others, on Redcliffe’s new module, ‘Story, Song and Social Networks: Bible Engagement and Oral Culture’, which is available to final year students on Redcliffe College’s BA(Hons) Degree in Applied Theology in Intercultural Contexts.