|JUNE 2003||DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE||
The same Jesus, who told that He is the light of this world, tells us also that we are the light of this world. Instead of compulson, evangelism should call for to reach the rotten areas of the society and to recreate it. In our social life and in the circumstances where ever we are, God intend from all of our life is that people around us may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.
History reveals that the Marthoma Church was involved and worked in the ecumenical organizations from the very incipient stages itself. During 1948, when the World Council of Churches was convened first time in Amsterdam, Late Thomas Mar Athanasios had attended that meeting. During 1957, when the regional conference of Asia, now known as the 'Christian Conference of Asia' convened first time in Indonesia, Late Alexander Marthoma Metropolitan had attended that meeting. From that time onwards, Marthoma Church stands in the main stream of the world wide ecumenical enterprise. While I am standing here, let me disclose some of the newly originated movement during this year in the arena of ecumenism. One hundred and nineteen Churches represent the 'Christian Conference of Asia' from nineteen countries in Asian continent. From this year onwards the Roman Catholic Church Bishop Conference of the Asian Zone was amalgamated and configured a new consortium and appointed two presidents. One of the president is a Cardinal from the Roman Catholic Church and another my self, while I was presiding over the Church Conference of Asia. This new consortium will be introduced in the conference to be held in Indonesia. I solicit for your support and earnest prayers in this regard.
The second point I would like to say is that, in the past few years, even though the ecumenical relations are growing up, at the same time, the dividing and separating ideas are also being brought up in the Churches. It is a need of this era that we should develop an enthusiasm to overcome all these ideas of separatism and up-bring the spirit of ecumenism. The experience of hardships in the nineteenth century had seeded the thoughts of ecumenism to be originated in the twentieth century. Many like-minded visionaries joined together and expressed their willingness to work together, and it paved the way for an ecumenical movement among various Churches of differing ideologies. With the concept of 'accept which are acceptable and respect which are unacceptable', the ecumenism could go forward to progress in its own way. However, during the course of time after the Second World War period, with the advent of the above two organizations a noticeable progress was seen in the spirit of ecumenism and this fact is being well proclaimed in the history of ecumenism.
Ecumenical vision is not an entity involved of only the Christian believers. It is a noticeable fact that vision of ecumenism is now spread out to be a model of various religious believers and even people of various conflicting ideas. During this time the Latin American theologian, while reading the verse Psalms 145:9, he stood stead fast in that verse. For a moment he went deep in his thought in the meaning of the verse. The verse tells "The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee." When his thoughts were shaken with these words, he said; if the God is good to all, and we enjoy his benevolence from him, we also should be good to his entire creation and we are being indebted to do so. How magnificent the vision of the ecumenism had gone up?
With these vision reached to its acme, we see the adverse forces also are growing up in the universe during this age. God is good not only for the humans or for the Christians or for a particular group, but for his entire creation. Not only that, as the Psalmist exclaimed of it, how magnificent is the goodness of our God, who created us in this universe, made it inhabitable and is being well preserved? So a great vision of the circumstances had emerged into the ideology of ecumenism.
Let us look to our this age. In our state of Kerala, the rivers are getting dried off, the natural beauties are lost, the economical growth is stagnated, and employment opportunities are worsened and the scenario is being staged to be unbearable even for a nominal living. Even Kerala face dearth of drinking water and it became very severe. One year before, I went to the village Chirapunchi in Orissa. In our primary school lessons we studied that the Chriapunchi is the place, which get the heaviest rainfall in the world. When I went to Assam I found that the place became of severe scarcity of drinking water. Everywhere in the world, we see that man is trying to exploit the nature in an unscientific manner and perturb this beautiful nature, which God had created, to a perversion leading to an intolerable atmosphere. We had reached to a scenario in which we are not able to drink even water. In every field of life we see the things, which are defiled by the selfish motives of man.
With these circumstances we have to keep in our mind that as God is good to his all creation, we are also indebted to be good and merciful to the entire co-creation of God. In our spiritual being, we should keep this ardent thought of being good to all. Day to day we breathe out poison to the atmosphere. The vehicles, which we travel, are emitting the poisonous gas to the atmosphere. Even in this sand bed, unlike in the past, I noticed people filtering their nostril with hand in order to inhale good air. When we exhale the poison, the trees absorb that poison and create oxygen to sustain our life in this earth. The unscientific process of destroyal of the forest and hoarding of the natural resources, chop off the natural orders which our good God created for preserving this earth.
With a proper understanding of these facts, let the blessed ecumenical thoughts influence for the necessary changes and corrections in our life and I sincerely wish for the same. At this point, I would like to share some thoughts with you referring to Gospel according to St.Mathew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." During His sermon on the mount, after reminding us who we are in this world, Jesus had given this advice to us. Jesus told that we are the salt of the earth. Jesus told that we are the light of this world. The same Jesus, who told that He is the light of this world, tells us also that we are the light of this world. Let all of us reexamine our self with sincerity. Do this light is there in our self, in the personal life, in our family life, in our society life?
We are the salt of earth. What is this salt? Salt goes deep into the points where things are rotten, eliminate the cause for decaying and preserve it to be intact so that it becomes usable. We all are aware of this fact. All our housemothers know the trick that if the fish is bit decayed, she applies salt to it. The rotten item is converted to good and usable. God is intending this about us. God is intending this with the Christian Church. We have to reach to the rotten areas of the society and to recreate it. This is the work of evangelism. We should not forget these facts. Compulsion is not the way for evangelism. We are supposed to root out the cause, which leads for decaying and make it usable and with fragrance. It should penetrate deep into the substance. This is good work God counts. Do we have the will for this? Do we have the interest for this? Not only that, Salt make the item delicious and tasty. That is the procreation. That was why in all recipes we read that salt to be added as needed. Taste differs from person to person. It makes the tasteless food tasty. If it is added more it can cause blood pressure. Eventually it can lead to fatality.
Secondly it is told that we are the light of this world. Light removes darkness. The light makes us to see the things as it is. This is the media given by God to us. If we are trying to learn of things with out light, our understanding will be wrong or vague. It will be like the blind man who had gone to see the elephant. It may lead for differing concepts in us. So God gives us the light to see the things as it is in the true form. Today the persons, family and society are in need of this light. Everybody think of his or her own concepts as right. But when the Godly light fall on us we can see our self in the true nature. He also gives us the strength to be responsive to this true nature.
In addition to this, the light gives us the confidence. God indents of us to be the confidence of the world that lost its confidence. In early days there was a common hymn used in the VBS classes. In that hymn a small infant child is asking the stars in heaven 'Who has created you with the big light in you?' The star replies the child that 'He is same creator God who created me, created you too with a light in you.' That is what God intends of us. The God who created the sun and the stars to give light for the universe had created us with a light in us to get lightened in this earth. This light in us is to be kept on the pillar so that it will give light to others. In our church activities and in our official activities, can we give this light to others? Even many laymen could spread this light of evangelism in our country areas while they were doing their routine works for their living. The God who created the shining stars had put a light in our life also.
Jesus told that we are the seeds thrown to the field. The dried seed when it come in contact with moist earths it becomes a strengthy origin of life. There were two villages of farmers. The people in one village were habituated to remove the chaff from the paddy, but they do not dry the paddy adequately. The other villagers were habituated to dry the paddy adequately, but they do not remove the chaff from the paddy. If by chance these two villagers work together, instead of choosing to dry and remove the chaff, if they join for the adverse that the paddy is neither dried nor removed the chaff, what will be the aftermath of it!! When we dry the seed quite adequately it attains the strength to withstand the most severe climatic changes. Well-dried seed respond to the heat and cold. The dried seed respond to the darkness and light. As a result, the more we dry the seed the more it produces healthier plant and eventually a heavier crop. When it responds to the light and moisture, in day's time or even in few hours time, it emerges out as an active and energetic life of a plant. Why this seed is transfiguring? This transfiguration is vital for its transmutation to respond to the adverse circumstances to produce a healthier seed leading for a better crop.
If we look into our spiritual life, we experience the benevolence and providence of God through our adverse circumstances. In our social life and in the circumstances where ever we are, God intend from all of our life is that people around us may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven. Let this light in our life shine in order to glorify the name of our Lord.
[Presidential Speech delivered during the Ecumenical Meeting of Maramon Convention 2003
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LIGHT OF LIFE
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