Why bother Poor Salman ‘Being Human’ Khan and Yes Jayalalitha sure is Innocent

Habakkuk 1: 1-4

 The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.

How long, Lord, must I call for help,     but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!”     but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice?    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me;     there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed,     and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous,   so that justice is perverted.

Message:

Today’s newspaper was really depressing. J. Jayalalitha is acquitted of charges of amassing inappropriate assets.I remember reading a tweet ” Since Jayalalitha was declared innocent Tamil Nadu celebrates “Mother’s Day” on Monday instead of the official May 2nd Sunday”.  Salman Khan gets a quickfire bail. Ramalinga Raju of Satyam, who was caught in a big fraud, is granted bail. As my friend Rev Prince Varghese who is famous for his wit and sharp analysis wrote this as his Facebook status.

“High court declares Jayalalitha innocent.  High court suspends Salman Khan’s sentence. High courts are now places for High people.”

It is the general feeling that one gets looking all around where common man sees travesty and mockery of Justice. Recently youths of the Bethel Mar Thoma Church visited the Central Jail of Bhopal on Easter. The list of undertrials, whose guilt has not be proven by court but are in jail is a long one. One undertrail was there for last 4 years. So the common man, if he is innocent, he still is behind the bars for 4 years and the powerful get instant bail and VIP facilities. As another of my friend Mr A.J. Philip said “From J. Jayalalitha to Narendra Modi, all our politicians are innocent according to the court and therefore we are blessed to have such innocent politicians.

As we had the discussion of Salman Khan Case in our Youth meet, the debate of justice became prominent. One of our members Mr. Jacob John, very well pointed out that in Indian Judiciary Justice is not a right but a commodity to be purchased. If you have money and can appoint the best lawyer, then the proceedings are dependent on the debating skills of the Lawyer who will make even make Hitler look like a saint. While prosecution lawyer, appointed by the state does not stand a chance in the court. When we start to even talk of Witness protection in the face of many witnesses turning hostile, the Indian system of witness protection is nearly absent.

In light of the really bleak and depressing scenario let us look at the Biblical passage. As a youth I hardly knew there was book called Habakkuk and sure I never bothered to read it. But in the above context this book is very relevant as it shows us a believer struggling with injustice, suffering of innocent and sadness. It’s a dark time for God’s people. Where is God in this? What is God doing in this? Is He indifferent? Does He not care? Why are my prayers unanswered? How do I come to God with it all? The book shows us how to dialogue with God in our suffering, how to trust God even when everything is falling apart and how the Gospel connects all the dots in between and gives us courage. So what exactly is Habakkuk doing here? Is he complaining? Well to be more accurate, he is lamenting. So what is a Lament?

 

Lament is not about getting things off your chest. It’s about casting your anxieties upon God, and trusting him with them. Mere complaining indicates a lack of intimacy with God. Because lament is a form of prayer, lament transforms our cries and complaints into worship. Walter Brueggemann says that undergirding biblical lament is “a relationship between the lamenter and his God that is close and deep enough for the protester to speak in imperatives, addressing God as ‘you’ and reminding him of his covenantal promises.” Anyone can complain, and practically everyone does. Christians can lament. They can talk to God about their condition and ask him to change things because they have a relationship with him. To lament is to be utterly honest before a God whom our faith tells us we can trust. Biblical lament affirms that suffering is real and spiritually significant, but not hopeless. In his mercy, our God has given us a form of language that bends his ear and pulls his heart.”

Now let me quote vs 3 and 4

“Why do you make me look at injustice?  Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.  Therefore the law is paralyzed,   and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous,   so that justice is perverted.”

The cry of Habakkuk or his laments are just so apt for you and me. This is the sense of helplessness that the common man faces and this is really the reason why we love Salman Khan. Bollywood is our biggest anesthesia against of all these gross injustice. We love the angry young man who takes on the system, 1 Chulbul Pandey who punishes many rogues. We feel the vicarious fulfillment of beating up the bad guys in real life when we see the Reel Salman do it time and again on the screen. Therefore it was not surprising to read the tweets of injustice done to good boy Salman who is “Being Human”. He does charity, so why bother if he kills Nurullah Sharif, a stupid pavement dweller who is stupid to sleep on the footpath like a dog. Why bother if 4 other youths were maimed for life. Footpaths are not for sleeping but it sure is for driving.

Now as a man of faith, as a priest how do I confront this problem? Where is God in all this? Habakkuk tells me to stop saying comfortable dialogues like “God has a plan”. What plan? Habakkuk has the audacity to stand up and question God. He has the guts to argue with God. He is protesting and shaking his fist against the Lord. In times where our prayers have turned very polite and courteous, we have forgotten our right to lament. To argue, to question God. Let us not medicate ourselves by looking the otherway. Let us struggle with God like Jacob did and let us resolve not to leave him unless we get a Blessing in form of an answer. The pursuit for justice is cut short when we settle down for easy answers.

SALMAN_HUG_2396749g

“It is important for us to read the conversation between Jesus and his disciples about faith as recorded in the gospel of Luke along with the book of Habakkuk (Luke 17: 5-6). The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. But Jesus replied, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you.” A sycamore tree is a large tree up to 60 feet height with deep roots. The parallels of this text in Mathew and Mark talk about the moving of mountain by faith. So Jesus juxtaposes here a mustard seed and a sycamore tree to convince the disciples the power of faith to move mountains. The conversation narrated here started with a request from the disciples to increase their faith. But Jesus’ diagnosis was different. For him, what they needed was not more faith; but a different understanding of faith. Then he explained the illogical logic of a faith like mustard seed moving mountains. Jesus used the metaphor of the mustard seed to articulate the logic of the Reign of God as we read in Mark 4:30: “With what can we compare the kingdom of God? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” Those of us who are familiar with mustard plants know that this is a silly example. But that is the mystery of faith. When the vulnerable, the weak, and the underdogs assume the historical agency, even mountains are in trouble. This is the absurd logic of Christian faith. Mustard seeds moving mountains. Davids defeating Goliaths. Communities of faith turning the world upside down… So Jesus’ prescription for the disciples was not to strive for more faith in a quantitative sense; rather to grasp the absurd logic of faith and be possessed by it. The righteous shall live by faith.”

So when I am about to end this, I do not have a clear answer. I am confused, angry, helpless, ambiguous, pained and at times feel everything is pointless. But I will try not to medicate it or suppress it. I will try to struggle if I believe in justice as much in practice as much as I preach. Let me introduce you to a person I met when I was in Guwahati when I was attending a Conference on Globalization conducted by North East Social Research  Centre (NESRC).  I got to know her even more over a conversation at the Dining table during the Lunch break. Her name is Sister Mary Scaria. She told me “I was a teacher. I love teaching. My turning point came when one of my tribal students was raped. This disturbed my conscience. I was deeply troubled. The accused were  scot free. I had to do something. I just could not be a spectator. That is when I decided to enroll myself for law.” Today Sr Mary Scaria is an Advocate with the Supreme Court. She champions the cause of women who face atrocities. Her clients are those who cannot afford legal aid. She encountered an event in her life that caused immense pain. She chose to be hurt. She chose to question.  She decided to be a tiny mustard seed that looks insignificant in front of the powerful mountain.  Martin Luther King Jr said it well “Our Lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter.”

Rev Merin Mathew

Bethel Mar Thoma Church

Kolar Road, Bhopal

Ab Ki Baar: Caesar Aint The Boss Yaar

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Matthew 22: 15- 22

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Message

Lok Sabha Elections 2014 has done a lot of things to us. On Facebook and on Twitter all we seem to talk about is politics. We have jokes of ‘Ab Ki Baar, Modi Nahi hai Bachelaar’, we have jokes on the cough of Kejriwal and the Amul Baby image of Rahul Gandhi. We have staunch supporters of each group trying to prove a point to the other. We have new words in the dictionary like ‘Aaptards and Moditards’. I have witnessed close friends fighting over their political preferences and getting more personal than ever. Sometimes friends have asked political questions based on my preferences which will be more to trap me than to elicit an answer or my opinion. Even I have done this and have branded people who oppose my views as those who have no conscience or courage to face the truth. I guess we are yet not mature enough to handle the social media where we can level out the issues facing the country and fight with passion for the truth we believe without getting abusive or trapping the other so that we win by making the point.

Guess this phenomenon is not a recent one. In the text that we just read that Pharisees and Herodians approach Jesus. Pharisees believed that Temple tax was the most important tax and paying tax to Caesar was a sin of the highest proportion. There were Pharisees who did not carry the Roman coin as it was believed to be a blasphemy. Herodians were in association with the Romans and supported the tax system of Caesar. As we know Rome had captured the land of Israel which the people of Israel detested very much. Now it is interesting that the Pharisees to trap Jesus, sent their disciples with the Herodians. And they ask the million dollar question.  Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” (vs 17). So then this is a trap where any answer would put Jesus in trouble, and then that was the real idea than having his opinion. But Jesus went on to display some parable out here by asking for a coin to one of them. By the rule of the Pharisees we can guess they did not have any coin as it was a sin, so it must be the Herodians who carried the denarius. Holding the denarius in hand he asked them “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” (vs 20). These guys were smart,they answered “Caesar”. And then came the final bit that nailed it. “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (vs 21). Now that looks pretty ambiguous to say the least. It seems to have pacified both.

Now when Jesus asked whose image and inscription is there on the coin the obvious answer was ‘Caesar’. And therefore Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. “Give to God what is God’s”, surely begs for a logic. Who has the image of God? Genesis 1; 27 says “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” So if we are created in the image of God, what does it mean to “Give God what is God’s”?

Back in school, we learned about pie graphs in maths. Talking about maths itself makes me remember my affinity to the figure ‘zero’ when it came to marks. And guess what zero is also a circle.  A circle represents the whole. Slices of the circle, whether large or small, represent portions of the whole. These slices are often shown in vivid colors. A pie graph can indicate how a budget is divided. It can indicate the breakdown of a population according to age or race or sex. A pie graph can convey many kinds of information in a way that is simple to understand.

 You and I may experience life as we live it now in terms of a pie graph. The single self we are is served up in several slices. One slice may be for work, another for school, another for family. There may be slices for church and recreation and community service. Still other slices represent meals and sleep. Together such slices as these make up the pie which is our life here based on our choices and priorities.

My pie chart would read like this, 20% sleep, 20% reading, 30% Facebook, 10% family, 10% food and 10 % well what is 10%? O ya. God it is.

We have divided ourselves in so many pies. My wife sure wishes that 30% would be family instead of Facebook.( I am sure she contests the figure of 30%. She would say it is all I do. Well you know that’s not true)

 “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” With this reply, Jesus raises the debate to a higher level. What is at stake is more than tax payments, more than even the rule of Rome. It is not Caesar who is in control, it is God who is in control. Jesus says that God is not just a slice of your pie. You are made in His image. The circle belongs to him. When you give him, you give yourself to him, rather than putting a mere 10% consolation prize of a pie for him. Jesus says God has the complete claim over you. He gives shape to your scattered pies. It is in the Circle of the presence of God that give meaning, purpose and shape to the ‘pies’ of our lives.

This is what Paul urges us when he says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12: 1-2). We are to offer ourselves ‘wholly and completely’ to God and not just a pie of our time and talent. Rev Charles Hoffacker says something profound. “In life we all get burnt out handling our jobs, family and children that we complain we have no time for ourselves. That is because we depend heavily on our resources. ‘Give to God what is God’s’ means giving yourself to God where God is the source of electricity and we just transmit this electricity to the people and the tasks that we are involved in. We are not the source. God, the creator is the source. Giving our all to God is easier said than done?

Let me leave you with a very silly illustration. According to one story, a much loved king had a terrible ailment of the heart and was in need of a heart transplant.  There was a great concern throughout his kingdom.  Everyone gathered outside the royal castle. Outside the royal balcony there were a sea of people who heard the minister declare that the king needs a heart transplant. Hearing this the people started screaming and waving their hands.  “Take my heart, King, take my heart!”

Well, the king was overwhelmed at the love of the people. But he just needed one heart and here every one was ready to give. So how would he pick that one person? An idea popped into his head.  He asked everyone to please be quiet for a few minutes and he told them his plan.  He would throw down a feather and whoever the feather landed on, the king would take their heart for the transplant.  The beloved king then threw the feather out over the people and watched it drift back and forth.  Everyone was still screaming and waving their hands, “Take my heart, King,” but with one difference:  they were leaning their heads back and blowing the feather back into the air.  “Take my heart, King (blow), Take my heart (blow).”

 

We too try to believe that we are giving ourselves fully to God by saying “Take my Heart Lord”. But all we really like to do is give a ‘pie’ of our time and energy to God by confining him to Sundays and prayer times saying even more loudly “Take my heart Lord (Blow), Take my heart Lord (Blow)”. Well hear Jesus say this once again “God does not need your pie, he is the circle that gives meaning to your life.”

 

Rev Merin Mathew

Mar Thoma Syrian Church

Guwahati

 

 

 

Facebook Confessions and the Thirst for Grace

Text: Luke 19: 1-9

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.

 

Message

 

For the past one week I have witnessed the mushrooming of  ‘Campus Confessions’ on Facebook where groups linked to schools and universities have an opportunity to be anonymous and confess anything possible. I saw one group that invited in this way “You have a dark secret? You want to get it out of your system. You have come to the right place. Confess as much as you like without being known.” This trend has alarmed the police, college and school administration alike. But it is a big rage among the teenagers and youths. The reports of ‘Times of India ‘says that this trend is here to stay which and has helped Facebook to get an edge over Tumblr. Psychologists say that it is a very urgent need for people to have a forum for Catharsis. These pages of campus confessions give opportunity to people to remain hidden. But why do people have the urge to confess? Counselors say that the human heart can’t deal with the guilt of secret shame. Such forums give them the comfort of confessing their guilt with a guarantee of not being judged. They crave to confess their hidden aspect of the self.

 

In this context we see Luke introducing a person who preferred being hidden. In a place called Jericho he tells us about a Tax Collector called Zacchaeus . The story of the short man Zachy was my favorite story as a kid. A cartoon illustration of Zachhaeus climbing the Sycamore tree is still fresh in my mind. To understand why Zachy loved to hide we need to learn a bit of the background of Israel. John Ortberg says that there were few professions in Israel that were considered immoral. They were Gamblers with Dice, Usurers, Pigeon Trainers (as Pigeon racing was a form of gambling) and Tax collectors. Now why the Tax collectors profession was considered immoral? One would know that Israel was under Roman Imperialism and extracting money out of their colony was a main stay of Roman system. One of the historical document has an edict which says “Do not appoint Roman tax Collectors. Let Barbarians be the tax Collectors.” Let me divert a bit before we go further. How did the word Barbarian come to be used? Kancha Iliah a dalit Scholar says that Greeks and Romans were the first to invent the technology of shaving. Therefore if one looks at any Greek or Roman Statue, the alpha male is one who is “Clean Shave Gillette” look. Since only Romans had the access to the technology of shaving only they had the clean shave privilege but the people of the Countries under their imperial rule had long flowing beard. Now in latin “Barba” means beard. So Barbarians simply mean people with beard. So technically I am a Barbarian. How Nice. Well it is the politics of the language that associated barbarians with being uncivilized.

 

Coming back to the point is that Barbarian Zachy was a Tax Collector who was also seen as an agent of the Romans. Zachy was despised as a traitor by society at large. A devout Israelite would not let the hem of their robe to be touched by a tax collector. One can say that Zacchaeus with his short physical frame thought that only money could bring him prominence and security. He was good at it and also that he must have been totally corrupt by fleecing people. The money is there, he was the chief tax collector, he had huge power. But then why did this man want to see Jesus? John Ortberg says that he was intrigued by Jesus as this Jesus had a Tax Collector as a Disciple (we are talking about Matthew). That was a huge message for this person who was a social scum. He did not want to be seen in public. But he also did not want to miss meeting this Rabbi who has a man from his profession as a disciple. His urge to be hidden was so deep that he wanted to see Jesus from a distance and therefore he climbed the tree. He did not want to face people along with Jesus, whom Zacchaeus had cheated. Jesus comes closer to the tree and Zacchaeus gets a closer look. But when he is looking at Jesus, Jesus looks at him. He stops. Guess what? Jesus not only calls him, He also knows his name. He calls out  “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” (vs 6) The people are shocked that Jesus calls out a corrupt traitor who is a tax collector. Vs 7 says that people walking with Jesus are unhappy and start to grumble that he is going to dine with a sinner. How can Jesus do that? Does he not know his background? What is funny is, the people who were walking with Jesus were more spiritual that Jesus was. I feel that people in the church reject people that Jesus would accept. It seems we are more spiritual than Him.

 

Zacchaeus knows that his life does not measure up to have a communion with Jesus. But he now encounters Grace that he never has seen . He was a misfit till now. Lived in guilt and always felt literally and metaphorically short in front of people. When he encounters grace, his hidden aspects of the soul are touched. His hidden sinfulness becomes exposed in front of Jesus who comes to his home without any preconditions. Coming home and dining made him feel accepted. The power of grace opened his heart that he not only confessed his sins but also was ready to pay back four times the amount to those he had defrauded. According to law he just had to pay back 20 percent. His repentance produced generosity which was hidden due to his guilt. He realized he was blind in his urge to become rich and therefore decided to give half of his possessions to the poor. We can see all the people who with reluctance accompanied Jesus to a fraud tax collectors home. When Zacchaeus said all this they might have wished that Jesus sees through the fake claims of a tax collector who can never be honest. But they get scandalized hearing Jesus say “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.” (vs 9) Salvation? Son of Abraham? They had too much to take for a day. But Zacchaeus because of the Grace received from Jesus Christ, was healed and received forgiveness and transformed his life of hiddenness to walk with Jesus. He received salvation.

 

Today as followers of Christ we have become too judgmental in our approach. We have become more pious and Spiritual than Jesus. Our Church is restricted to the Believers. There are many inside and outside the church that need the grace to come out of their hidden ways of life. But we have chosen to be judgmental so as to exclude them.

 

I will end the meditation with the famous Story of Ernest Hemingway that sums up the urgent need for grace and forgiveness. In his short story “Capital of the World”, Ernest Hemingway tells about a Spanish father who wanted to be reconciled with his runaway son. The despairing father missed his son so much that he placed an advertisement in the local newspaper. The advertisement read simply, “Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa.”  The father drove down and was anxious whether his son Paco would meet him. He was not sure. With a million thoughts, the Father reaches the Hotel. But the father was shocked at what he saw. There were eight hundred young men named Paco waiting for their forgiving fathers! Paco is a very common name in Spain.

 

We all long to be forgiven and experience grace. Confession here is when Jesus has taken the initiative to reach out to us. To give communion to us. He accepts us the way we are.  We do not need to remain hidden. His Grace transforms us. He has reached out to us so that we can reach out to many spreading Grace, Forgiveness and Reconciliation.

 

Rev Merin Mathew

Mar Thoma Syrian Church

GuwahatiImage

May I Have Your Attention Please

Text: Numbers 6: 22-26

 

The Lord said to Moses,  “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:“ ‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you  and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’

Message

Everything is now at the tip of our fingers. We can make calls, we can chat through Whatsapp, we can access facebook, we can Tweet, we can mail and blog. We live in the age of Smarphones. Without sounding preachy let me admit that my wife gets really irritated seeing how hooked on I am to the phone. Whenever she has something to say, I am engrossed in the phone. I argue that “I am listening. I can tell everything that you just told me.” Even if it is true is that enough? Wherever we go the technology has become so intrusive that even if we are physically present among our friends and relatives, we have become absent. We exist in a parallel world. We can’t hold a proper conversation with people in front of us. We are caught up in checking who liked our photos and status updates.  It is the peril of advancement in communication that we have failed in the basic art of communication. That is to pay attention to the person or the people in front of us. The biggest evidence of love is when we give attention to people. Our attention is indirectly saying that “You are very important to me. What you are saying matters a lot.” What an affirmation. So not paying attention gives the contrary message even if we intend or not.

The passage we have in front of us is a Priestly Blessing taught by God himself. It reveals one of the greatest truths that I love. God pays attention to us. Look at it. “The Lord turn his face toward you.”(vs 26).  John Ortberg says that turning your face toward someone is to give your wholehearted, undivided attention. It is a statement where God is saying to us “I have nothing else to do. I am fully available for you. You are important to me.” What is more fascinating is “The Lord make his face shine upon you.”(vs 24) How wonderful. This blessing says God will not only turn his face towards us, he will make it “shine” on us. The shining face is an image of delight, a joy that we cannot describe. Now how do we understand a “shining face”?

Let me explain. My father by far is the best listener that I have come across. When people talk to him, he is all attention. My wife Soji is very animated in her conversations. I happened to witness a conversation between my dad and her. She was narrating an incident of great joy  and I could see my  father’s face shine. He owns the happiness of the person speaking to him. He makes his listeners feel very special. (No wonder Soji keeps asking me “How come you are like this!!!”) That is what the blessing says. God is so much involved in us that his face shines on us. We are very special to Him.

He listens to our prayers. It is important to Him. We matter to Him. When I was a teenager, I had a doubt. My question and confusion was when there are so many people around us, how is it possible for God to pay attention to each and every prayer. I asked my mother this question. She told me a story. “Once there was a man called Henry. His life was full of problems and he felt that God is not answering his prayers. He kept asking ‘When there are so many people in this world how is it possible for God to pay attention to every prayer?’ Disturbed, he walked out of his home to stroll on the beach. It was night and darkness had filled his heart. He saw no hope. The sound of the waves was symbolic of the struggles within him. But in the darkness there was a little light. The light was moon. He kept walking the length and breadth of the beach. And suddenly like a child he realized that wherever he was going the moon was right on top of his head. He started to run, the moon was following him. When he stopped the moon stopped. When he walked the moon was travelling above with him. Henry then danced and jumped. “If there are a million people standing on this beach tonight, everyone would say that the moon is on top of their head. I have found my answer. Similarly when millions and millions pray to God, they feel his presence and find God with them.” This story may be too simple but it helped me a lot. Let us be clear on one thing. We are important to God. He pays attention to us.

If the God of the universe has time for his creation, time to pay attention to them, to celebrate with them, what excuse do we have? Let us regulate the technology that we have to enhance relationships. Let the gadgets that we have help us build bonds and not weaken or break them. Let us vow not to fidget with our phones in presence of another human being. Nothing is more insulting. Let us set our priorities. Let us overcome our addiction of indulging in ourselves. Let us thank God for turning His face to us. Let us be people who have experienced that joy. After communicating with God, the face of Moses shone. When we meet our friends are they seeing our face shining? Mostly our faces are blank. We have no joy. Let us take time to take the Bible and pray, so that we see the face of God shining on us. Let us keep our gadgets away and look into the eyes of the people in front of us. Let us enjoy the beauty of conversations and relationships that God created us for. May God Bless Us.

Rev Merin Mathew

Mar Thoma Syrian Church

Guwahati