THE MARKER

My favorite book makes a lamp post a significantly central feature of the story, the marker between two worlds, the point of reference between two timelines and the memory trigger.

It acts like a lighthouse shedding light, guiding back to the safe harbour of the present world after traversing the seas of adventure in another world in another timeline.

The lamp post sits in the wood, alight in the dark and the cold of perpetual winter, a sentry to the divide between the worlds, the threshold – the end for one people and the beginning for another!

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*My favorite book will always be C. S. Lewis book The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe. It is second to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress, we could say in a genre, followed by Tolkien’s middle earth series and recently by the Paul Young’s The Shack. Somewhere in there is the Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

The Narnian series is a child’s delight of popping in and out of another world without any damage the normal life and time period of the world we inhabit. This week’s pic brought the lamp post in the book into focus for me and intrigued me enough to do some research!

*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt, every week. Thanks for this week’s beautiful PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook
*When the Pevensie children enter into Narnia from the wardrobe they encounter the lamp post. A piece of their world in the world of Narnia, out of place and out of context. What is this? What is Clive Staples Lewis hinting at?
If there is one thing I know about Lewis’ analogical tale, everything has a meaning and often more than one. Aslan is Jesus, the stone table the Cross…. I could go on but that would be getting off the topic at hand, the lamp post. The origin of the lamp post comes from “The Magician’s Nephew” (which being the second book makes it a prequel meaning George Lucas has been pipped at that) where the white Queen herself takes a broken lamp post with her to Narnia where amazingly it grows into a new one. By the time the Pevensie children arrive it has been there forever and quite normal for Narnian’s to see. Normal but not in the same context as the Pevensie children or ourselves and this is the point I will endeavour to make. Why? Because there are people, places, times and maybe even objects and animals that God uses for his purpose. God brings the familiar of our world of our senses to explain a part of His. Now we could split hairs here about the duality of mortal and immortal divine and human sacred and profane, but I often wonder if that’s not something that is as far separated as we think. And I believe that Lewis saw this to be true.
The lamp post sits in the wood in Narnia alight in the dark and the cold of the White Witches winter. A sentry to the divide between the worlds. Mr. Tumnus tells us this is boundary of Narnia the threshold. For Tumnus the lamp post is the end of Narnia for the Pevensies it is the beginning. This is the point where I tell you to think about the people and places God has used to invite us further into His world. Your memory should be able to tell you these things more than I can. What I am going to tell you is that God has done this since the beginning of creation. Creation was an invitation for humanity, Moses and the pillar of cloud and fire, the Prophets, Angels, Chariots of Fire and Jesus too.Jesus is the lamp post familiar and out of context at the same time. Human with flesh and blood able to die and also divine and risen Lord of all. The archetype is one that God uses and continues to use, bringing people and places, organisations and even memories to use. So when you read this and remember these lamp posts, these things that are used by God familiar yet out of context to where you think it should lead. We should not glorify the lamp posts but God who put them there. Don’t look for them because like the lamp post they will come when you least expect them, even in a wardrobe.http://thischristianguy.blogspot.in/2011/11/lamp-post-in-narnia-what-god-uses-for.html?m=1
*In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the lamppost functions as a beacon in more ways that one—showing the children the way to Narnia when the come into it from our world, and showing them the way back when they need to leave. At the end of the adventure, it’s the lamppost which leads the way home for the children, triggering their memories of their old lives in England.
The lamppost is an object that isn’t quite Narnian and isn’t quite a part of the “real world.” Narnia is pseudo-medieval, so the lamppost is anachronistic. But the Pevensies’ come from the England of the 1940’s, and the lamppost is outdated by 1940’s standards—it has a flame burning in it rather than an electric bulb. It exists out of time and place, which is why it so efficiently signals to the children (and later, to the queens and kings) that something is off.
If all these things didn’t make it important enough, the lamppost also causes Edmund to slip up and prove to Peter and Susan that he lied about his first trip to Narnia—the fact that he knows which way to go to find it proves he has been there before. Yup; this lamppost sheds light on pretty much everything…including lies. (http://narnia.wikia.com/wiki/Lamp-post)
*C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia as an allegory for Christianity. The lamppost, in that way, is supposed to represent the Light of Heaven/God. It serves as a guiding light for the children, always bringing them back to Narnia, the kingdom of Heaven. (https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-lamp-post-in-the-Chronicles-of-Narnia-symbolize)
*Photo courtesy of Wattpad link https://my.w.tt/UiNb/8lN8ZMZxQI
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GROOMING

Some need time to don their dresses
Others need it to comb their tresses!
Some need to have constant facials,
Others need what’s in the commercials!

Some like their pants creased well
Others like their ears pierced with jewel!
Some like to have nice high heels,
Others like to have great new wheels!

One thing surely is true and clear
We all love to look decent and have some flair.
Nothing wrong in taking enough care,
To see how well you look and do appear!

Only just don’t stop right there,
And consider only what to wear!
But spend time in constant prayer,
Grooming yourself to be God’s heir!

Read the Word to know His mind,
Reflect & meditate even in daily grind.
Take time to constantly renew your mind,
Wait on the Lord to rise like eagles in the wind!

Number your days for there’s coming an end,
Prepare to meet your God along with His kind.
Be filled with the Spirit to repent and transcend,
This is how you can earn eternal dividend!

Care not just for whether you’re clothed in mink or pink,
Life is not all about just what you eat or drink.
Dress yourself with linen white and pure,
Groomed and ready to meet Him in the mid air!

SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
*Based on the Sunday Sermon preached by Ps Benedict Joseph (@AjBenedict).
© NLAG CHURCH, LITTLE MT, CHENNAI, INDIA

THE MASTER & HIS MASTER PLAN

Do you look around and really wonder,
Who’s in charge for things are being torn asunder.
Is there someone to whom we can render,
Allegiance and loyalty, obedience and surrender?

Yes, there is a One Whom we need to discover,
He is our Master and there’s just no other.
His plans we do need to seek and recover,
Nothing else here on earth is going to matter!

God is on the throne, He’s always had a plan to gather,
A people of His own from whom He’ll never wander.
The apple of His eye who will bear His beautiful name,
That will seek His glory and proclaim His fame.

God sent His son for Him to redeem man,
To fulfil the dictates of His master plan.
With one masterly stroke of His hand,
He’s made him part of His royal clan!

Christ did really step into our cosmic mess
That’s why we gladly celebrate Christmas.
He made us part of God’s eternal business,
Without Him our life is completely senseless!

God has made us through Christ His family,
We are therefore no longer paradesi.
He’s building us to be His church mutually,
Even though we are all truly swadeshi!

Rejoice, you have a role in His Master plan
He’ s fashioning you to be His masterpiece.
Make the choice to follow Him else you’re a deadman
Your real season begins only when you’re His batman!

SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
*Poetic form of Sunday Sermon by Ps Manoah Joshi (@manoahj)
© NLAG CHURCH, LITTLE MT, CHENNAI, INDIA

IT’S ALL A MATTER OF OPINION

Mom, come see. Look the trees are dipping silver threads!

Looks like your wish came true. Soon you will be able to use your new skates!

I’m so looking forward to it. Thank you God!

But I can’t go check those far shacks now.

———–—————————————–

Mom, come see. There are icicles on the trees!

Oh no. My worst nightmare has come true. How are we going to manage!

They look pretty! Look on the bright side. They will be too busy skating to come and chase us out!

Hope so. Thank God for small mercies!

*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt, every week. Thanks for this week’s beautiful photo prompt © Dale Rogerson

PERSPECTIVE PERCEPTION

 

night view

For many years now I have been living in St. Thomas Mount area in Chennai, S.India. Known in modern Tamil as Parangimalai, this small hillock of about 60m (196.9 ft) above sea level, very close to the Chennai International & Domestic Airports, has been the site of the Apostle Thomas’ martyrdom and is, therefore, one of the famous tourist destinations of the city along with the Marina Beach. The top of the hill can be reached by means of 135 steps, but there is also a road that reaches around the back of the hill.

For me, climbing the hill by way of the steps has always been an anticipated thrill. When you climb the steps, you slowly rise above the city and a breathtaking panorama starts unfolding before you, bit by bit, step by step. As you climb, people, buildings, traffic, etc., shrink and reduce before your eyes. Finally, you reach the top, step on level ground, take a deep breath and swivel around to enjoy a 360-degree-view of the city. You can see miles around and glimpse the city spreading to the horizon as far as eye can reach – east to the sea (the Bay of Bengal), north to city’s port (built as an artificial harbour) and industrial area beyond, west to the suburbs and south to the airport and beyond.

From that height, much of the ugliness of the city, including its dirt disappears from sight, leaving you awed at the beauty of the view and dumbstruck at the nuances of the vista. At twilight or dusk, a blanket of darkness slowly begins to cover the city and lights begin to twinkle here and there. At nightfall, the whole city landscape looks magical with diamonds of light embedded in a background of black velvet that leaves you gasping for breath at the wonder of it all!

It is fascinating to note how familiar things look so different when seen from another vantage point, with things that seem to loom over you actually shrinking to almost nothing. A high point vision, a wide angle perspective and a panoramic view of life actually help to readjust and realign our perception of how things are or seem to be. Most often we rue our lot in life, our portion on earth and our position in time because we minimise our niceties and maximise our insecurities. All we need is just another look from another viewpoint for things to appear in the right order and right color.

Like it or not we are more like chickens, running to cower under a shelter, than like eagles that eagerly await the storm, bodies quivering with excitement and wings widespread with anticipation! A different outlook will be enough to transform us from chickens scurrying under cover to eagles confronting the storm headfirst! We need a binocular or telescopic sight rather than myopic or microscopic tunnel vision!

However much I want, I can’t stay up there, marveling at how things changed when seen from up there and I regretfully begin my descent down the hill. Once I’ve had my fill of the view, duty calls and climb down the hill, descending the same steps into the world of daily duties and cares. Just as when I went up, in the exact opposite way, the city begins to loom larger and larger, resolving itself into building, streets, people and a million other things. Finally, I am back on ground, walking into the decay and dirt of mundane life, but now armed with something to show for my time up there. The look from the hill usually fills me with an insight that restores and readjusts my vision as well as my outlook of ordinary tasks. A different perspective had birthed a different perception as well as hope!

We don’t get to stay there on that high point or at a different vantage point. We go there to get a whiff of fresh air, a breath of newness and a look at the end of the horizon. We go there so that observation of the vista helps readjust our sights and restore 20/20 vision so we can better handle the commonalities of affairs of life. We come back. not only with healed perception, but also with a hidden gift  as the poet of The Daffodils declares:

 … I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils (or the hills!).
(William Wordsworth (1815) )
*Photo courtesy of the internet

A SENSE OF MISSION

Another insight from the ranks of the military.

I was teaching and discussing the difference between work-life and lifework in the small group I lead and facilitate. We were concentrating on the need for and the lack of a strong work culture and ethic among Christians today. Not so long ago, Christians had the reputation of being good, dependable, committed workers and were the surest bet among a number of potentially eligible candidates for a post. Sadly, this not completely true today and the work world is often disgusted with the unprofessional and slipshod work of those who bear the name of Christ. We were analyzing and exploring the causes and reasons for it.

An army friend, a member of the group, spoke up and shared the following about the attitude of work inculcated in the army.

He said that if you were to motor down the lonely roads of Leh, Ladakh and other border areas, you would often find a single soldier at his post by the road, holding his flag and rifle in readiness. There wouldn’t be soul for miles around and yet he would just stand there in readiness. He wouldn’t bother to see if someone was watching him or checking on him to see if he was fine or even monitoring whether he really did his work well. He would just do what was expected of him, viz. keep watch, irrespective of the weather, lack of company or need of any thing that is normally demanded!

This, he said, was typical of any soldier in the army, irrespective of their charge. They are impacted with a sense of mission. The soldier is taught that because he stood at his post, alone on that lonely road, people back home slept in peace. His faithful watch ensured the rest and contented tranquility of his countrymen. His fearless holding of the ground caused the women and children of the nation to live in quiet confidence. It was his alert vigilance on that lonely road enabled the nation function effectively and carry on its business as usual. As he shouldered his assignment in perfect willingness, his land participated without hindrance in the day-to-day affairs of the world it was part of. It was this sense of the importance of one’s task, whatever be be the rank and post, that helped the army maintain discipline and order among its men or women.

What a lesson to learn, I thought to myself, as we seek to live as Christians in this world! One of the greatest way by which Christians can develop a good work ethic and culture today is to have a sense of mission and a grasp of the big picture we/they are part of. We are often so caught up with the mundane daily tasks of general living, that we tend lose focus. We feel hopeless, helpless, hapless and often just endure but not enjoy life. We need to see ourselves the way He sees us, as co-labourers and partners together with Him in the smooth functioning of His world, the accomplishing of His will and the ushering in of His Kingdom on earth.

Once we grasp this, our outlook on and of life will change drastically and dramatically. Once we understand deep in our heart that we are really after all about His business, irrespective of our station in life, we will face each day with excitement and confront each problem with zest. Once we realize every work we do, irrespective of how small or big it is, as long as it is intrinsically good in itself, contributes to His working on this earth, we will be transformed and rejuvenated, daily! Once we catch this sense of mission, we will work with a sense of purpose, a sense of direction and a sense of worth!

We must know, understand and be convinced that, however small or big, high or low, narrow or wide our portion in life is, every task, work, role, ministry we do contributes to the making up a whole. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you are placed in life, but it matters how you live and do everything in life.

Our work and life ethic as Christians must needs be representative of our King and His Kingdom. We cannot ape or copy the standards currently prevailing in an IT sector or a government institution or a corporate company or even a religious Christian organization. Our values must be calibrated to the Biblical principles and Kingdom values.

A sense of mission, like that of a soldier, is a key to developing a fittingly appropriate and fascinatingly intriguing ethic that will ensure life here and now is wonderfully exciting. After all, we are enjoined by the eminent Apostle Paul to be faithful and diligent as soldiers (II Tim 2:3-4)!

© SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
*Photo courtesy http://www.indiamike.com/india-images/pictures/lonely-soldier-manali-leh-road-near-pang and https://disciplesofhope.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/mission.jpg

LIVE LIFE KING SIZE

Live well this life here on earth,
For you have received true rebirth.
Live well this life with rhythm and rhyme,
Though it is short or long in time!

Live well as God’s true intended
Without this world having befriended.
Live well because He is truly constant
His gifts He gives freely at every instant.

Live cleanly by resisting the devil
Purifying yourself from every evil.
Live secure for He is your best friend,
Constantly ready to grant your right intent!

Live wisely with your tongue under a bridle,
Don’t let it wag with talk that’s truly idle!
Live content without any bitterness or gall,
Doing good to others outside and within your wall!

Live without weight in your head or heart,
You can’t carry anything when you do depart!
Live simply without any guile or even little greed,
Your heavenly father takes care of your every need!

Live patiently with perseverance your every pain,
We’ve been promised only suffering in this domain.
Live together with others who are of common faith,
Standing together in prayer with who faint or fail.

Live your life well for this is still His turf,
Make it a hymn or a poem overcome every quirk!
Live your life to the nth for this is still His kirk,
He’s gonna see that you are safe until the end!

SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
*Poetic form of Sunday Sermon by Rev Dr.Chadwick Samuel Mohan (@chadwicksamuel)
© NLAG CHURCH, LITTLE MT, CHENNAI, INDIA
*Photo courtesy https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwja0qKD5_LXAhUB3Y8KHbmYBuQQjhwIBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DCNNSrIpdmS4&psig=AOvVaw3lhypq8gdNgggivZlwOG_V&ust=1512561016543420