REST IN REAL ESTATE

In the Bible, there is a very telling verse that needs consideration and quotation in these times:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl 3:1). King Solomon the Wise writes this at the fag end of his life, as part of his summation of the affairs of men and Heaven’s impact on it.

We live in very unstable times, seasons in which we haven’t a clue as to what will happen next or what disaster will strike. Life that used to be so predictable has changed to being uncertain and so the plans we make must be tentative only and contingent upon day by day events. 

When we look at and consider both these aspects, viz. the instruction in Ecclesiastes and the times we are living in, we need to one thing – cultivate and live in an attitude of rest. If we don’t, we will sink and be submerged, lost and floundering in this world of uncertainty and randomness.

This brings us to the question of how to cultivate such an attitude of rest and what does rest really mean.

Rest is not just sleeping or sitting back – important for physical well-being; or taking a vacation – necessary for family bonding; or holiday – pertinent to prevent burnout in work. True rest goes beyond all of these which are imperative to physical well-being, and is crucial to enjoying abundant life in Christ.

Real rest is to be the way Christ lived while on earth, so much so, even faced with the most dire and dreadful circumstance in his short life – the crucifixion and the events preceding it – he never lost his poise . Though he knew he would be undergoing the most terrible torture, worst ill-treatment, greatest misunderstanding, and horrible rejection by His own people, He could still say: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Jn 14:27 NIV. Such equanimity and magnanimity in the face of adversity, what wouldn’t we give for such calm functionality!

How was Jesus, man though he was, able to exhibit such supermanhood? It was not because he was divine by origin and birth, but by his understanding, as a man, of his standing with God and his grasp of what he came to do as man, both His calling and his work.

Jesus lived in perfect comprehension of God as His Father  and in perfect awareness of God as His Master. 

  • As a son, he knew he lacked nothing and therefore, lived in perfect confidence of being provided for by his father God.
  • When in need of food, he looked to his father to multiply what he had and supply the need (feeding of the multitude in Matt 14).
  • When in danger, he slept in perfect peace, rising up to rebuke the winds and waves with perfect composure of being his Father’s son (Luke 8).
  • When he saw others struggling, he walked on water and enabled another to do the same (Mark 6), because he knew Whose child he was.
  • When threatened, he simply refused to give way to fear, knowing his time was determined by his Father God, not by men (Jn 8).
  • When his time did come, he knew no hesitation to do His will, for he knew his Father’s agenda (Jn 13). 
  • As the servant of a great Master, he knew he owned nothing, yet was His steward to do what He bid. 
  • He was accountable for all that He did and conscious of what was expected of him.
  • He willingly went about doing everything to please his Lord, with no personal agenda except to bring glory to His Name.
  • He looked to his Lord in everything and walked in total dependence on His leading, never moving out on his own or doing things on by himself.
  • He constantly demonstrated that he do the will of Him who sent him (Jn 6) and did not seek his own glory, only the glory of Him Who sent him.
  • He lived in submission, unwilling to do anything by himself, but only what he saw Him do (Jn 5).
  • He walked in total obedience to his Lord, humbling himself to the uttermost, even to death on the cross, though it was hard for him (Lk 22).
  • It was because of his perfect stewardship that His Master was able to entrust Him with great power, even to rebuke the elements of the air and endow him with enormous authority even over demons.

These two inward postures and related outward actions enabled him to walk and live in perfect rest and peace.

He had such quietness of spirit that he could offer his rest to others (Jn 14:27). He was never anxious or hasty or fearful or disturbed, and therefore, could give a call to be free from burdens and loads (Matt 11:23). He gave a simple solution to those who were struggling with stress –  take my yoke upon you, meaning, just accept my way of thought and adopt my way of life, to enjoy a relaxed and abundant existence

Jesus lived His life as man on earth demonstrating what it means to be true man and how to live as man in relationship with God. He exemplified how a person can and ought to live on earth with an understanding of their position as a child of God and as the servant of the Most High. The situation around was full of unrest and the times he lived were full of uncertainty. Yet, he lived and worked in the knowledge of Who was with him.

He was both son and servant at the same time, both positions kept in tandem composition not in opposition or competition of being!

Called to follow and imitate him, may we learn to walk over the waters of life and not be submerged by nor drowning in them!

Peace be upon us all!

Continue to read my article on another aspect of rest: https://mullingspicewordpresscom.wordpress.com/2021/07/05/women-at-rest/

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com

THE EFFICACY OF TALES & TALK IN COMMUNITY COMMUNICATION

Within a span of 6 months, I had the chance to attend a wedding and a funeral in a rural setting. Two occasions that seem the opposite of one another helped me understand the nuances and importance of such events in the life of a community.

There were certain similarities and differences between the two. Both instances saw a gathering of people (family, friends and family of families the church etc), sharing of food and fellowship, exchange of gifts and presents, besides a time of worship and word.

What was different between both was that, one looked to be a joyous and positive event, while the other a sorrowful and piteous one. One saw an addition to the family, while the other saw the loss of a beloved one. One brought a fullness, expanding the family circle, while the other left a void, shrinking the family. One extended the boundaries and bonds of relationship, while the other narrowed down the reach and extent of influence.

What is astonishing was a factor common to both – the amount of gossip, criticism, bias, judgement and analysis that was generated and articulated in each. Almost everyone, one or another, pointed out what was lacking or amiss in each event and circumstance. Not many were to say what had been done right!

Such exercise is a special feature and unique culture that is part of the social fabric of India, evident more in villages than elsewhere. People in rural areas are given to free speech, often commenting on others affairs, with no qualms whatsoever about articulating their opinions. It is almost as if they have a birthright to do so, a special nature of a citizen of India, more so its womenfolk. This is both a bane and a boon, often to be endured or tolerated, sometimes enjoyed!

Such action is really not a negative indulgence, but an action born of a sense of responsibility towards one another in the community. It is an inborn quality and inherent trait woven into the very fabric of small communities where everyone knows everyone. It is unavoidable and not something one can get rid off from people who move closely with one another. In the city, we hardly care beyond our own and even that is sometimes lacking. So, what is truly a societal process appears to be unwarranted and unnecessary interference!

Small communities, that too rural ones, exist and survive through a pattern of relationships and associations. These are upheld by habits of interchange and primary of these is speech or conversation. Often held while working together in the fields or drawing water from the common source, such talk could border on gossip or tattle. To refrain from talking or discussing about others is a mark of disinterest and detachment, something that will actually exclude and isolate you from the community.

It is true that often such talk could border on jealousy or malice or bitterness etc, but most often it is the thread that binds folks together. It even serves as a sort or mode of entertainment and enlivening activity in areas where there is nothing to do beyond work and sleep!

It is moreover an important form of communication in such towns and villages where people don’t live in clustered and cloistered as in the city. News of good and bad travel fast, covering distances and bridging gaps, a necessity where social media as well as internet does not exist or is patchy. It is the equivalent of the thandora or drum beat or the old time proclamation that existed in ancient times as the method of passing messages to all in the countryside. Also, such bonding is a need in village life where mutual dependence is a given and a must.

In the city, where things can get done without a community process, we do tend to live such isolated and individual lives, because we feel we don’t need each other. Each of us is bent on our own progress, most often at the cost of another. Many do not have any qualms or even a conscience that they are swindling another, often considering it their right to live off another. We live in the city, close to one another in space, but far from each other in reality. Even an death or disease doesn’t move us to reach out to others, but causes us only to draw the walls around us tighter. That is indeed the characteristic of urban areas and sometimes it is rightly so, since often survival and growth depend on such quiet consolidation and separate lives.

Communities thrive and flourish through communication, different though they are in city and diverse in villages.

I believe that churches and leaders should consider and not reject this aspect, but realise its redemptive potential. We need to tap into this skill and transform it into gospel proclamation instead of decrying it.

That’s what Jesus did with the woman at the well at Samaria.

Let’s flow suit and impact communities using ways and means relevant to them, speaking their own language in their own dialect of community talk!

Let’s lead them to gossip about the gospel!

*Read my blog https://mullingspicewordpresscom.wordpress.com/2021/11/01/interactive-existence/ to continue on

*Pics courtesy Google pics

PANDEMIC PROGNOSIS

Last Sunday we were challenged in church to look back at how we have used this period of pandemic – whether we had used it wisely or squandered it foolishly.

True wisdom lies in being able to recognize the times and seasons we live in, then adapt to it accordingly. An unprecedented worldwide phenomenon such as covid, be it man-made or natural, incidental or accidental, induced or spontaneous, can and should alter our lives. Nothing comes even close to this universal event, except maybe the world wars of last century, which most of us in this century have no idea about.

Such a massive happening will and should produce an realigning, but whether that change is for the good and better or bad and worse, is our choice.

A checklist to see what alteration and adaptation pandemic lockdown should have birthed in us/our lives:

1. In the light of so many deaths, have I/we become more considerate and compassionate of others? Pandemic should have taught us the value of human lives and how quickly people can pass out of our lives, without even a warning. If I haven’t learnt to treat others better, then I have wasted this season.

2. In the wake of so many losses the world as a whole incurred, have I/we learnt what is of value and what is not? Everything became meaningless and pointless when one was isolated and alone in a hospital bed or room. The greatest commodity, if we may term it so, the most valuable of all things, is human life. Living things, especially humans, are the most indispensable and fundamental part of this world. Once lost, their absence will produce irrevocable and irrecoverable impacts and effects.

3. In the aftermath of the disease, have I/we learnt the efficacy and importance of building community consciousness? It was those who had built a network of associations who survived and sustained as the illness raged, felling all equally. Rich or poor, educated or illiterate, upper class or low class, single or married, young or old, whatever the estate, we all were susceptible to the onslaught of the infirmity. Relationships and friendships became key to maintaining sanity and humanity. To know someone cares was enough to stem the despair that flooded us when we were sick.

4. In the affect of such sweeping malady, have I/we learnt to value time? We have seen that money, possessions, lands and gold cannot compensate for time lost, especially occasions lost in spending with loved ones. Time is one thing that cannot be recovered or restored, and so, I hope we have all learnt to conserve time and to use it well, for the right and appropriate things.

5. In the wake of so many lost lives, have I/we priortised spending time with loved ones? Bible declares that the life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more, Psa 103:16 NIV. The truth of this statement was demonstrated and made evident in these 2 years. After seeing people pass away in an a moment, we need to seek and make time with loved ones. Just as lost time cannot be recovered, lost souls cannot be recovered nor lost opportunities to be with those we love, regained. Let’s not go back to our old trends but form new ones that focus on people.

6. In the recovery period of the malady, have I/We understood the importance of physical and in-person interactive exchange? Meeting in person and face to face cannot be replaced by virtual connect or face time or skype/zoom calls. Nothing can ever replace the exchange that takes place physically, for such an exchange uplifts us unconsciously in physical meeting. Let’s not become so used to isolation that we lose out on physical interaction.

7. In view of an infirmity of this magnitude, have I/We developed a new lifestyle, one that focuses on healthy living? The old adage that when health is lost something is lost has been sufficiently proved and I think we would be foolish not to take stock of our health. We need to reassess and set in place healthy habits and appropriate dietary practices so that we build bodily stamina as well as mental resistance. Emotional and mental stability depend so much physical well-being and hence, let us develop healthy bodies for fit minds.

8. Last but not least, have I/We learnt to put our trust in God and given time for prayer and meditation? If this pandemic has proved one thing, it is that man cannot control many things in life. When everything failed, it was only the faith in a Supreme Being, Whose power surpassed us, that kept us going. It gave us hope that things will turn around and helped us to hold on, inspite of massive despair. As the song goes, There can be miracles When you believe. Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill. Who knows what miracles you can achieve? When you believe, somehow you will. You will when you believe. If we have failed in this, we will fail in all else!

It is imperative and important to do a pandemic prognosis so that we can correct what we need to when we can.

Covid was just a warning shot across our bows to take stock.

Have we heeded the warning and set in place the right life choices and ways?

Has pandemic shocked us to our senses?

*Pic courtesy Google images

INTERACTIVE COEXISTENCE

Since 2016, I have been a regular blogger and have progressed to be a writer, something I dreamed of for years. Even during much of pandemic season, I was able to produce a steady stream of articles and projects, even though there were constraints on time. I need quietness and peacefulness to be able to think and articulate on paper or an app page. Though there was a crunch on this type of environment as the whole family was at home, I was still able to do meaningful work.

Of late I noticed that my writing has been tapering off and anyone going through my website would notice that I had posted only 3 articles in 4 months, with none in August, when my average was 1 per week. On the other hand, within the first week of November I have been able to pen and post 2 artefacts! The reason for this change was brought home to me through this Sunday’s sermon on being specially relevant, not just spiritually resurrected!

I generally watch the ebb and flow of life around me, saturate and soak myself in the various events I encounter, weigh the pros and cons of what I read or see and analyze and evaluate all of these inputs. My writing stems from this process of thinking through and drawing wisdom from everything, both positive and negative episodes.

I am a watcher of people, happenings, disturbances and a researcher of life as I experience it. Everything has become a learning process, the good, the bad and the ugly, helping me self-actualize. I receive and assimilate all as data inputs, which in turn become points and pointers for my writing, even the negatives that I meet.

I perceived that the reason my writing had tapered off and even died down for a month was because of a lack of interaction with the real world, being limited by covid to communing and communicating mostly through virtual media and medium. Social interaction had become a minimum, confined to calls (mobile, zoom or social websites), with very little in-person or face-to-face meetings. With no real input, my wellspring of writing had dried up and it was no surprise I had almost stopped writing. No real or factual inspiration!

All living beings have been created for interactive existence and thrive only with real time and space exchange. Nature is programmed to function in a give-and-take interplay regime, and would become atrophied or extinct without interactivity. Flora and fauna need daily, weekly, monthly, yearly as well as seasonal doses of sunlight, moonlight, rainfall, mist, heat and cold, as well as intermittent purges by fire or water to flourish. Pollination by insects and birds, grazing by herbivores, hunting by carnivores, trampling by omnivores, tidal cycles etc are necessary patterns of ecology and economy for the earth to thrive. Deny any of these and the earth would continue to spin on, albeit emptily, for such is the mutual complexity of lifestyle brought into play and upheld by the Creator!

Humans are no less an integral and important part of the life cycle on this earth, with added blessing of human relationships flavoring and enhancing human being. Without physical meeting together or talking face to face in person or community gatherings, the human race would become robotic and mechanical.

Nothing comforts a bereaved person better than a silent hug, for words do fail or become redundant at such times. No sick person ever lost the need for a loved one’s visit in lieu of some fruits or flowers. No celebration is complete without kith and kin as well as others being present. Physical presence and touch is of great important to all of life, not just children or pets.

The beauty of our world is this symbiotic dependence and corporeal exchange that stimulates and promotes growth as well as fruitfulness.

When pandemic began, we were hard put to stay indoors and be confined to the home.

When pandemic is fading away, we are facing a reluctance to step out to have society and social synergy.

We were made for company and companionship.

Nothing gladdens the heart or enlivens the scene than to see a group children shouting in gleeful play, or to hear the sounds of music and dance at a festival, or witness the chatter and catching up in a marriage, or watch a group of friends slap each other’s back with joyful camaraderie or egg on a group of athletes or a team of players.

Nothing stirs up faith as corporate worship and consentient prayer.

This world was made for community and combined influence.

Interaction soothes and smoothens our existence and our life.

Don’t isolate yourself and die for lack of connect.

Don’t opt for just connectivity and lose out on communion.

Want to know the impact of interaction on me? Two articles in a day!

So, resist the urge for seclusion and come out into the light to thrive. You will be blessed!

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me. (Song of Songs 2:11‭-‬13, The Bible)

*Read my blog on http://sabinatagoreimmanuel.com/2020/10/03/statelessness-in-the-church/ to know more

*Pic courtesy: https://unsplash.com/photos/cD1ROcn6OP8?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink