GROOMED FOR THE WEDDING

When our family conducted our daughter’s wedding, I realised that while Marriages are made in heaven, weddings are done on earth!

The amount of planning and preparation that goes into a wedding, as well as the number of people involved in making it happen, is mind boggling. After  our daughter’s wedding, my husband and I had a chance to go somewhere alone, and boy, did I really need it to recover, both physically and emotionally!

Much effort and work is always needed to pull off a wedding. Apart from finding and fixing a venue, meeting with and arranging caterers, printing and distributing cards, inviting and involving people, purchasing dress and ornaments, ordering return gifts and cake, taking care of hospitality and transport, choosing and ensuring decorations, a thousand and one duties need to be taken care of.

When weddings are scheduled, some have an year to get ready, while others may have just a month or even less to get it done. Whatever the time period available and the trappings arranged for a wedding, the grooming regime of the couple, especially the bride, is given utmost priority. Most women take time to plan and execute the care of their face and appearance, often undergoing beauty treatments, both au natural at home and those done in parlours.

The bride-to-be often goes for a full-body makeover, pampering herself over a month or more. A bridal package these days includes free trial of makeup and hairdo, besides threading, bleaching, waxing, polishing, styling, spas, therapy, etc. Smart brides do take care to go on a diet and exercise routine to have a well-toned and well-nourished body, in readiness for their big day.

Getting a bride ready, fitting her to look her best on a day when she will be the cynosure of all eyes is a huge task and process which the beauty industry has turned it into a lucrative business. Vendors and beauticians have grabbed hold of the trend. They have capitalised on the occasion and cashed in on the focus, making sure that the bride is indeed the showpiece of the whole thing!

In the Bible, we see that when King Xerxes, the ruler of Persia and Media, sovereign over one hundred and twenty provinces, wanted to replace his Queen because she offended him, he was advised by his counselors: Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it (Esther 2:2‭-‬4).

Being a monarch of high order, these young women underwent a time of rigorous preparation and prolonged training since one of them would eventually be the next Queen. According to Scriptures, Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics (Esther 2:12). They were not just prepared physically, but also drilled in deportment, etiquette, manners, protocols, customs, court bearing etc as well as taught the history of the country. They learnt the art of pleasing the king, and endowed with every training to bring joy and pleasure to the king. They had to be flawless in looks, intelligent in conversation, sober in conduct, and impeccable in character. They had to keep themselves fit and ready, not have wandering eyes or attention, focused on him and fixed on only one thing – be ready to please him and serve him when summoned. They were being groomed for one purpose and for one goal only – be acceptable to him. What a picture of all is involved in being and becoming the bride of a king!

There is a wedding in the Bible that comes in the culmination of the ages, an event that the whole of the universe is waiting for with eagerness. In Rev 19:6-8, we read thus: Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people). The key here is that this bride, as any bride, has made herself ready. Without that preparation, she cannot be joined to her groom.

Who is this bride who has made her self ready for her bridegroom? It is the Body of Christ, the people of God, His Church. set apart for Him and as His Church, we are being groomed to be the Bride of Christ. We read that Christ loved the Church and gave His life for to her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault (Eph 5:26‭-‬27 NLT). As disciples and followers of Christ, we have been chosen to be His special people and are being trained to rule with Him, to be seated together with Him on His throne. We are to share in His authority and are the centre of all attention, the cynosure of all eyes and the crux of all His plans (Eph 3:10). Are we aware of the beautifying that we need to have in order to be pleasing to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

There is an agenda for us and we are in the process of being made fit for the King. Are we aware of it and are we yielding to it, cooperating with the Holy Spirit Who is the One appointed and entrusted with the task of grooming the bride?

Any bride will tell you how much pain and discomfort she has to endure in order to be fully fit and in form. There is agony when her skin is being scrubbed and polished to shine and glow; there is torment when her brows are being shaped to highlight her eyes; there is exertion when her body is being toned for the best effect; there is patience when the right makeup is being chosen; there is endurance when appropriate garments are being searched for; there is waiting when various alternations are being made; there is care when matching accessories have to be chosen; there is sacrifice and testing when diet is being administered. Besides all this, there is anxiety and anticipation, fear and frustration, besides sorrow of leaving behind certain way of life and excitement for the new things ahead. All in all it is an arduous time and process, but she goes through it all so as to be the best and see her bridegroom’s eyes light up at the sight of her beauty, binding him to her all their life together. She submits to this ordeal to be pleasing to the one she will walk with until the end of her days.

As the chosen one, the Church is in the course of being prepared to be the Bride of Christ and as such, being daily groomed and vigorously prepared to be like Him in every way. Only when she is in His image, perfect and lacking nothing, can He come to claim her. If a human bride prepares herself so intensely for her earthly husband, how much more the church should prepare for her heavenly bridegroom! If a woman is willing to undergo a regime to best present herself to her man, how much more should the Body of Christ endure to be acceptable to Christ!

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Heb 12:11 NIV) declares the Word of God. Only when we yield and not resist the dealings and discipline of the Spirit of God, without resisting or withstanding Him, but willingly submit ourselves to His dictates can we be transformed into the image of Christ and be pleasing to Him.

The Bible declares that, Esther, the Jewish orphan girl raised by her uncle Mordecai, chosen as one of the candidates for the king, had such a posture in her preparation. When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her...The king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality Esther 2:15-‬18.

The bride of the Lord Jesus the Lamb is the Church, whom He has purchased with his own blood. He is waiting for her to complete her cleansing so that He can and claim her. The attitude and disposition of the church has to be to submit to the fashioning of the Lord, as the clay yields itself to the potter, willingly allowing herself to be moulded into His image and paying the price in patient trust until that is accomplished.

May we, as Christians and members of the Body of Christ, humble ourselves to accept the discipline and discipling of the Lord until He comes to claim us as His own.

May we with grace accept every dealing of the Lord with the understanding that His plans for us are to prosper us and not harm us.

May we proclaim And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified (Rom 8:28‭-‬30 NIV)

Let us allow ourselves to be groomed for the King and the wedding ahead!

*Pic courtesy google images

HORSE TALK

My son-in-law (actually a son than a law) and I often take time to discuss about the ministry and work of God, since both of us happen to operate within the realm of the church. Our repartee would bring insights and growth that enhanced us both. Being at different ends of the age spectrum, as iron sharpens iron, we crystallize and shape one another’s understanding that causes expansion in our thoughts.

In one such recent colloquy, we were analysing the post-covid orientation and state of the church, about members in general and leaders in particular. I was lamenting on the fact that Christian life and witness seemed to be focused on creating a good impression and causing a outward expression. Rather than exerting a life-changing influence that flowed from an inward heart-level transformation, leaders were intent on visibility and projecting of themselves.or their work.

He stopped me short with this pithy statement: It is a matter of knowing what you want to be trained for or what you are training others for. Whether you are grooming or being groomed to be a show horse or a race horse or a war horse. The goal and end determines the training and the achievement of the desired outcome!

Thunderstruck, I followed the ensuing train of thought and came up with an perception of the difference between a wild horse, a race horse, a war horse and a show horse!

Wild horses roam free, unfettered, gamboling around the range, eating what they will, drinking what they want, going where they want and typically live about 15 to 30 years. Wild horses travel many miles a day (usually between 10 and 20), in search of food (grasses, seeds and leafy shrubs) and water, often through rough terrain that wears down their hooves. They use fight or flight defend themselves against predators and other dangers such fires or storms, etc.

For a horse to be wild, all you need to do is to allow it to go scot free, without any disciple or restriction. Just set it loose, offering no direction or forcing it into training, and its own nature will take over to be what it wants to be – an outlaw!

Horses enjoy racing for running and jumping come naturally to them and Race horses are usually considered “hot-blooded” horses, known for their agility, speed, and spirit. Race horses are well-bred and carefully trained animals who are given the highest levels of animal care and welfare. Race horse trainers tend to develop strong bonds with their charges, understanding well their traits and moods since they work many hours a day with them. Horses happily take part in a race in most cases but no racehorse can be made to race if it doesn’t want to, and can plant its feet refusing to move. Racehorses are treasured and prized possessions of their owners, getting utmost care and attention.

If you lasso and corral a horse, wishing to turn it into a race horse, then its diet and schedule will have to be carefully drawn out with care given to its type, age and other physical abilities. Training has to focus on developing muscular strength, stamina, and speed in that order, and must be spread over several weeks,  moving from slow and steady to fast and furious! Great care is taken to tailor the program to suit the age, condition, weakness, etc of the horse and though there are general/common components, each horse is trained deliberately and particularly, making each animal uniquely fashioned and special care is taken to factor in its individuality for getting the best result!

War horse breeds were highly valued animals that carried mounted warriors into battle, bred in medieval or ancient times for the sole purpose of aiding men in war. War horses were a mixture of heavy breeds ideal for carrying armored knights, and lighter breeds for hit and run or fast moving in warfare. They were either heavy animals able to carry a fully armored knight as well as their own armor, or shorter, lighter, and swifter ones, ridden unarmored during sieges and raids.

Whether horses were trained to pull chariots, or ridden as light or heavy cavalry, or to carry the armoured knight, much training was required to overcome the horse’s natural instinct to flee from noise, the smell of blood, and the confusion of combat. They also had to learn to accept any sudden or unusual movements of humans while using a weapon or avoiding one. Horses used in close combat may have been taught, or at least permitted, to kick, strike, and even bite, thus becoming weapons themselves for the warriors they carried. Moreover, a war horse used as a riding animal was also trained to be controlled with limited use of reins, responding primarily to the rider’s legs and weight. The horse thus had to become accustomed to any necessary tack and protective armour placed upon it, learning to balance under a rider who would also be laden with weapons and armour. Developing the balance and agility of the horse was crucial to and in warfare. 

A war horse needs more discipline and attention, a more rigorous and diehard regime to equip it to not only carry the warrior but also itself become a fighting machine. Horses used for chariot warfare were not only trained for combat conditions, but they also had to learn to do teamwork with other animals in close quarters under chaotic conditions, since a chariot would drawn by more than one horse. War horses are also denoted as fight or flight animals since both tactics would come in handy in the battlefield.

Show horses in circuses, on the other hand, perform a variety of equine acts ranging from sensational feats of acrobatics to clever stunts and the execution of the elegant “airs” from classical equitation. There are no specific performing breeds, since ability alone determines the particular horse used and are groomed to be fine performers for they are show-stealerrs and crowd-pullers. In the history of circuses, the excitement of the show and the hard work of the show depended on these horses!

Show horses are trained to behave cooperatively and willingly, taught tricks and skills to attract crowds and seek to develop its own talents. Show horses are performance horses and so, confidence training and trick learning are part of their drill. Boldness is a key ingredient that is inculcated so that they execute their acts with grace and poise as well as appear endearing and appealing.

The accoutrements of a show horse are for attracting attention and therefore quite elaborate and flamboyant in order to capture the eye.

The war horse, on the other hand, is fitted with armor, making it ready for battle and is aimed at protection rather than giving pleasure.

The race horse is minimally equipped with only the basic necessary for riding such as saddle and bridle. As speed is crucial, the lighter the horse, the greater the chance of victory in an even field. Even the jockey chosen is usually of small stature so that no extra weight would burden or slowdown the horse.I

It goes without saying that none of these apply to a wild horse since it rebels against confinement and submitting to tutelage.

All this horse talk just goes to show one thing – that in considering a horse, its purpose and the focus of what it is to be determines whether it is to be trained or not, and the type and direction of its training. The end surely does justify the means!

Apostle Paul acknowledges a Christian, especially a leader, as having to endure hardness as a soldier, undergo rigorous training like an athlete and working hard like a farmer.

In the Scriptures we also come across statements such as: Run in such a way as to win the race; my aim is to finish the race; I wanted to be sure I was not running or had been running my race in vain; And let us run with perseverance the race market out for us; Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize; etc.

We also note admonitions such as: Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air; Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms; For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds; etc.

The thread through the Word of God and the teaching therein motivates and urges the disciples of Christ and God-fearers to be race horses and war horses. Nowhere is there an instruction to be a wild horse or a show horse.

On the contrary, there is a injunction against being unbroken as an unruly horse and not to be showoffs or self-promoting or having an outward form without inward orientation. Indeed, one of the seven churches in the book of Revelation is judged as having a reputation that was not true in reality.

Following through my initial train of thought, I see that it is important to decide whether I am striving to be a race and a war horse, or a show horse, or worse still, a wild horse!

As the people of God and as the Ministers of His work, the Church needs to ensure that it is not breeding or grooming show horses, but committed to raising race horses and war horses.

Wild horse, show horse or race horse, war horse – which will you be?

*Pics courtesy google images, unsplash.com, shutterstock.com and information on horses from Google links

A MAN CALLED JOSEPH

When we think about the birth of Christ or read the story of Christmas, we tend to focus on a number of specific happenings and people.

The angel appearing to a virgin, Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth pregnant in her old age, Joseph silently thinking of putting Mary away, the angel speaking to Joseph, their marriage and trip to Bethlehem, the appearance of a star, the wise men bearing gifts, the shepherds being visited by the angels, flight to Egypt etc. Generally the attention in Christmas plays is whittled down to the birth, the manger, the star, the shepherds and the kings. All these do play a major part in the birth of the Savior, but often one person gets lost in the milieu of events and folks. That person, a very important and crucial person in the life of Jesus, is Joseph, the faithful and unassuming carpenter, who became father to the Son of God when He came in the flesh!

Apart from the Catholic Church conferring sainthood and celebrating a feast each year (Mar 19th) in his honor, the christian world, in general, tends to ignore or sideline Joseph, and forget the part he played in the birth and life of Christ.

The Bible talks about Joseph wanting to quietly divorce Mary when she is found to be pregnant during the engagement period, betrothal being akin to marriage in Israel at that time. Pregnancy indicate infidelity and illicit relationship with another, and so, Joseph decides to put her away quietly rather than make her a public spectacle. However, God sends His angel to make him aware of the virgin conception, urging him to accept her as his wife. Joseph proceeds to do so and refrains from consummating the marriage or having intimate communion with her until after the birth.

Not only so, he adopts the Child as his own, giving Him his name, providing for Him, raising Him as his own and doing good by Him all the days of his life, until his death, which was probably when Jesus was in His teens. He fulfilled the role of a father, teaching Jesus his trade (carpentry) and gave Him the status of being his firstborn, again an important aspect in Israel. He fulfilled all his duties as a father and raised Him to know the scriptures as any Jewish man would, obviously never discriminating Him, and thus we see his townsfolk calling Him son of Joseph.

Neither does he bear any grudge or ill-will against Mary, but treats her as his wife, giving her honor and respect due to that position and role. Herein lies his greatness, his uniqueness, for which we need to admire him and emulate his example, taking lessons from his humility.

Joseph stands as an example and a model of how a man (or anyone) should consider and treat his wife (or spouse/family member) who has a call and an assignment from God. He shows us how to respond in faith, even when you don’t understand what is happening but trusting God and His call as a spouse to a woman with a mission from God.

Here are a few things that we can learn from him. In relation to his spouse’s assignment, he:

1. UNDERSTANDS & ACCEPTS HER CALL Joseph is unique in that he receives the fact that God has spoken to her and not to him, especially in an age and culture when women were considered second class citizens of society and home. Once the angel reveals to him the truth of her condition, he unreservedly moves forward to make her his wife. Many a man today fails to acknowledge or accept the call God has given his wife.or that even understand that his wife is hearing from God. Many a woman fails to be like Mary, ready to be the handmaiden of the Lord, for there aren’t many men who welcome or encourage to.follow the Lord wholeheartedly. They box women within societal constraints and restrict their commitment to the Lord. Women fear to yes to God scared of the price they have to pay for such a commitment.

2. ENDOWS HER WITH THE COVERING & AUTHORITY OF HIS NAME: That Joseph did not ostracize or ill-treat his wife nor treat Jesus in any way other than as a son is obvious from the way the people of the place they lived in mention Jesus as the son of Joseph the carpenter. Such an outstanding character to emulate, to accept her fully as his wife and Jesus as his own flesh and blood. Joseph in effect totally and fully adopts Jesus as his own and considers him the firstborn, conferring the Son of God with the title of Son of Man. Joseph is a true man, husband and father, and an outstanding example to follow and learn from.

3. RECOGNISES HIS CALL WITHIN HERS: Joseph understood that not just Mary, but he himself had been chosen by God for the special task of birthing and raising the Son of God. Many a woman has let go of her assignment from God or been restricted in it because of the lack in her husband. His failure to grasp her role will not only limit her, but will make him also not rise to the occasion, which will cause him not to reach his full potential. He fails to grasp that when his spouse moves forward, he does too. Joseph was unique because he lived in a time and culture where women were considered secondhand citizens, not given freedom or rights the way men were. He lived in period of history when women were not thought of as being equal to men. It is Jesus who brought emancipation and recognition to women, and  well exhibits the nature and demeanor of one who is worthy to be called the father of the Son of God.

4. REFRAINS FROM INSISTING ON HER FULFILLING HIS NEEDS: Joseph is so mindful of his role and call in the birthing of the hope of Israel that he puts aside his needs and sacrifices his pleasures for the fulfillment of the plan of God for the whole nation and the world! Most men may acknowledge the call or task for their wife but will hardly put aside his own needs for the sake of the work that is to be done by their spouse. Rare is the man who would give up satisfying his needs songs to help his wife fulfill hers. Result is that few women truly rise up to their real call in life or even consider obeying the Lord, for they are too tired or don’t even have energy enough to do their role after expending it on their spouse and family! Joseph is such a gem of a man who must have waited atleast a year or so before consummating his marriage. What a legacy and pedigree for the Son of God Who came to give His life as a ransom for His bride the Church and is patiently seated on the right hand of the Father waiting for her to become mature enough to be with Him!

5. SUPPORTS AND HELPS HER FULFILL HER TASK: Joseph plays fully the role of a husband to a pregnant wife, without ever impregnating her, bearing all the duties such a task entitles with no sign of murmuring or grumbling. He is not the cause of the conception yet willingly pays all the price of a man expecting a son, inspite of the fact that the child is not his own. All the idiosyncrasies that a women exhibits during a pregnancy he has to tolerate, besides having to travel a long distance by foot with a full-time wife. Reaching the place, helping her with the birth, then having to flee to an unknown place for saving the child’s life, then returning to setup life in their hometown, raising the child, so much Joseph did to help Mary. No man has ever done so much for a woman with an assignment from God and with no applause for all that he quietly did without any fanfare!

Joseph exemplifies the true nature of a man laying down his life for his spouse and standing with her in her mission for God, sacrificing his own agenda for that of the Lord through his spouse.

Women by nature and practice are veterans in giving up their own dreams and desires for the sake of the call and work of their men. Ministers of God as well as other service-industry personnel, such as those in the medical field, transportation sector, police and defence services, all will bear witness to the fact of the unassuming back end support of their wives. However, when the shoe is on the other leg, not many are like Joseph, willingly being taken for granted and often ignored in his contribution to the work of God.

Blessed are you if you are a Joseph to a Mary and blessed are you if you are a Mary with such a Joseph.

I am blessed with a Joseph and thankful for his calm and content part in my life!

*Pic courtesy https://osjusa.org/st-joseph/art/st-joseph-worker-2/

TURN ME BACK, LORD

Turn me back, Lord, to my first love for you,
Show me where I am prostituting and wandering,
Exchanging your faithful tenderness for fickle infatuation,
Moving away your unfailing constancy to fatal distractions.

Seductions surround me with enticing froth,
Broken and bruised by them I limp along the road of life,
Yet I know not why I am so easily drawn to their burning flame,
Knowing well they singe me quick, lewving me scarred and a black mark.

You woo me with solid substance and everlasting grace,
Anchored on the firm foundations of your eternal nature,
That ever works only for my good, and not to my harm,
Why then do I not make my heart fully yours, and help it be fully yours.

Capture me, Lord, and free me from the shackles that entangle me
Deliver me from self and flesh that choke the life out of me.
Walk me down the narrow road, with my eyes fixed on you,
Let me your love slave be, trusting you to keep me true to you, all my days!

Wrote this after reading and meditating the book of Hosea in the Bible

*Pics courtesy Google images

THE CHANGED FACE OF THE MINISTER OF GOD!

Gone are the days when a man of God would be identified by a trademark cloth bag, white veshti jiba (sarong and kurtha) and Hawaii chappals. Today’s man of God is a tech- savvy, ipod-toting, laptop-wielding and smartly dressed post-modern phenomenon!

In the past, the man of God used to be, at best, a high school graduate and articulate just in his own mother tongue. Today, he is atleast a college undergrad or even a post-grad, fluent in probably two or even three languages not his mother tongue. Most often, this suave creature would be more expressive in English than in his own mother tongue!

Men of God in the past would at the most, be able to play a tambourine or thump a drum with dexterity more than skill and would sing in either a guttural voice or a flat monotone! Today’s urbane individual is able to play atleast a guitar, (many are experts in more than one instrument), sing extremely well and would even be able to harmonize in different parts!

The disparity between these two, the golden oldie and the erudite youth of the day, is so obviously glaring that many Christians are in a dilemma as to whom they should model should accept, follow, and emulate! A whole generation is struggling to understand and come to terms with this change and correlate it with the known past. The fact that the Indian representation of godliness and holiness is the saffron-clad sadhu, who lives apart and in isolation from worldly pursuits, only complicates the issue. So the question uppermost in people’s mind is: With what is true holiness and godliness associated?

To answer this question, one needs to reach back to the scriptures to understand and come to terms with this paradigm change, in the light of another epoch-changing personality – the Lord Jesus Christ. It is significant to note that Jesus was incarnated in the form of sinful flesh, in the form of the very man He created. Why? Simply because that was His target group! 

He first came to His own, the Jews and so “was made like unto His brethren in all things”. He could not have come as an angel, for then He would be apart from and different from them and so would be unable to tell them “take up your cross and follow me”! He was so like those He came to save that a king had to kill all the babies born around that time and a kiss had to be given to identify Him as the one to be tried!

Computing and extending this analogy to the present, it is obvious that to be contextual, the man of God needs to be incarnated or made like to his brethren of the day! The target group of the day is the smart techie, who commutes between countries as easily as if he is commuting between cities! The target audience of the day is so cosmopolitan that bumping across different nationalities has become a commonplace occurrence the result of globalization. In such a scenario, it is not a choice, but a necessity for the man of God to evolve to the present form.

This, however, does not imply that his value system should evolve or even change, for Jesus Christ, our example, showed us the balance between human incarnation and divine absoluteness – to be wholly human and yet satisfy the divine standards of morality, holiness and godliness. Thus, the core or the internal frame of reference of the man of God is still this: Be ye holy even as I am holy. 

However, the peripheral issues can and should change – issues that do not bear on the aspects of his life that must conform to the divine model. This is the continuity versus discontinuity principle – Codes or standards must be a continuum but non-essentials can be, must be and should be discontinued. It is in this whole sphere of paradoxical understanding, viz. what must be continued and what should be discontinued, that  generation gaps occur and divide the old and the new, each stuck in their own time frame.

How does one bridge this gap and draw an understanding between the old and the new? The one bridge that would span these two time lines would be the growth of knowledge and understanding of the times. For example, in the Indian panorama, in the past when a man/ family accepted Christ, they were ostracized by their near and dear, besides being ostracized by the community. As such, they were forced to adopt a very minimal and simplistic way of life, often being denied even the basic amenities of life. 

Take for instance their clothes. For men it would be the ubiquitous jiba made out of a cheap, rough, white material. The local tailor denying them patronage, they were forced to use a garment with just a straight cut and holes for arms and head, ideal indeed for hand stitch! Thus, a practical, pragmatic, down-to-earth simplicity, born of necessity and convenience rather than holiness!

The modern day scenario speaks of shopping centers and malls overflowing with tailored–to-fit clothes, with anything available to anyone and customer service depending only on availability of cash. As such, it is ludicrous to even think of adopting white clothes on the behest of holiness, given the pollution levels and the cost of cleansing white clothes! It is ridiculous to invest in floor-sweeping, pristine white clothes that will need meticulous washing in a city where even daily water is rationed!

The core values in any time frame should relate to simplicity that suits the situation and therefore, investing in a pair of jeans that wears well with time, mixed and matched with a number of shirts would be a better option for someone subjected to the plagues of modern world! Unless called to live like John the Baptist, i.e. to make a statement with his lifestyle, the man of God would have to become a cultural chameleon, changing color with the times, in every way! 

Leaving the core values of simplicity for a sophistication that costs more to sustain is at best both ridiculous and unholy for its waste! What sense does it make to boast of not wearing jewels while wearing a watch with a gold bracelet! How can it be simplicity to wear a pure white silk outfit as against a cheaper colored one! How can it be wrong when one who shepherds literally thousands, uses an air-conditioned, fuel-efficient car that helps him conserve his strength, energy and time? That’s not luxury; its not even common sense; its just smart sense! When what is feasible in one context, becomes a tradition in another that blinds to the truths of simplicity, contextuality and convenience, it is foreign fire on the altar!

Why is then there a reluctance to change or adopt such a changing lifestyle? Just that change is traumatic for anyone and change is fearsome when compounded with culture, politics and ignorance. Culture because here in context of India, the concept of spirituality is related more to the outward and rituals; politics because Indians are highly conscious of social opinion; and ignorance because Indian mentality just accepts tradition better than the rigors of seeking for the truth for oneself.

A man of God needs to plunge himself into the cauldron of humanity, willing to be spoiled outwardly in the process, yet impacting and changing those around him with his inward purity. He is the salt of the earth that disappears into the culture round him yet bringing the taste of true life to a tired and weary world. The need of the hour then is not asceticism in isolation but inward separation and consecration to the Lord. 

Holiness and godliness are, therefore, to be seen not in not being like the people of the world outwardly but inwardly! It is seen in the maturity that weighs everything in the light of scripture and identifies the core principles of simplicity. It is seen in the man of God who learns to filter out the essentials from the non-essentials, who has enough savoir-faire to identify the continuity-discontinuity principle and who is flexible enough to move with the winds of change.

He is like the rock in his principles yet humble as a reed to bend and bow with the storms of changing life.  He is the man who knows he needs to be “all things to all men that somehow a few may be won to Christ”! In short, he is like his Master, who overturned the tables of and on religiosity, a thorn in the flesh of traditions, but who gave His life even for those He offended!

*Pic courtesy shutterstock

CUCKOO IN MY NEST

The cuckoo bird is a species that is best known for brood parasitism – the female visits the nests of smaller birds, selects eggs that match hers in colour, then replaces the eggs of the host with those of her own, laying four or five eggs at 48 hour intervals everyone in a different  nest. The techniques used for the survival by the young cuckoo are: egg mimicry (where the cuckoo egg resembles that of the host to reduce rejection by the host); removal of one or more host eggs by the adult cuckoo (to reduce both the competition from host nestlings and the danger of recognition by the host that an egg has been added to the nest) and nest-mate ejection (in which young cuckoo heaves from the nest the host’s eggs and nestlings). The young cuckoo, being bigger than its nest mates, displaces them from the nest and becomes the sole recipient of its foster parents care. 

Astounds one, doesn’t it, to realize that a bird could be as intelligent as that; or did God create them as a warning and an example to humans to guard their nest? May be so, for in life also there are many cuckoos that we need to be aware of and beware of! 

My husband works as a HR officer in a well-known firm and is in charge of dealing with employee grievances and benefits. One of his duties is to settle the affairs of an employee who dies in harness i.e. see that the pension & other benefits reach the family members. At the juniormost worker level, most often he would be faced with two women presenting themselves to be the wife of the deceased, each vociferously demanding to be the sole recipient of the benefits! 

Why? Unknown to many, the employee would have had another marriage, and thereby another wife secreted away. Ninety percent of the time, the second wife would have all the legal documents needed to prove her claims. The real wife or the legal wife would be the one who would not have the right files and documents to prove her position. Reason being that she would trust her husband fully and blindly to provide for her, to do everything right by her and believe him as belonging solely to her, never ever dreaming that he has been cheating her on the side. 

The second one would be the smart one, making demands and ensuring that she had the right backups, fully aware that one day she would probably have to fight for her claims to his property and a portion in his inheritance, both for herself and any children she would have borne. The office would have no other go except to consider both parties, mediating and dividing the benefits between the two, since legally, the second one has the right documents to prove and assert her wifehood. A classic example of a cuckoo usurping the host from the nest!

A cuckoo could be person/persons who worm their way into the family or between husband and wife, making themselves of more importance than the husband/wife/family. It could be a job that swallows up your time; it could be money or possessions that become more important than the people in the family; it could even be a position or a reputation that could have more value than a family member or a spouse. Anything can become a cuckoo if that thing becomes of prime importance and takes the place of people especially of the family.

A woman, viz a daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, needs to be always watchful, careful and smart not to allow any cuckoo to usurp the home. This does not mean she needs to be doubtful or doubting her parents, husband, children etc but she needs to be on high alert for signs of danger. The Bible tells us to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves– it never tells us to be naïve or foolish or gullible. 

A clue as to how to be wise to prevent cuckoos in your nest is found in proverbs 31 – one aspect of a wife of noble character is that she “watches over the affairs of her household and doesn’t eat the bread of idleness” (TNIV). Another translation says: “She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive”. 

The key to guarding your home, your family and your affairs from being invaded by a cuckoo is to be alert and watch over or keep an eye over everyone in your house. At no time can a woman afford to be selfish, self-centred or self-seeking if she wants to be a wise woman and build her home. At no time can you be idle nor can you allow your family to be so! Woman, you are the backbone of the house, the watchman of the family; you must be alert 24/7, irrespective of how young or how old you are! You may ask, why me; because God made you to be so and that’s His role choice for you!

As a young girl or daughter, you must be vigilant to see that your heart is guarded from developing inordinate affection for anyone outside your family, especially of the opposite sex. Women have a weakness to trust anyone who shows them a little affection; teenagers especially need to be careful when you feel that someone outside your family understands you better than your own kith and kin. It’s a dangerous age when you feel you first enemies are your household members and thereby become an easy prey to sharks on the prowl for victims. It is at such times that you could become entangled in drugs, sex and prostitution because you have become entangled in a web of deceit. The best way to guard yourself, teenagers, is to love, respect your family and keep them informed of all your things. They are your safety net; if your family also cannot be trusted, find a trustworthy older woman in church to oversee you. A cardinal rule: NEVER CONFIDE IN SOMEONE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX!

As a wife, be alert to the needs, moods and upheavals in your husband’s life. Watch over his health, his dreams and aspirations, his growth and take care to be there for him. Learn to be his best friend, the one he turns to when he is upset; do not push him away with your nagging or your quarrels. I still remember a time when I was very puzzled by my husband’s behaviour every morning, just before he would leave for work. Normally an equable person, (a contrast to me!), he would become visibly agitated and tense and quarrelsome every morning. At a loss to this change in him, I took time, late one night, to slowly draw him out to talk and found the reason for his irritability: One of the secretaries in the office, who was assigned to him to type out all the official documents related to his portion of the work, had talked him and other officers to allow her to leave early, as she was pregnant. Being sympathetic of her condition and being considerate of her, they would also see to it that they would all finish their work so that she would be able to type everything out and go home early!

This put a strain on all of them, especially my husband who would cut short his lunch hour to hurry and finish his work. This lack of rest and the hurry burry of having to finish early made him lose his health and thus his irritation. When I knew this, I was rightly indignant and pointed out that for a woman, pregnancy is part of her life and not a disease. It is to be taken in the stride of life and doesn’t need excessive mollycoddling. Sure if she was sick, it was okay to accommodate her for a day or so; but to do so for all her term was not acceptable. She was sponging off on the goodness of the men of the office and had become a cuckoo in our relationship with one another – he was more concerned of hurting her rather than of hurting me! I put my foot down and insisted that he become reconciled to the fact that it is expected of her to remain until closing time – she is paid for it! Thereafter his irritation vanished and everything was right with us! Just a case of being alert to a cuckoo situation!

Remember prevention is better than cure and that it’s better to be careful than to weep later. Many a wife has lost her husband to unscrupulous women and other relationships because she was not aware of nor noticed the changes in her husband. It need not be a woman who may lead a husband astray – a wrong friendship can entangle him in unnecessary financial deals, debts etc.

It goes without saying that a mother has to have eyes all around to watch over her kids – two will not suffice! At every stage in life a mother must be aware of the needs and the silent or unspoken aches of her children, especially in their teenage years. Mother, beware if your teenager or collegegoer talks secretively on the phone, or walks out of the room to speak on the mobile. Be careful if they chose isolation over being part of the family, if they seem dreamy and in a world of their own – it means there is something in the offing. Do not get excited or excessively emotional and tear them apart but just be on the lookout. Go often to their school, college to look to their growth, attend every parent teacher meeting, get involved with their activities, invite their friends over and be a friend to them. You must be the one to teach your child the intricacies of life; be so open that they share their intimate things with you. They should be able to learn from you and not others – in short be their friend and defender.

As a grandmother give love to grandchildren and do not try to be their mother. Never put down their parents before them, but back their parents up when they discipline their children. Be the one your grandkids love to run to when they feel their parents do not understand them; pet them and teach them, especially godly things. I still remember my grandparents for the stories they used to tell and snacks they would surreptitiously give me which my parents would not! 

Not only does a woman need to be alert and keep an eye on her household, she needs to keep a watchful eye over herself too! In this age where women work outside the home, we must be extra careful not to get emotionally entangled with anyone. Do not allow the thought or feeling that a particular person in your office understands you more than your husband/parents/family. When you compare another person to your husband, you will feel the other person is better for all your husband’s weaknesses are exposed to you. You have seen the other person only in the office and do not know him intimately and so feel he is better. GUARD YOUR HEART and keep everyone at one arm distance from your heart. No other person should know your heart except your husband; you are a closed book to everyone else. Never share your heart’s secrets with other men; with women it’s okay but be judicious to prevent gossip!

Even in ministry, be careful not to be close to other men in the ministry. Your prayer partner should be somebody of the same sex and never move closely with anyone, even a pastor! A pastor is also human and so be careful not to imply anything that you don’t want to. Many a minister’s ministry has been shattered because of close counselling of a woman parishioner that led to stepping beyond limits. For counsel, always seek women leaders, elders and pastors or a pastoral couple. Many a woman minister has compared her husband to another minister or co-worker in the ministry with disastrous results. Not only will you hurt yourself and your family, but you will drag God’s name into the mud.

Woman, do not be a cuckoo nor allow a cuckoo to usurp your nest. Be sober, be watchful and be a blessing!

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com

WOMEN, FIGHT TO BE UNIQUE; NOT TO IMITATE!

One of the aspects of women liberation and emancipation seems to be to show that women are like men. In the name of freedom, women are focusing on imitating men rather than on recovering their uniqueness and specialness.

To be human is to be set apart and different from all other forms of life, for human beings have been created as the highest order of life, second only to God. For a human being to imitate an animal to be a vegetable is both unthinkable and ludicrous. We can masquerade as one which is ok for fun or even a play, but to imitate or strive to be one is ridiculous

For a woman to fight to be like a man or to imitate one in order to establish equality or even supremacy borders on lunacy. Being a woman is being different, set apart as being a dissimilar species, acknowledging and avowing with divergence rather than with congruity. A woman is unique and distinctive, just as a man is in his own way, each able to contribute uniquely. Each is special and individual, and therefore, impossible to imitate or copy.

A forgery of an invaluable artwork or an exquisite ornament is undesirable when it is possible to have or possess the original. An imitation has not the honor or respect as the authentic and genuine. A replica does not carry the validity of the bonafide and true. An imitation is just that – a counterfeit – not the same as the real.

Why is it then as singular beings, the best of the best, we seek to be a copy when we already truly are special since we are unalike! The stimulating and invigorating aspect of this earth is its variety and variability. As human beings, man and woman are both distinct and distinguished. To imitate one another is to lose identity and identification. Together they make a wholesome one, unparalleled in complementarity as well as in complexity. To make one as another will cause uniformity because of conformity rather than solidarity through integration.

As women, we do need to claim and demand what is ours by right – equal consideration, equal parity, equal acceptance, equal honor, equal treatment etc. However, we do not need to surrender our uniqueness to gain all of this. It will take away our contrast and make us common.

I, for one, won’t bow down to that pressure, but forever to be who I was created to be – special, quirky and individual!

The women of past who rose up against injustice accorded to their own, from Alice Paul and Maud Wood Park to Malala Yousafazi and Kamla Bhasin, all did without comprising their feminity. To champion the cause of women and women’s rights doesn’t mean we have become masculine or like men.

We need to stand for who we are and what ought to be ours!

To have to be like a man in order to gain for a woman is antiprogressive and antipersonnel.

To surender in order to win is anticlimactic.

Women, on Women’s Day, celebrate your originality and strive to be unique while seeking to be equal!

Women, to understand and tap into the real power of a woman, read http://sabinatagoreimmanuel.com/2021/01/10/letter-to-a-leader/

*Pics courtesy in splash.com, shutterstock and google images

*This article had been published in https://ctrendsmag.com/in-question/should-women-imitate-men/

MEN AT REST

When we travel by road and cross places where repair work is being done, we normally see the sign “CAUTION. MEN AT WORK”, but we never come across a sign that says “TAKE CARE. MEN AT REST”. Probably the only place we can expect to see something similar is at a cemetery, as an epitaph!

In the fast-paced activity-prone, post-modern world of today, rest is probably the most neglected and sidelined aspect of life. The word rest is often confused with vacation, which is time allotted by an employer for an employee to not be present at work.

Vacation is defined as taking a break from regular work or routine to relax. The concept of sabbatical leave, popular in the corporate world, is different from vacation and has come to mean a time period in which a person does not report to regular work. It is being given a chance to step back from regular routine to focus on personal enrichment and professional development.

Since the fall, rather than drawing security from a relationship with God, men’s self-esteem has become tied to their jobs and their achievements in the workplace. Retirement blues are real for men as they find it hard to live a life disassociated from work. They are prone to ill health and sudden heart attacks that often prove to be fatal.

Work is from God, but being addicted to work and receiving affirmation from the performing of it is detrimental in all respects. Work and rest were meant to be a rhythm of life rather than each of them being an obsession or as a means to self-worth!

Two pictures from the Bible come to mind when considering the aspect of rest for men – Christ asleep in the bottom of the boat and Jonah asleep in the bottom of the ship!

In both instances, a storm is blowing and the vessels in danger of sinking. Both men were resting in apparent oblivion, unaware of the mayhem surrounding them. Both were conscious and confident of God’s care and protection over their lives, yet not in the same way or manner.

One was resting in the calm confidence of doing God’s will and the perfect stillness of being in the core of His purposes. The other was resting in the stupor of knowing that he was out of His will and slept on in the uncaring indifference that continued disobedience brings.

When woken up, one rises up to take complete control of the situation, while the other finds the answer in passive acquiescence of guilt. One commands the winds and the waves into obedience, while the other quells the raging squall and seas through self-immolation! One would even die in obedience to the purposes of God, while the other would rather die than obey God!

Both brought deliverance and praise to God, but the manner in which they did it says much about how a man can find and be in true rest in contrast to pseudo-rest that disobedience brings!

Jonah’s stubbornness in not yielding to God and Christ’s willingness to submit to Him perfectly portrays the struggle in attaining rest by a man!

Christ shows the way to true rest and restfulness, both as God and man. While on earth He was never anxious, flustered or worried, so much so He could say ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Now, as God and seated on the right hand of the Father, He is waiting patiently for His enemies to become His footstool. Jesus is the perfect example and perfect episode of rest!

The Apostle Paul was also one who walked in this true rest even in the midst of a dangerous storm or when placed in a dungeon. He could encourage his fellow passengers to not despair and sing along with Silas when in a dark place. Daniel and Joseph demonstrate this same rest, even when accused wrongly and thrown into prison.

Scripture declares You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isa 26:3 NIV).

May you our men, fathers, brothers, sons, grandsons as well as mentors and mentees, dwell in the shelter of the Most High so as to find rest in the shadow of the Almighty!

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