Why Ram rocks.

Why Ram rocks.

This is a great moment for Indian democracy. The Rafale documents that were published by The Hindu are now admissible as evidence in court in the case on the Rafale deal. This will re-open the case for further examination by the Supreme Court in the light of the evidence that emerged. Adv. Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha ( two former BJP Union ministers) filed the review petition when the evidence of questionable ways of handling the deal emerged in public view.

The government threatened to try N. Ram, the current chairman of the Hindu Publishing Group and former Chief Editor of The Hindu newspaper, for treason, wanting to slap the Official Secrets Act, citing that the details of the evidence were matters of national security and that the documents were stolen from the Defence Ministry ( seriously? And we’re sending fighter jets across the border while we can’t keep a few papers safe in the Defence Ministry office!). They threatened his life and career.

The seasoned journalist of international repute who has been at the helm of one of the last newspapers in India to have a solid foundation of journalistic values, refused to budge. He said he stood by what he published saying that the Indian public had a right to know. The central government tried every tactic in the book and out of the book to crucify him. No avail. He stood.

He stood for the rights of the people, the right to free speech, the freedom of the press and the courage of journalism to stand for the people despite grave threats from high places. He stood his ground.

N. Ram and The Hindu newspaper, is a model not only for journalists but also for every citizen of India. As an Indian, I applaud the courage and determination that N. Ram and The Hindu displayed so that justice would be served for the people of the nation. Justice is at the core of the Kingdom of God envisioned in the Bible. The rights of the widow, the foreigner, the fatherless/orphan is enshrined in the scriptures of Judeo-Christian spirituality. It means taking a stand, even in the face of death, for the ‘other’, the marginalised, the community that suffers. The Kingdom of God transcends geographies, ethnicities, linguistic differences and is carried around in the heart of its members who strive to transform the society and make it a just community, based on love. This love is the ability to find my brother/sister in the face of my fellow beings no matter how different they are.

The Supreme Court decision reinforces our faith in the institutions of democracy and the rock-solid Constitution of India. Kudos to Bhushan, Shourie and Sinha.

N. Ram with his bold stand, inspires the citizens of the Republic of India and urges to work towards shaping of a just society by standing upto the forces of misused power and the ideologies of hatred. N. Ram rocks!

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The void bubble

She lay on the bed with her head half turned towards me and said, “I didn’t realise how much I love him, until he left today. ”

Our son, left to my parents’ place for VBS and a short vacation, accompanied by my Mom. It left a void in us that made a statement in silence.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

The silence and song of Christmas.

Christmas begins with silence:

The silence of a priest who stood at the Holy of holies, inside the Jerusalem Temple. A silence of stunned disbelief by the majestic appearance of a heavenly being who said, that he would have a child in his old age. A silence which emerged while hearing that his son would be a fore-runner to the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

It was a silence pregnant with the joy of a proclamation that was about to burst forth into the darkness of this world.

The silence gives away to a song.

The first song of the New Testament was sung at the house of the silent man: A song that arose when the sound of a spirit- filled greeting made a babe leap in the womb of it’s mother. It is the song of a soul that magnified the Lord and gave him praise because he was mindful of his creation.

The first song of Christmas gives birth to yet another song – the song of the silent man who broke the chains of silence and said, “His name is John.”

Now Christmas is turning into a musical, with the Saviour yet to be born and the atmosphere soaked in song. The second song of Christmas proclaimed of the tender mercy of God which sent the rising sun of heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide their feet to the path of peace.

The silence and songs, leading the procession of time, takes us to that day when the Saviour was born. For a moment, like the climax of a film, time goes silent. The sound of an ever-growing silence becomes deafening as a pregnant woman and her righteous husband are unable to find a room in his own ancestral town to give birth. We can almost hear their heart beat. As tension, compounded by silence, fills the air, she gives birth, which breaks forth the cry of an Almighty God and Saviour, sung in the voice of a human baby. The sweet sound of life breaks the silence. The sweet sound lacks rhyme and rhythm, instead, gives rise to a new song that announces good news to the world.

That song was sung by the angels, in all their majesty, proclaiming Gloria in excelsis to a group of shepherds who sat out in the cold, watching over the flocks at night. It was a musical invitation to go to Bethlehem, to see the saviour, who had come to put a new song on our lips, a song of redemption, a song of hope, a song of salvation for all creation.

Christmas is a large-hearted God’s love song to an unfaithful humanity. It is a song that first caressed the lips of God, and fell down to the earth like ripe fruit that could no longer stay on the branch, as the cry of the earth, posing as gravity, drew it down.

Christmas is the movement from silence to song. It is a journey from the silence of disbelief to the song of salvation. The road from silence to song is filled with cries of suffering, pain and wickedness. But the birth of the saviour gives us a song, like the 23rd Psalm that encourages us to walk through the deepest darkness, knowing that Immanuel, the God who became man, is with us.

So sing with us dear brothers and sisters, Sing Ye Unto the Lord, for the Messiah, the one who came to save, is here with us.

A personal prayer at the end of this year

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Dear Lord,
As this year comes to an end, I stand before you with gratitude for the ways in which you have led me this year.
My heart weighs with dashed hopes and unfinished business that I could not offer you with perfection. Our offerings are not only imperfect but also incomplete.

Continue reading “A personal prayer at the end of this year”

The pain and gain of loss

 

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:7-9

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Photo by Hugo Jehanne on Unsplash

I write this with a lot of pain and anxiety that teems inside me when I study these words of Paul.

Pain of loss

Considering or counting one’s gains as a loss – isn’t that painful? We run after gains all our lives. Better deals at supermarkets. Involve in activities that benefit us. We diet to reduce weight. We look forward to the holidays. We delight at a pay raise. We love the things that come free. Gain is everywhere. No pain, no gain, says the old adage, positing gain as something worth taking pains for. If gain takes the pain, what does loss incur?

Gain of loss

Paul is on a different bus. He says when it comes to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ, he considers all gains a loss.
Humanly, it is difficult to live with that kind of loss. Once at the airport, I was told that my luggage exceeded the limits by two kilograms. One of my dear friends, who did not want me to lose any of it, took over and made the payment or the extra kilograms. He refused to budge when I insisted on paying. He spent his hard earned money on me so that I would not have to have a loss of money or material. Thankful to him, I flew home.
Paul says all that we have in our baggage automatically gets sorted when you realise you have the only thing you need –  Christ. So if you are at an imaginary airport as part of life’s journey, and they tell you at the check-in that you are allowed to carry just one personal belonging, what would you take with you?

The one thing

Sitting in a prison, Paul says, after all those years of sweating it out for Christ, he realised all he needed was to know Christ, and that everything came secondary. Going back to the imaginary airport, my friend would then not have to pay for me, nor would I have to carry all the items in my bag or pick out the heavy ones and reduce the weight. Jesus, the most valuable possession makes everything else secondary. You could do away with them, says Paul.  Jesus is what is of ultimate value. Everything  else does not even compare, to an extent that Paul actually calls everything else “garbage.”

Showing the door

The word used for counting/considering in verse 7 and 8 is ‘hegeomai’ in its original Greek version. The word interestingly stands for leading the way (going before as a Chief), priority, leading thought in one’s mind, to esteem, provide leadership, etc.
The meaning of that word opens up a whole canvas of understanding to interpret the verse. Paul, in a way, is saying that when the knowledge of Christ increases, he leads out of his life, everything else that he counts valuable. He shows them the door. He personally takes responsibility to send them out of his life, by leading it out.  He does not expect their value to diminish, instead, the things we consider valuable, have to be led out of our life, because the most valuable as come! It is imperative for every Christian.
Here one is required to appreciate the value of Christ and that is by knowing. Knowing takes some kind of an interaction, a transaction that involves a back and forth. In simple words, it means, there needs to be a relationship with Christ, to know his worth.

Making space

So Paul, says he is making space for Christ in his life. To illustrate, the storage in my old phone used to fill up quickly ever since WhatsApp and pictures became the characteristic of a smartphone. But in order to add an app that would really help my day to day work, I needed more space. There was no other way but to delete all the unneeded photos and apps and make space for the app I wanted.  Knowing Christ is of surpassing worth, and everything else, he leads out, says Paul.  He personally unpacks the baggage and lays out everything and picks Christ and continues the journey. And he says, he has everything he needs.
This is a painful process, which can be made joyful if you know the worth of Christ. And that calls for a relationship with Jesus the Christ. How is your relationship?

A jug fills drop by drop

Do you ever feel frustrated by unachieved dreams?

Sometimes I feel I am there. Staring at your dream which is still in the sky and wondering how to get there, despite having everything within your power to achieve them.

 

That’s when I came across a tiny magazine called Inspirational Quote which displayed on its cover the title of this post :

A jug fills drop by drop. 

It points towards the need for consistency and sustained effort towards your dreams. We are living in a world that glorifies 19-year-olds like Kylian Mbappe. The boy is only 19 and look, he’s playing superbly in the world cup for France! What are you doing?

I have been advised before that it does not work to ask yourself that question in comparison. My life is meant for a different dream and has a different trajectory.  I am not Mbappe and at the most what we have in common is that our names begin with M.

However, I can’t be left off the hook.  I am accountable to what God has entrusted me with. I am called to make use and bring returns, just as the parable of talents reveal to us.

 

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Kylian Mbappe . [PC: FIFA.com https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/players/player/389867/]
 

 

 

LIFE EDITING.

What we need is life-editing. Sitting down and taking stock of where I am going and how fast. If I am slow, then I need to check whether that is the optimal speed to travel. Each terrain requires us to manoeuver our vehicle in a way that would ensure safety and stability. That probably is the same with life.

Yet, you could keep moving.  Or move as soon as you can. Going back to the analogy of the drop,  we can say, as long as the drop is falling into the jug, that’s enough. But if you take the jug away and set it aside, you will not be able to fill it.

So make sure the drop falls in the jug and over time it will be filled.

One step towards your dream each day. That’s all it takes.

Richard Rohr Meditation : An excerpt

The following is a meditation from cac.org led by Richard Rohr. I loved some of the things said here. What are your thoughts?

PC: The Bible Project, YouTube

God Breaks In
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Today Barbara Holmes continues exploring the contemplative in surprising places:

We are told that Jesus hung out with publicans, tax collectors, and sinners. Perhaps during these sessions of music, laughter, and food fellowship, there were also . . . moments when the love of God and mutual care and concern became the focus of their time together. Contemplation is not confined to designated and institutional sacred spaces. God breaks into nightclubs and Billie Holiday’s sultry torch songs; God tap dances with Bill Robinson and Savion Glover. And when Coltrane blew his horn, the angels paused to consider.

Some sacred spaces bear none of the expected characteristics. The fact that we prefer stained glass windows, pomp and circumstance . . . has nothing to do with the sacred. It may seem as if the mysteries of divine-human reunion erupt in our lives when, in fact, the otherness of spiritual abiding is integral to human interiority. On occasion, we turn our attention to this abiding presence and are startled. But it was always there.

. . . Art can amplify the sacred and challenge the status quo. The arts help us to hear above the cacophony and pause in the midst of our multitasking. The arts engage a sacred frequency that is perforated with pauses. Artists learned . . . that there were things too full for human tongues, too alive for articulation. You can dance and rhyme and sing it, you almost reach it in the high notes, but joy unspeakable is experience and sojourn, it is the ineffable within our reach.

When you least expect it, during the most mundane daily tasks, a shift of focus occurs. This shift bends us toward the universe, a cosmos of soul and spirit, bone and flesh, which constantly reaches toward divinity. Ecclesial organizations want to control access to this milieu but cannot. The only divisions between the sacred and the secular are in the minds of those who believe in and reinforce the split. . . .

All things draw from the same wellspring of spiritual energy. This means that the sermonic and religious can be mediated through a saxophone just as effectively as through a pastor. . . . How can this be? . . . [Can] tapping feet and blues guitar strokes . . . evoke the contemplative moment and call the listener to a deeper understanding of inner and outer realities? . . . The need to create impermeable boundaries between the sacred and the secular is . . . a much more recent appropriation of western values. . . .

Historically, most efforts to wall off the doctrinal rightness and wrongness of particular practices failed. Instead, hearers of the gospel inculturated and improvised on the main themes so as to tune the message for their own hearing. Given Christianity’s preferential option for the poor, the cross-pollination of jazz, blues, and tap with church music and practices could be considered the epitome of missional outreach and spiritual creativity.