Wednesday, April 22

Wounds and embarrassments

I have observed on myself how I react to wounds and hurts. The fact is, no one can escape being wounded. We are wounded physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Recent unfolding of certain events in my Church community has concreted my belief that I cannot escape being wounded. Hence, it gave me an opportunity to search for wounds and healings in the light of the Bible.

The Bible points us to an important teaching on wounds. The Bible says: through his wounds, we are healed. I believe that this simple text carries the entire theology on God’s healing process. When I was recently wounded over Church matters, I asked, “How can I run away from my wounds?” I have heard many say, “Time will ease the pain”. However, is that how we have to get over our wounds? Certainly No. That is a human faculty of forgetfulness that is compounding healing. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us something different.

One natural emotion that surrounds a wounded heart is embarrassment. It is to overcome the embarrassment that we go in search of the source of our pain and kick at it. By repaying hurt with hurt, we come to cover our embarrassment in public. Thus we show the world that we are ‘strong’ and ‘smart’. However, this is not the story of Lord Jesus Christ. As a Christian, we do not need to be embarrassed about our hurts. The question that Bible is asking me is this, “How can I put my woundedness in the service of others?” This can only happen when our hurts does not rule our embarrassments but heals it. Then we can go out in service of others. Through our wounds, we can be the source of others’ healing.

Sunday, April 19

Dream Merchants

I am a frequent visitor to a local coffee shop. This air-conditioned coffee shop is a premium outlet. One can enjoy anything and everything in coffee here. With the strong aroma of coffee in the air, it is the place where many come to talk, listen and make a deal.

I often get to this coffee shop with my pack of books and the laptop. Settling in a corner, I sink into my world of reading and note making. The conversations from the nearby tables can be noisy. In such moments, I let go my concentration. I let my ears wander into the heart of nearby tables. (Eavesdropping is an art!). Often, these conversations are ‘proposals’ for teaming up in a multi-level-marketing effort. Upon a hot cup of coffee or a sweet glass of milkshake, long deliberations take place. I see clean-shaven and office dressed listeners glancing across flipcharts. The proposer shares about the power and the glory of creating a large binary chain of under-levels. What more, he shows them that this is an endless abyss of long stories of profits. Then the prospect walks away. I do not know what happens later. Maybe he becomes another link in a extensive chain of dreams and wishes. Maybe he goes to web and try to figure out where he stands. Maybe he is confused and finds it difficult to say "Yes" or "No" to a new acquaintance. Nevertheless, for sure, life goes on.

Years ago, I got an unassuming invitation from a very close friend of mine to attend a ‘business meeting’. "Abby, don't ask what and why. Just come!" Dev said. My best friend is calling me for a meeting…. well, I have to make it. Therefore, I rushed. I reached the local hall just in time to grab a chair at the back row. The hall was packed full. Passionately, I wanted to locate my friend. I rolled my eyeballs to every nook and corner of the hall. Soon, I caught him on the stage. He stood dressed in full-sleeved shirts, smart trousers and sparkling shoes. All through the 8 years of my friendship, I have never seen a Dev like that: dressed as an executive, beaming with confidence and eyes glittering with a conviction. I wanted to know how Dev had reached there. The next 1 hour passed like a minute. The guest speaker was from Singapore and was 24 years of age. Speaking about the explosive opportunity of the e-business, he told the audience about the great wealth that was awaiting each one of us. “Grab it!” he said. He spoke of his ‘rags to riches’ story. What astounded me was his closing statement, “I am retiring soon to play golf the rest of my days,”. After his address, I saw young men and women shouting and clapping. “He is truly a living relic of capitalism!” I thought. A standing ovation of the whole crowd was electrifying. For a moment, I thought I too was a million dollar man. Around me, some of the people were holding hands and calling themselves a team. Others were posing for photographs with the speaker. Then another speaker took over the podium to introduce some liquid detergents, floor-cleaners, toothbrushes, briefs, vests …. then another speaker wanted to prove that those products were world’s best of its kind…and then it went on and on. Soon, for me, it was time to go home. As I was leaving, I looked at the crowd. I saw in them two types of people: one whose eyes are dim with confusion and the others, whose eyes are glittering in greed!

7 years have passed. Time went so fast! Today Dev bikes to his office. He has earned enough as a Central Government servant than through any ‘level’ business. Last time I saw him was in a supermall. I was afraid to ask him where he stood in those complicated ‘levels’. Where are his up-levels and his down-levels now? His mentors seem to have vanished from his life. For me, I lost a good friend (Dev is shy. He has kept away from me since his multi-level-marketing debacle). I lost 5000 rupees. I also lost some good dreams.

Today, as I sit in my favorite coffee shop, I enjoy the flavor of God grown coffee. Like the steaming cappuccino in my hands, I know that life is a cup of God-given-realities. I also know that those realities are to be encountered, enjoyed and lived. I leave all the rest of my beliefs in the hands of God and walk my destiny with a smile.

What happens to all those liquid detergents, floor-cleaners, toothbrushes, briefs, vests and ….and the list goes on and on…. What happens to them all? I’ll forget about it. I’ll leave them all in the hands of dream merchants

Thursday, April 16

I ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; but that you may dispose my health and my sickness, my life and death for your glory... You alone know what is expedient for me; you are the sovereign master; do with me according to your will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to yours, I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is most profitable to or sickness, wealth or poverty, not anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angles, and is hidden among the secrets of you Providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom.

- a prayer by Blasé Pascal


"Animals do not admire each other. A horse does not admire its companion. It is not that they will not race against each other, but this is of no consequence, for, back in the stable, the one who is heavier and clumsier does not on that account give up his oats to the other, as men want others to do to them. With them virtue is its own reward. "
Blaise Pascal (on Human Happiness)

Saturday, April 11


The families into which we are born are points where we got to grow and move on. Jesus showed us this very much in his dealings. He was born in an ordinary family. His infancy was very simple. Nevertheless, he kept on moving towards his walk of life.

I am afraid of the word ‘Vocation’. They say it came to English in 15th century from Latin and French. That isn’t the point. ‘Vocation’ is the strong calling a person has in his walk of life. That is the point. I am afraid of that. The other day, an acquaintance of mine asked me if this “gold, cash and interest calculation” my destiny. I told him that there is a word called ‘vocation’ in my vocabulary. He looked confused and stunned.

There is a point in our life when we got to leave and make go from our families. This is a reality of our vocation. Some of us are called to be with our families. This too is a great reality. Many I know cannot accept these realities. To fully make our claim of vocation, we got to leave our ‘homes’ and be pulled into our destinies. The reality is that we all belong to God more than to ourselves and to others. The ‘home’ that the world define for us many not be the ‘home’ of our vocation. Hence, that attraction…the attraction to God the Father is the ultimate reality. That is the call of every vocation.

"Our hearts are restless, until it rest in thee", says St. Augustine on his relationship with God. That is the fullness of vocation.

Wednesday, April 8

Like Mary Did

The story of the visitation is strange for many reasons. A very young girl, Mary, meets an old woman. Both are pregnant. Both feel misunderstood. “What is happening in me?” thought the girl. The young girl’s fiancĂ© is considering a separation. He fears scandal. “How can I take it all this way?” thinks Joseph. Zechariah, the old woman’s husband is struck dumb. Everyone involved are puzzled, confused ... somewhat lost.

"The Visitation" is a true-life situation. I have thought over it many times. Can I accept a similar situation? The girl to whom one is betrothed is suddenly found pregnant! I understand Joseph... and how broken Mary would be! Inauguration of an unexplained, untimely pregnancy would be a nightmare to any teenager. What will the girl tell her parents? How will she face the world? Her friends... will they understand her? Will her parents dismiss it as a sheer nonsense!

Leaving behind a gossiping town, Mary rushes to her cousin, an old women. Elizabeth is surprised seeing Mary and is filled with the Holy Spirit... surprised and filled with God.

"The visitation " story is a confluence of two simple souls touched by Grace. On their meeting, their wombs go jubilant; their hearts overflow with joy and peace. Two oppressed souls suddenly finds their place in time... they burst into a jubilant celebration of their unique status in human history. "The world shall call you Blessed" says Elizabeth to Mary. The oral tradition of the Luke's Gospel narration tells us the explosion of this excitement.

The Song of Mary is the song of every oppressed soul. Years before Karl Max, this humble girl seem to have spoken for God ' sending the rich empty away ' .

Can I understand better way of sharing, caring and loving than the way of visitation? Can I get away from
places where I am not understood and move to areas where I am accepted and understood? Then I can come back, later, to the ‘market place’ and face the world better with a new trust and integrity... face the world better even to the foot of the cross. Like Mary did.


Sunday, April 5

Brown and the green...vistas in nature

Brown and the green, like life and death, are two realities of the living.
Jesus saw that when he said “ I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24)

Every day, life batters on the vistas of the brown and the green… I love that natural contrast and try to see that in the living. In this brown-green contrast, the life's cycle is complete…
The light builds the green leaves and the light shines on the brown to take it back to dust.
Photo Location : Pookodu Lake, Waynad, Kerala

Wednesday, April 1

Greatest Paradox

We believe that Jesus died for us on the cross. If so, that is the powerless Jesus facing the worst form of torture and death. This powerlessness is strange because Jesus is the Messiah... the Immanuel...the God with Us. This phenomena is difficult to be explained and understood. God coming down to earth and taking the form of a third rated criminal is totalling unacceptable to many. God became human in no way different from other humans and HE broke through the walls of power in total weakness... HE dies on the cross and then on the third day, HE rolls away the stone that held HIM to his grave.

Looking at this great paradox, Paul came out with a strange theology ... the theology of the ‘downward mobility’. In a world of strength and beauty, in a world of achievements and glory there is this bold statement from St. Paul, ‘My strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2nd Cor. 12:9)

The globalized world has place for the best. There is seldom place for the second best, the slow and the weak. This thought is totally incompatible with St. Paul’s theory on weakness. Life of Lord Jesus teaches us to accommodate the second best to the least ... the have-nots and the heavy burdened. Throughout Bible, we see God using the second best or the least of His flock to lead the rest. God chose those who by human standards are fools to shame the wise.

Therefore, how different is God’s doing!