Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Peace be with you!”

Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
“Peace be with you!” (John 20:19)

The need for peace is real – at levels personal, institutional, national, regional and international. How many people are fighting within over unfulfilled goals, career and business choices, disappointments at work or in relationships…? Although he or she may look good on the outside, someone is inwardly fighting an abusive or deficient upbringing, inherited spiritual bondages, close people stealing property, or uncertainties about the future. And these very conflicts are the seeds that grow into costly armed wars we have seen at home, in South Sudan, DR Congo, Nigeria, North Korea – all over the world. Disciples of Jesus Christ were deeply troubled not only due to a terrible bereavement, but also the political implications. In Jesus Christ was a vivid reformer advancing with both religious and political edge, but now his end seemed sharply unceremonial, untimely and premature. The disciples badly needed an oasis of comfort.

‘Peace be with you!’ was and still is a normal greeting among the peoples of Middle East; but just like the English may hastily respond, ‘Fine’ to the greeting ‘How are you?’ – even when troubled deep inside – one may not really feel or receive peace when they respond affirmatively to the ‘Peace’ greeting. It is now time to receive revitalizing effects from familiar words; the one speaking is not just throwing a casual greeting at you; His names include Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor. The reason most people will say ‘I am fine’ is because they don’t expect that person to do anything about their troubles. But Jesus is not like that person who greeted you and didn’t even wait to hear your response; Jesus Christ will stick by you and listen to more than you can share – tell him the real deep truth, and may His greeting of ‘Peace’ bring you comfort and joy.

As we pray for peace in the world, especially around us in neighbouring war infested areas, let us recognize that it begins within one individual; let us therefore seek to receive from the Prince of Peace what we need to restfully content – ‘cast your cares upon the Lord’. And let us be agents of this peace; encouraging someone and helping just one person overcome the battles within could arrest a looming strike or rebellion. In their fellowship, Jesus Christ spoke Peace to them twice before commissioned the disciples. He knows the depth of our needs and will not rush away; be sure He is attentive to you.

Peace be with you!

The grace of waiting…

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. (John 20:11)

Have you ever been given a seat to wait before you see that officer? Waiting is one of the difficult tasks, and if you often go to some high offices, it is important to learn the art without wasting time or becoming irritated, or even giving up prematurely. Some people will carry a book to read, or these days music or games on the phone or ipod, while others depend on the newspapers or magazines they find in the waiting area. One thing we all have to be sure of is that you need to wait at one time or another. Do you have the grace of waiting?

One striking character from the many happenings on the resurrection morning is Mary Magdalene, who received a groundbreaking revelation after waiting longer than the others: She came with some other women to the tomb, they found it empty, they went and told the apostles; Peter and John came and also found the tomb empty; Peter even took the courage to go inside the tomb, and the two apostles spent time searching and wondering what would have happened to the body of their ‘fallen’ ‘King’! It is difficult to estimate how long they lingered at the holy tomb, it now seemed increasingly meaningless to remain at a perplexing and hopeless venue; soon they were lost for ideas and decided to go back home. But Mary… she remained some time after Peter and John had returned to their own homes.

Think about times when you have waited on someone or something: many times we wait with hope; you know the officer is around and will call you in at some point; recently the world was waiting for the announcement of a new Pope and we were sure the Cardinals were there in the Conclave doing business; journalists waiting for a Presidential statement are always eager, but sure it is coming because they are on appointment. But are there times you are waiting and there seems to be no hope and no assurance of good news in the pipeline? This was Mary’s situation, but she remained there, waiting. The Psalmist encourages us: “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Ps 27:14). Remember, “they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isa 40:31).

Glory be to God for the revelation that came to Mary after waiting longer, and now we celebrated – the Risen Lord! Christ is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

God bless you!

Stewardship and Leadership (part 2)

“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)

You are warmly welcome!

Today is a special day to commemorate Mary the mother of Jesus. I will draw from
two instances where she sets a great example of stewardship and leadership. But before going that far, it is an opportunity to celebrate our dear mothers who play a unique and
essential role in our lives. I have clear memories of my own mother disciplining me as a child, taking us to the garden, and to the market to assist on her stall, teaching me how to bake cakes and chapatti and sell them, visiting me at school, teaching us to read the Bible
and pray – lots of memories; and she still so cares even today! My father and mother work together on all these things, but today’s opportunity to celebrate the mothers could just not pass me by. All of us have profound testimonies about that special woman
who mothered you: Thanks be to God for our dear mothers.

Mary’s story unfolds when she is in a conversation with an Angel; the messenger from the Lord had brought an assignment from the Lord. Yours may not have been brought by Angel Gabriel in the spectacular manner that Mary experienced, but you too for certain have an assignment from the Lord. What is your assignment? Whether you accept it like Mary or not, you are the Lord’s servant; that’s what we have been created for. Mary’s example is one of loyal submission. When you hear the Lord’s call, do not harden your heart; this may be in your ‘secular’ job – how you should transact to honour the Lord, or in your voluntary service in Church or elsewhere. The question of your assignment from the Lord is not to be ignored.

The second Mary instance was at Cana of Galilee: She noticed a crisis to which she wanted to contribute a solution; there was no more wine and while joy was fading and the party could easily end prematurely, there was a looming embarrassment as well! The crises in our world today call for us to follow Mary’s example and not just turn a deaf ear and a blind eye, but notice and point out these difficulties to Jesus Christ. You may not have the solution, but you can point them to the solution. This is good stewardship and leadership. After some negotiations, the problem was no more. Hard work and good stewardship brings satisfaction, confidence, health and joy. After Mary’s example, may the Lord help us to continually be good and faithful servants.

God bless you!