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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Journey 31: Transformation in my work place/school

Read: Numbers 13 Key Verse: Fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.[Isaiah 41:10 ] History was created in the Australian Open Tennis tournament last Sunday. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal played an incredible game of tennis in the finals of the Australian Open. The game went to almost six hours, which was the longest match ever played in the history of a grand slam tournament. Djokovic finally beat Nadal to win his third Australian Open title and his fifth Grand Slam trophy,  thus rewriting history. The match was replete with scenes of agony and also excitement even at 1.30 am in the morning when both  Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were coming up with fantastic  rallies which spectators might never have seen in their life. In an article by Alix Ramsay in the Australian open, after winning the title, a tired Djokovic stated that “I knew that I'm playing against one of the g…

The Journey 30: Transformation in my life

Read; Luke 19: 1-10 Key Verse: Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain, Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain [ Psalms 127:1] I know  a person who is  very upset because the real estate business in US is now going through a lean patch. He is neither a realtor nor someone who is interested in doing business in housing and finance. When I asked him for the reason for his sadness, he said that, when the real estate business was in full boom, the market value of his house was about a million dollar, but now with the lean patch the market value of his house has come down drastically. But then I asked him whether he was contemplating of selling the house for which he said no. “Then why are you upset if the market value of your house has come down when you don't  intend to sell it” I asked. For this he replied, that “ Achen, I use to experience a mental and emotional pleasure  thinking that I reside in a house that is of such and such…

The Journey 28: Tranformation in my family life

Read: Luke 10:38-42 A small piece of news caught my attention while sitting in a doctors clinic glancing the magazine “ People” that was lying in the reception room. What caught my attention was the news that  Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger have come together for another major occasion since Maria filed for divorce from her husband last July. The news reports states that he two spent Christmas this December,  together with their children at their home in Brentwood, California., According to the magazine, sources close to the couple states that for them " "Children and family come first,", For both Arnold and Maria supporting and loving their children has been their priority in life. This family Christmas celebration has brought in a hope, with the reports coming that  Shriver is having second thoughts about moving forward to end here marriage, though she has still not done anything to drop the separation proceedings till this day.        What brings transformatio…

The Journey 27: Transformation in the life of sick & suffering

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Read: John 5:1-18 It was on August 6th, 2011 that a San Diego resident Petty Officer Jon Tumilson, died  in an helicopter crash in Afghanistan which also claimed the lives of another 29 American soldiers. His funeral was held Rockford, Iowa where more than 1500  mourners attended the funeral. But what was the most poignant moment of the funeral was the scene where Jon close friend– his dog, Hawkeye also attended the funeral and he lay still along the side of the coffin of his departed friend. The picture shown below was taken by Lisa Pembleton, Tumilson’s cousin. A dog who expresses his deep love and faithfulness to his friend. A dog who expresses through his presence that he is also grieving and is would want to go to any extent to show how deep his love for his master and friend was.Do we as human beings able to share the feelings for our suffering brothers in the same way as Hawkeye did for his friend. On Friday’s we meditate on how we can bring transformation in the life of the sick…

The Journey 26: Transformation In My Parish

Read: John 4: 1-20         The auditions of the American Idol is going on in full swing. Today I believe the audition is going to take place in Texas. There are so many contestants who come and sing and try to impress the judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson so that their dreams take shape. When the judges pronounce the verdict the “You are going to Hollywood” the contestants shout with joy while others who are not fortunate to hear these words whimper and leave the hall desperate and sad. There are times when I as a clergy also goes through this motion. When you lead the worship as the celebrant, there are times where you feel through the comments and criticism that people make at the fellowship hour, after the worship service, that at least some are only  interested grading your worship service, or your sermon, thus forgetting what the true essence of worship is all about. Why do we come to church or attend the worship service?                       On Thursday’s …

The Journey 25: Transformation In My Community

Read: Mark 5: 1-20
The city of Philadelphia has been witnessing in the last two months, incidents of brutal attacks on the elderly, or on young teens all leading to death. This has been recurring almost once or twice a week. The mayor of Philadelphia Michel Nutter has expressed his deep concern as why the city of Philadelphia is moving in this dangerous direction where human life has no value and people tend to get agitated for most silly and slightest reason. The Mayor added that if the city has to move forward, human life needs to be valued and that people need to know how to respect the needs of others. I believe what he say is right. If a city has to move forward, the community that dwells in the city needs to value human beings and life as a whole.
           In our meditation that we do on Wednesday’s  we are meditating on the transformation that Jesus brings in the life of the demon possessed  man. By deliberately entering into a relationship with the demon possessed man, Jesus b…

The Journey 24: Transormation in my work place/school

Read: Numbers 13 Key Verse: "Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the lord" [Exodus 14:12]. The legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno died due to lung cancer on Sunday at the age 85. Newsmakers have reported that friends of the ex-Penn State coach, have expressed that he might have died more out of guilt and a bruised heart rather than cancer. All because of the unanswered questions related to Jerry Sandusky and the abuse that happened in the campus. It is reported that in his final interview, to the Washington Post , Paterno spoke with lot of regrets. He confessed that he didn't know how to handle the situation when he came to know about the abuse that was happening. He did not want to put his career and his university in risk. In that interview, in what stands as his parting words, Joe Paterno said, "I wish I'd done more."                     Today we live in a world where each one of us is sometimes more concerned about our privileges and secur…

The Journey 23: Transformation in My Life

Read: Luke 19:1-10

Key Verse: You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. [ 2 Corinthians 3:3]             Mother Teresa is one of the most well known figures in the history of the Christian church. One of the most wonderful aspect of the life of this frail lady was that though she was famous and well known and a popular icon, she could go to any  places without any threats to her life. People could meet her at any time, and she was a person who was accessible to anyone. She always had people on her side, enjoying the warmth and friendship of people. On the contrary today you have so many public figures the rich and the famous, who cannot get into a public sphere, without adequate security. When she was asked what makes her to mingle with people with so much warmth and why does people adore her, her  reply was that all that she does was for th…

The Journey 21: Transformation In My Family Life

Read: Luke 10:38-42
Key Verse: “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor, blessing and prosperity will be yours”. Psalms 128:1-2
                I believe every family has a time of family prayer sometimes both in the morning and evening. Though in the morning all the members cannot make it for a time of family prayer, at least in the evening many of the families before retiring for the night consciously spend time together as a family to sing a song, read a portion of Psalms and then pray. This is rich heritage of faith that has been passed on through generations. But in the midst of this also are, families who never come together for fellowship or prayer. What is it that brings about a transformation in our family. In our mad rush in life to accomplish things and also to prepare ourselves for the task that lies ahead next day in the  morning, we forget the fact that, we also need to strengthen our family ties which God has given to …

The Journey 20: Transformation In The Life Of Sick & Suffering

Read; John 5:1-18
One of the sights that you can see in India, especially in Kerala is the sights of  elephants being for heavy labour. But what to do when they are not working? How do you restrain them?.The handlers came up with the idea to program them while they are still young by setting self imposed limits into their thinking. How did they do it? When the elephants are small and young, they get tied with very heavy rope. All day long the elephants try to get rid of it, whine, tug at  it and some of them even try to chew it. But they cant break free. Finally the elephant gives up the and the fight is over. Form this moment on they strongly believe that there is absolutely no chance to get rid of the rope. They accept the fact that the rope limits them and thus with is belief imprinted in their mind, the handlers are able to tie strong elephants with small ropes.  They believe they have no chance to break the rope. As you know the limits that the elephant set is not real it is only …

The Journey 19: Tranformation In My Parish

Read: John 4:1-42   
In one of my parish that I served earlier, there was one particular member who would lot of issues in the general body meeting and also had no problem in talking very rudely to the other members of the church. On a closer observation I realized that whenever there was general body meeting, he would not attend the worship service. Only after the completion of the worship service would he come to church to attend the general body meeting. When confronted with this fact, this man replied to me “ Achen you know I always raise lot of issues and my behavior and language is sometimes not acceptable, but if I participate in the communion service then I will not be able to talk in the way I want to talk in the general body meeting”.  A person who knows what is the true essence of worship, but consciously keeps away from it so that he could do whatever he pleases.  In one aspect, I respect that person, at least he knew what the true worship should lead to, though he does no…

The Journey 18: Transformation in my community

Read: Mark 5: 1-20
An adieu to my friend Late Rev. M. V. George                  I was woken up late night by my friend Rev. Thomas John, the vicar of the Los Angeles Marthoma Church that our common friend Rev. M.V. George is no more. All three of us share a very special bond. We were together in  the late nineties when M.V Achen and Thomas John Achen worked in the Marthoma Evangelistic Association, while I served in the Sunday School Department. Our friendship is more than three decades old. It is shocking to know that he is no more and I will surely miss his fellowship, his relationship and the bond we share. I feel our Church is poorer by the death of this wonderful parish priest, a fantastic administrator, a good friend and person who had no qualms to go down to the level of the common people, to be a part of their life and experience, to have the guts to do the most menial job as and when the situation demanded and a pastor who was always available for his parishioners and for his …

The Journey 17: Transforming my work place/school

Read: Numbers 13 It is said that both in American and Indian industries, if there is an issue with regards to a particular project, or a product, the manager who handles it comes under heavy criticism. He and his team are often blamed, because the people have criticized the product or the project. But in Japan, if the same thing happens, the team and the manager is not blamed on the other hand the management and the team decide that they need to work in a different way or bring about changes in the product or the project so that it is feasible to the consumers. Two groups handling the same issue, but the approach so different. No wonder it is this small country Japan who is the largest producer of the latest electronic products               In the biblical portion there is a challenge between two groups of people. When Moses sent one group of people to explore the land that they should capture the group of people believed that the “ the people in the land, are stronger than they are an…

The Journey 16: Transformation in my life

Read: Luke 19:1-10
When Tsunami struck the Indian coast, lot of people went through total misery and pain. They lost their homes, their livelihood. One of the positive things that happened at that time was the sudden mushrooming of different organizations that came up to help these tsunami affected people. Huge amount of money started flowing in from all corners of the world to help the affected people. It was only a few years later, that the common people came to know that most of these organizations swindled a lot of money that came through donations for their own personal benefits. What a tragedy, when people suffer, there were others who devised means as to how to “ make hay while the sun shine”. It is a sad reflection of our society where we are ready to do anything to gain money or fame. Today in the United States we remember Martin Luther King, whose untiring efforts led to social discrimination of the African American people. We always need to remember his vision for the countr…

The Journey 14: Transformed Living

Theme: Tranformation in my family lifeRead: Luke 10:38-42 One of the unique features of many of the families in the United States is the conscious decision of many families to spend time together. Important event like Thanksgiving day, or on Christmas day,  all the members of the families meet together to enjoy time of fellowship and togetherness. People also go to places like the beach or go on cruise so that they are able to relax and also enjoy time together as a family. Meeting together, these getaways are the ways by which the family members share a common bond among themselves. It is these common bonds among the family members that strengthens our family. But I believe there is a greater bond that can strengthen our family. What is that common bond? In the biblical portion that we read today for our meditation we find a family who is very attached to Jesus Christ. Even our Lord enjoyed spending time with this family. This is the family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. In [John 11: 5],…

The Journey 13: Transformed Living

Theme: Transformation in the life of sick and suffering READ: John 5: 1-8 On Friday’s we meditate on how we can bring transformation in the life of the sick and suffering.            Some of the battles in life are lost even before battle has begun. This is because of the attitude who enters into battle. They enter into battle with hopelessness and with the firm conviction that no matter what happens they are going to loose. I think this is true in life also. There are many people today who go through various crisis and problems in life. But unknowingly they cannot overcome the crisis and problems in life because they themselves do not have faith in God nor in themselves that, whatever be the circumstances of life, God gives us hope. In the bible portion that we read today for our  meditation we find an incident of man who is experiencing  the worst in life. A man who is sick, but the agonizing part, sick for about thirty eight years, having no hope in life. Every day in his life is anot…

The Journey 12: Transformed Living

Theme: Transformation in my Parish Read: John 4: 1-42
Every parish has members in its roll. It is the duty of the each of the earning member in the parish to support the parish activities and participate in the ministry of parish in particular and church in general, through a voluntary subscription. Some of the members are regular subscribers, while some give their subscription quarterly or half yearly, while some yearly. But there are some people whom the parish trustees term as outstanding members whose due or subscriptions are never paid. Sometimes this analogy is quite apt also on how we view our relationship with our parish. Some of the members are regular participants, some come once in while but one of the saddest part in the life of the parish are those whom I term as outstanding members. These are people who are very regular to church, but the only strange thing is that they never enter the sanctuary of the church or involve in worship. You can always find them in all places of…

The Journey 11: Transformation in My Community

Read: Mark 5: 1-20 Every parish has its neighborhood ministries. We are involved in different ways by organizing a run for awareness for helping the cancer patient, building up homes for those who do not have homes, supplying gifts and other items during seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are all wonderful events by which the youths and the parish members get involved in the ministry of the neighborhood,. I think it these kind of ministry that helps the community to be aware that there is a church out there somewhere and there are people who are wanting to show what Christian faith and life is all about. But we need to ask a question aren't these ministries that we do, a once in a year event, which sometimes only gives a temporary relief to the suffering people. Can we offer them something that is long lasting?. I believe when we as Christian wants to transform our community what we offer them should be not be of a temporary value but lasting. Let us look into the Bible t…