The Journey 46: Transformation in my parish
Read: Nehemiah 2
Key Verse: “I appeal to you my brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be united in mind and thought”. [ 1 Corinthians 1: 10]
Group, Groupism, are two words that we normally talk when we talk about the issues that a parish is facing. But take a impartial approach, whether you like it or not every church has groups. These groups sometimes are a positive aspect in the functioning of a parish but at times the very nature and objectives of the group members could be liability to the growth and proper functioning of a parish. Groupism in the parish could arise out of the cold war between members of two dominant families in the church, or it could be a rift between two dominant factions in the church, which could be based on language or the region from where the members come from or it could be a rift between two dominant organizations in the church.; One of the truth when groupism is dominant in a parish is that, when one group takes over the administrative functions of the parish, the other groups becomes the opposition, may be literally opposing anything and everything that comes from the ruling group. History is repeated next year. The opposition takes over the administrative responsibilities and then it is the turn of ruling front then to do the job of opposition. Some parish have another way to deal with this. The administrative functions sometimes is deliberately managed by members of a particular family or a clan. That solves the issue. But I believe the issue is deep rooted. The Marthoma Church in general and the church in North America in particular is facing lot of challenges as it tries to make it mission and ministry relevant to the future and to the next generation Marthomites. It is here that we need to seriously think our role in the whole mission and ministry of the church in general or our parish in particular.
On Thursday’s we meditate on how we can bring transformation in our parish. The character we are meditating is the Nehemiah. Nehemiah is concerned about the sad state of the walls of Jerusalem. For him the rebuilding of the walls was a matter of spiritual restoration of peoples relationship with the almighty God. Ruins stood as a testimony how people were least concerned about their relationship with God and hence rebuilding of that wall and that relationship was primary. Nehemiah does a serious evaluation of the work and starts motivating people [ Nehemiah 2:11-18], in his vision of the restoration of not only the walls of Jerusalem but also in the process the relationship with the Lord. This is when three people Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian start opposing Nehemiah. All these three people did not want the Jews to rebuild the walls for reason that were selfish. Sanballat belonged to a group that claimed to worship God but also indulged in idol worship. Tobia and Geshem both did not want to see Jews united and also being prosperous through their union with God and among themselves. I think it is here that we learn a valuable lesson from the Word. If we are united with God and with each other our land and our parish will prosper and function cohesively reflecting the glory of the Lord and also will stand as a witness to His power. On the contrary if we are sowing seeds of discord, through our groups and groupism, we are ultimately causing harm not only to the body of Christ but to us and to our future generations. Can we rise above our selfish agenda’s and our narrow, parochial attitude to a level where we only see the goodness and progress of our parish in particular and our church in general both in terms of making its ministry and mission relevant to the next generation.
Hey which group do you belong to?.
Let us Pray: Lord your body consists of different individual, families and groups. Helps us to work together to lay aside our differences so that we stand to build and glorify you and your body– the church. Amen