The Journey 73: Transformation in my parish
Read: Nehemiah 4, 5
Key Bible Verse: “ By the grace God has given me, I laid the foundation as an expert builder, and someone else building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds” [ 1 Cor 3: 10].
March 11, 2011– Tsunami Hits Japan. It has been one year, as the world remembers one of the worst natural disasters—Tsunami, that devastated the northeast coast of Japan. : A 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami led to the deaths of more than 15,000 people. It also damaged the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant, thus unleashing a nuclear crisis that was somewhat similar to the one created in 1986 by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine. To mark this painful event in the history of the country the people across Japan, people paused at 2:46 p.m, the moment the magnitude-9.0 quake struck a year ago, for moments of silence, prayer and reflection about the enormous losses suffered and monumental tasks ahead. These are enormous burdens on this country which is already buckling under the weight of an aging, shrinking population, growing national debt and an economy that's been stagnant for two decades. Fox News reported, the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda reminding the people of Japan “that they have overcome many disasters and difficulties in the past and pledged to rebuild the nation so it will be reborn as an even better place." But one of the most startling features that people from other countries could learn from the Japanese people is the resolve of this tiny country. The determination, the ability to maintain unity and calm, and the persistence to stand together, to face the adversity as one team and to slowly rebuild the country. I think this is the model that we need today when we think of how we the members of the body of Christ, can bring transformation in the local body of Christ– The Parish. This week we are meditating on the theme “ Transformation in our Parish” based on the life and ministry of Nehemiah. The portion that we are using for our meditation is Nehemiah 4. Yesterday we found out that when adversity comes, rather than depending on the innate strength that is there within us or the authority and the power that the world gave to him, Nehemiah tells people to bring all their supplication and their problems from their adversaries to God. Another aspect that we find in the life of the people of Judah and the ministry of Nehemiah, is that as they prayed [ Nehemiah 4:8], they also stand collectively together and also take action to thwart the evil designs of the enemy. We find Nehemiah taking precautions and posting certain families and people behind the lowest point of the walls [ Nehemiah 4: 13]. Here we find that when people like Sanballat and Tobiah plotted to stop the building of the wall, the people did not fall to the evil designs of these leaders, on the contrary they stood firm with their leader Nehemiah. It is this collective effort and the effort of trust and unity that the people of Judah maintained resulted finally in the building of the wall of Jerusalem. I somehow feel that this has to be replicated in the way our parishes function. Whenever there are issues in the parish, what I find is that there certain people who will use those issues, as a plank to bring distrust and disunity in the parish. It is here that every member is the parish needs to realize that the ultimately parish functions effectively and can do the Lord’s work only when we strive to be together even in the midst of adversities. The moment the parish is divided into multiple groups, let us remember that more than the Lord’s work of building, we become the members of the devils army doing the work of not rebuilding but the work of disunity, of destroying and uprooting the body of Christ. Let us stand together as members of one body, so that we become channels of transformation in our parish. Be agents of unity and not divisions.
Let us Pray: O Lord we you want us to work together in your body, as members joined together in unity and trust. Help us to always to see to it that we do not sow seeds to mistrust, and disunity so that the ministry that you have given to us suffers. Amen