The Journey 74:Transformation in my parish
Read: Nehemiah 4,5
Key Bible Verse: “ I am sending you out like sheep among wolves, therefore be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” [Mathew 10:16]
ARAB SPRING. This is the watch word spoken in the Arab world, as every day people all over the world get to see the disturbing going on that is happening presently in Syria. Acts of violence and injustice going on as pro democracy protesters rage a battle to overthrow President Assad. This is the latest chain of protest by the pro democracy group and this is what is called as“ Arab Spring”. Syria joins nations like Tunisia, Liberia, Libya and Egypt where people have come together as one nation to overthrow unjust rulers who fleeced the people. But the man who unknowingly brought about this phenomena called Arab Spring is from Tunisia, a young, unemployed Tunisian by the name Mohamed Bouazizi who on December 17th, 2010, set fire to himself after officials had blocked his attempts to make a living selling vegetables without a permit. Bouazizi’s action reflected not only his hopelessness and desperation, but the anger of the majority of Tunisians. Hundreds of thousands filled the streets of the capital of Tunisia in protest against a corrupt regime. A few weeks later, President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali resigned and flew to exile in Saudi Arabia after he had ruled Tunisia for nearly a quarter of a century. The downfall of Ben Ali inspired pro-democracy activists across the Arab world and beyond. Within weeks, similar protests erupted in almost all Middle Eastern countries thus bringing about protest and overthrowing of the unjust rulers in Liby, Egypt and host of other countries, presently in Syria. People who came together when they realized their dream of having a decent and just living is thwarted by leaders who had a selfish agenda of their own. Till then people were passive but then suddenly you find every group of people becoming pro active. Sometime their means of protest may not justify the cause for which they stand for. Looking at the phenomena of Arab Spring, the thought that came to my mind, is whether the parish and the church should also pro active role in times of today, when the whole concept of vision and mission of the ministry of the parish is getting lost.
This week we are meditating on the theme “ Transformation in my parish” based on the life and ministry of Nehemiah. As Nehemiah tries to bring a spiritual reformation in the life of people through the building of the walls of Jerusalem, he encounters problem at all quarters. We learnt how during these crisis and opposition, Nehemiah and the people depend on the Lord and also doing collective effort to see to it that their mission of building the wall of Jerusalem gets completed. But in the portion that we read today, we find another strategy of Nehemiah to combat the ulterior motives of Sanballat and Tobiah. In Nehemiah 4: 16– 23, we find a new strategy taking place. When half of the people worked in building the wall, the other half did the duty of protection or standing as armed guard so that the enemies do not succeed in the plan. Here is Nehemiah becoming pro active. Till this time he was “Passive”. Becoming pro active is using ones resources that God has given to us, to be forthright, to be outspoken and take a stand for justice. Somehow what happens in most of the parish is that we have lots of members who do not want to take such a pro active role in the affairs of the parish because they feel it is not good or their dignity does not allow them to go beyond certain level, to argue or involve in discussion with others related to the affairs of the parish. Jesus was someone who always took a pro active role whenever forces of evil opposed the divine plan of God [ Mark 5]. If our parish has to be an avenue of spiritual reformation what is needed is another “Arab spring” in our parishes also.
Ready for an “Arab Spring”?
Let us Pray: O Lord we are members in your body so that we become channels of your mission and vision. Forgive us our sins of complacency and being passive to all that happens contrary to the will of God in the affairs of our parish. Amen