Monday, December 10, 2012

The Journey 344

Read: Genesis 3, Luke 1: 26-38
     Cost and Commitment: The difference between people who make a mark and excel in life and the ones who live mediocre life lies on these two loaded words. Cost and Commitment. Are we committed in life and whether we are ready to pay the cost for standing up for that commitment is what makes a difference in our life. One of the stars in this year Olympic games was a 16 year old gymnast from United States, Gabriella Douglas. Christina Thomasos, has written a wonderful article about Gabriella in Christian Post. Gaby as she is fondly called was in the news in all the major newspaper and in the limelight as she became the first African American gymnast to win both the all round and team gold medal at the same Olympics. The world lauded the effort of this  16 year old gymnast. The world knows only about her success in Olympics, but recently she released a book titled ‘ Grace, Gold and Glory: My leap of Faith” which describes the circumstance in which she grew, the pain that she had to undergo to achieve world standards but more than that the cost that she had to bear for the commitment to excel in life, in her passion for gymnastics.  The story of Gaby is one where she had to deal with hopelessness, racism and tackling blood disease. Even when she was a young girl people used to ridicule her about her physical beauty and many people told her to have some surgery done on her nose, to hide the awkwardness, and because of this so called flaw in the eyes of the world she was often termed as a slave and she was even criticized for the kind of hair that she had. Along with this type of ridicule she grew up in a home where she had only her mother and brother to fend for her and look after her. But the worst thing for her was that they were homeless and hence she had to depend on patrons and host families to take care of her even while she was training for Olympics. The emotional and the geographical distance that she had to endure from her mother and her family while training would often get to her nerves and she often thought of giving up her Olympic dreams and returning back home. But it was her brother who was the pillar of support for her and he would always strengthen her by a quote from the movie Never Back Down which says that “In order to be the best, you have to take out the best”.  Gaby says that all the hardship, the struggle and the pain in life is what actually defined her life and it is through these hardship that she had a new perspective about life. She believes that each of the experiences that gave her pain and suffering made her more stronger and mature and kept her motivated to achieve her goal. Gaby is a committed Christian who sees all these experiences through the eyes of faith and she witness to God’s grace, grace that strengthened her and the blessedness to wake up every morning with the feeling that God has blessed her more than she deserved. It is this attitude of this 16 year old girl that has catapulted her to centre of attraction world wide. Today when she is the toast and the model of so many young aspiring athletes, the lesson that she teaches  all of us is that only when we are ready to bear the cost and pay a price for the cause and commitment that we have in our life, is what make us an individual stand different from the rest of the crowd. The difference that is present in a person who leads a life with meaning and satisfaction and the one who live mediocre life. When we look at the Word of God we also find certain biblical characters who are different from the rest because when God called them for a particular mission and purpose they were ready to bear the cost that came along with the commitment. It is to such a life style that God calls us during this advent season.
                       We are meditating on the theme “Transformed Living” and the portion that we shall use for our meditation is from Genesis 3 and Luke 1: 26– 38. These are two portions in the Bible that stands in a very stark and contrasting ways, that describes as to how two woman respond to the call of God and the cost that they are ready to pay for the call and for their commitment to life. In Genesis 3, we find that the environment in which God gives the purpose and call in life to Eve was not hostile and circumstance that God placed her was very conducive for her to obey God’ calls. There were not much challenges in terms of suffering or pain. On the contrary the demand made on Mary by God, was not conducive for her. The call of God to Mary required her to consciously take upon herself, ridicule, suffering and pain on behalf of God  in order to participate in God’ redemptive mission for the world. Eve did not have to go through any predicament or pain to be a partner in God’s mission. Yet you find, Eve not ready to stand up for her commitment and the call that God had given to her and because of her unfaithfulness and the unwillingness to bear the cost, her life ends up in disaster. On the contrary Mary is ready to bear the pain, willing to bear the cost for the purpose and the commitment that God wanted her in her life. When Mary responds by saying “ I am the Lord’s servant” [ Luke 2: 38], it states her willingness to bear the cost, irrespective of its challenges, the pain that is involved in bearing the cost. It is this attitude of Mary, that makes Elizabeth to call her “ You are the  most blessed of all woman and blessed is the child you bear” [ Luke 2: 43]. This advent season we can be either like Eve or Mary.  Willing to pay a price that God demands so that our life become blessed and meaningful or run away from God and also not willing to bear the cost that God wants us in our life thus making our life a mediocre living and existence.

Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla