MTC of Los Angeles
“ When your children ask their fathers in time to come, what these stones are for, then you shall let your children know, saying, Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land”
( Joshua 4:21-22 )
After the death of Moses , God appeared to Joshua and told him to lead the children of Israel to the promised land of Canaan. God also told him to select twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes and ask them to carry 12 stones when the waters of Jordan dried up for the passage of the children of Israel, out of the midst of the river Jordan, where the priests’ feet stood firm and set up these stones in front of the arc of the covenant in the lodging place in Gilgal, on the eastern border of Jericho. Joshua then asked the children of Israel to bear in mind that these stones were a memorial to their posterity.
Consequent upon a decision taken by our Diocesan Council and Assembly when our beloved late Zacharias Thirumeni was the Diocesan Bishop, Diaspora Sunday is being celebrated all across our North American Diocese on Sunday before Thanksgiving Day regularly from the year 2000 on. The word Diaspora is a Greek word used to designate the dispersal of the Jews at the time of the destruction of the first temple in 586 BC and their forced exile to Babylonia. The term Diaspora has also been applied to other peoples living outside their homelands. We are a perfect example. We left our homeland of Kerala and settled down in different parts of the world.
What do these two celebrations – Diaspora Sunday and Thanksgiving – have in common?
The early English settlers, pilgrims as they are often called, had to undergo enormous difficulties. The harsh voyage and the fierce winter of New England were taking their tolls. Nearly half of the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in December of 1620 died within the first few months. The native Indians were very much suspicious of the pilgrims. But the Pilgrims did not lose hope or their steadfast faith in their living God. With the onset of Spring, they planted Indian corn and in summer they had a rich harvest. The native Indians turned out to be friendly and helpful. The settlement was going to survive. And in the Fall, in a spirit of victory over awesome odds and a feeling of homesickness for the land they grew up and left behind, they had a harvest festival to thank God for all His mercies and blessings. Every year Americans observe this most typical national holiday with no real understanding of its significance or meaning. Mostly it just means a time to feast - a bountiful meal with turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.
As we celebrate Diaspora Sunday this Sunday, it is our hope and prayer that its real meaning would never be lost with the passage of time and that it would ever remain as a memorial to our posterity.
Our eternal loving Father, we thank You for Your manifold blessings and guidance in our every day lives. We particularly thank You for being with our early settlers, safeguarding them and helping them while they were struggling to establish themselves as individuals and families in different parts of this continent. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“ What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me ? I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” ( Psalm 116: 12-13 )