Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
CHRISTIAN PRESENCE IN NATION BUILDINGSt. Luke 3:8(a) “produce fruit in keeping with repentance”
1 Tim 2:1-2 “I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Gandhiji or M.K.Gandhi a constitutional architect of Indian democracy along with Dr.B.R Ambedkar held an important role throughout his life and example in shaping the minds of the Indian people towards making the nation more a Christian wise democratic one. Gandhiji being a law student in England in the 19th century was handed a bible and he read Jesus’ teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. And he recounts “the sermon on the mount which went straight to my heart.” in his book Story of my experiments with Truth, 1927 p.63. He imbued Jesus teaching into his own life and refined it into a political force in the non-violent non-cooperation movement known as Satyagraha. He used that to gain independence from British rule in India.
This is more a direct influence of Christian teachings on a “non-Christian” statesmanlike Gandhiji in nation-building than a Christian presence would influence. But it is good to revisit the past to reflect on where all Indians stand now when we celebrate 75th Independence Day this year. The portions that we cover in the lectionary today discuss different dimensions of Christian influence in nation-building. Christians can leave an impression here and there in what they do and think, be it anywhere in the world.
1) By Becoming Sign Boards of Truth:-
Luke chap 3 mentions of John the Baptist from the book of Isaiah “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” John the Baptist’s influence went far and wide as he stood alone for the truth and he in turn used his influence to point others towards Jesus the greater Truth. As the prophets of past centuries, John the Baptist preached and it pricked their conscience of sinful existence. And the guilt of their sin as he exhorted must convert them to changed lives and produce good fruit. The fruit he intends here must be the same fruit of the spirit that Ap. Paul mentions in Gal 5:22-23 Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The changed lives with these fruits must in turn influence the people who live for the world but it is easily said than done. Christians may face more hardships to churn out such a good character. There are exemplary Christians at every age like Fr. Stan Swamy a tribal human rights activist who stood for truth and in his persecution as also in death made every heads turn. Abraham Lincoln the previous U.S. President realized slavery and racialism are evil and that all humans are the same they deserve respect, freedom, and dignity despite their different skin colors. He worked to abolish slavery and contributed to the greater good of humanity. They are well fit for Jesus’ statement that you are salt of the earth and you are the light of the world. Their good fruit infuses Godliness and Holiness in the society they live in and preserves from rot. How far we can live up to the signboards of truth?
2) By being models of sharing and caring
In I Tim 2:1-2 Ap. Paul Urges Timothy (maybe for all readers of this letter) that Petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all kinds of people including Kings and those in administrative offices in prayer. Koinonia is the Greek word for the fellowship of believers. A baptized believer or an infant is nurtured in faith by the fellowship of the church or the worshipping community. The early Christian community became the best model of caring and sharing. The members of the community care and the burdens are shared by helping and interceding for each other. As we know Lord’s Table becomes the center of fellowship for all believers and the Love of the Great Shepherd Jesus is the basis of the fellowship in the Christian community. This Sharing is usually extended to the society they live in and to the needy wherever it is possible. Fourth Century Christians were said to have distributed free food to more than twenty thousand poor people daily. Hence Christians contribute a lot to the nation’s governance by helping the poor in many ways. There are many examples to site like Barnardo homes in England was begun as a neighborhood mission, building homes for the orphans and the destitute by Barnardo with the help of Lord Shaftsbury then mayor of England. MarThoma church’s Home for the homeless project was adopted by Kerala Govt. as the Laksham Veedu project to help the needy. Sure Christians help in the greater good of the nation and this, in turn, helps in the building of God’s kingdom but are we sure this continues to the next generation?
Lord help us to be the signboards of truth to preserve our society from rot and to continue the legacy of caring and sharing for the good of our nation and the greater good of your Kingdom. Amen
Thought for the Day
Rom 13:1 - Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Asst.Vicar and Youth Chaplain
Chicago MarThoma church,