MY DREAM ABOUT THE UNITY OF CHURCHES
DR. GEEVARGHESE MAR OSTHATHIOS
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. [Song of Songs 4:16]
When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.... The Lord hath done great things for them. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. [Psalms 126]
In the cited scripture portion the Psalmist dreams about the return of all the Diaspora Zionist from the captivity of all invaders. It was with reference to some great and surprising deliverance of the people of God out of bondage and distress in alien lands. The dream of the Psalmist had come true. Lord had done great things among them. The King proclaimed liberty to Godís captives, and it was the Lordís wonder doing, according to His word many years before. It was a pleasing surprise to the whole nation. The sudden surprise led them into such an ecstasy that they started singing thanksgiving Psalms. The Mighty One has done great things for them. The same dream is to apply to a deliverance and reunion wrought for our contemporary Church. It is my dream to see a Church united. I wish to see my dream get fondly realized: for nothing will be impossible with God.
The entrusted mission of the Church is huge and wide. Our commissioned mission is not to be confined for a small territory, but as per the instruction of Lord it is to be widened to neighboring lands, neighboring states neighboring countries and further to the extreme end of the world. We must accommodate ourselves to all the dispensations of Providence and be suitably affected with them. Church needs charitable and educational institutions to meet its call for charity and to enlighten the mind of the folks.
The Church, the bride of Jesus Christ is given with a beautiful garden by her bridegroom, Lord Jesus Christ. This garden should be pleasant and fruitful bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit as per the wish of her spouse. She owns her dependence upon Christ Himself to make this garden fruitful. The church transmits the praise to Christ, and says to Him, All my springs are in thee; thou art the well of living waters. She implores the influences of the blessed Spirit to make this garden fragrant. Awake, O north wind! and come, thou south with plentiful effusion of the Spirit upon it. This is her prayer! We ought therefore to awake and work united to produce spices in these gardens and to spread the fragrance ushered in by a mighty wind.
The numbers of agnostics, atheist and skeptics are growing tremendeously in the society. If we do not empower and reinforce the hands of the Church to accomplish the commission of our Lord, it will be a great disloyalty on our part. Skepticism and mundaneness are the great challenges for the Church in the contemporary world. Church should be capable to face it boldly with love of Christ and with spiritual ardency. Charitable missions and poverty abolition strategies are a must to this cause. So we should aim to mastermind organizations and institutions to accomplish the tasks involved it.
Church should seriously realize the severity of the crisis of unemployment and poverty and it should choke out hectic action plans to put more efforts for the eradiation process. Church should embark on projects to build housing units for the poor. Church should take initiatives to provide medical care for the sick and the poor. Church should also open amenities for the higher education of the children. It should be a great responsibility of wealthy parishes to distribute their God-given wealth for these common causes. Wealth of the Parish should be the wealth of the Church and wealth of Church should be the wealth of the people and eventually it should be for the betterment and growth of society and Church.
There should be ample amenities for rendering training to the youth for ecclesiastical and charitable work. The trained youth volunteers are to be sent to alien fields where their service is most wanted. The clergies should be well trained. For the sake of the spiritual integrity there should be migration of the serving people from south to north and north to south. Let them produce good fruits spread everywhere in the Garden of Lord.
Let our Lord make us to return from the captivity of weeping and mourning. Once our captivity is turned, we can resume our harps; Providence will pipe for us and we will dance. We should go ahead with this great vision. Psalmist prays earnestly to return as the streams of south. The streams of the south are the streams in the desert. When the water flows through these streams the thirsty living beings on the both side of the stream rush to drink as the hart pants after the water brooks. Gracious desires are strong and fervent.
Let the church be with still water of blessings of God in the midst of the desertedness of this world. Let thousands drink from this still stream. To realize all these dreams we need the unity in the Church between the North and the South. All should work together with spiritual energy. This is a great necessity for restoring our sacred interests, and for revival of the public exercise of our Church. The northern wind and the southern wind should blow together to raise the sweet fragrance from the Church. Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden to give fragrance to the world.
[This dream of saintly Mar Osthathios is a bit old one. Most part of his dream are already fulfilled; though paradoxically, most of them by the efforts of his own hands. The crucial part of his dream, reconciliation and unity in the Church, rather currently it is between the Churches, still remains as an unfulfilled dream only. The conflicts and hatredness between Churches are a big paining wound in the hearts of all peace-loving believers concerned. Imagine, how big the wound it will be in the body of Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior who gave His earthly body for our salvation? Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. It is high time for the Church to concentrate on the mansions which Jesus had promised us that He went to prepare a place for us, instead of aspiring for the perishing mansions on this earth. - LOL]
[The Original Article is in Malayalam : Translated for by Dr. Rajan Mathew Philadelphia, USA]