Crossing neutral horizons..
Man, that shiny, sparkling trophy in God’s breathtaking cabinet called ‘earth’, is undoubtedly the most wonderful of all His creations. Fashioned in His own image and likeness, man reflects God in every aspect of his being. He is the apple of God’s eye, His most cherished achievement. Just a look around oneself should invoke a feeling of the presence of God. It should lead one to the acceptance of that ultimate reality, which places man at the pinnacle of God’s creation. However, the thought that each one of us is a living replica of God is tough to digest, because we have not been able to sync our lives with the holiness that He emanates nor have we been able to keep a purity that He expects from us.
Let’s be frank and ask ourselves.. Have we ever tried looking for God within ourselves? Have we tried looking for Him in others around us? I guess that the answer is a big NO! The reasons as to why we avoid such a search can range from our inability to look beyond the external beauty of people, to our inability to overlook the miniscule faults & shortcomings of others. Once we unravel the shroud of negativity that covers our vision & understanding, then, the mystery behind God’s amazing creation of man will become clear to us. It is then that we will be able to visualize God at work, building His masterpiece out of nothing.
The Genesis account of the creation story tells us that God breathed into the nostrils of man, the breath of life. I believe that along with life, He breathed into man, the breath of love. He used love in order to perfect us and it is love that pleased Him and made Him feel that everything about His creation was good.
God’s very essence is love and it is out of this abounding love that He devotes so much mercy and grace upon us. Only someone content with their creation can devote so much time and energy to it as God has. The best part about His work is the perfection that He has exhibited through us. Such is His perfection that it is not limited to the external, visible frame but it extends right into the internal, invisible network of emotions & feelings, thoughts & ideas, dreams & visions, which together make a man. It is this perfection of God that blends and balances; the body, mind and soul in such an exquisite manner, one which man has unwittingly tried to replicate through cloning and other methods, but has time & again failed.
This leaves us with certain questions. Can we ever comprehend the complexity of His mind? Can we ever wholly understand the beauty of His thoughts? Can we ever fathom the depth of His love or figure the reach of His perfection? Truly, our mind is not meant to be pushed in the direction of a futile quest to uncover the mystery behind God. Rather, as the Apostle Paul says, all we need to do in our lives is to ‘let the Spirit of God guide us about.’
Now, when one looks at the beauty around, that God has created, one is filled with a sense of awe, one is overcome with emotions of joy and gripped by a feeling of gratitude that we too have been considered worthy enough to be part of His master plan. Such is the level of craftsmanship that he has exhibited, that His essence is reflected in everything around us, and yet, it is so perfectly hidden from us. Pure genius! That is the only thing one can say about it, especially, when one cannot stop counting the wonders that are encountered each moment as one explores His creation.
Today, we are in an age where we have achieved great things in technological terms and even greater things when it comes to material prosperity. In such times and situations, it is painful to find that our achievements have not been able to take us beyond the realms of wealth and technology to achieve anything spiritually. With the surge forward that man has made in every arena of life, it is a shame that our social interactions and relations, especially with the marginalized and ostracized in the society have not undergone any positive transformation. The needy and suffering are still treated with contempt and neglect just as they were, centuries ago. This is the state of affairs even when the Psalmist tells us, ‘blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life.’ (Psalm 41:1-2) How much more motivation do we need to help and serve the weak to the best of our abilities?
It cannot be denied that today, we are more aware of the problems faced by these people, the situations that have destroyed their lives and the injustice being meted out to them in the name of ‘justice’. However, this awareness aside, we still continue to let our prejudices rule us, we tend to behave indifferently and are largely ignorant to their cries of pain and suffering. Even as their cries keep getting louder & louder, all we can do is adapt with the rising level of these voices. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, there is a passage where he ……... ‘the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of crisis’. How true could he have been!
When people are suffering and dying all around us, we are still in the hangover of certain wrong notions of an already washed out past. Unfortunately, these popular, yet wrong ideas still continue to rule our society in a dominative way, determining our approach to ourselves, to others and even to God. When God created each one of us in His image & likeness, when He created us in the principle of equality, how can we value an individual’s worth on the basis of certain societal norms like caste, class, creed, gender? Who are we to see others in poor light when God saw everything as ‘good’? Where does such a detrimental attitude stem from? We need to find the answers to these questions and build ourselves to address them with a strong hand. This is why the search for God in others around us becomes so important. If details about such a search existed in our textbooks, then our society would not have encountered the tragedy of a Nirbhaya or the boiling communal tensions that rocked a village like Muzzafar-nagar. It is in this age, when we are becoming indifferent and ignorant about our fellow beings, that this search gains urgency. It is in times such as these that this search becomes meaningful. Let’s start by asking ourselves, ‘what can we do to change this attitude?’
We can wipe out these negative ideas, which sow the seeds of distrust and disharmony, starting with ourselves. Only then can we survive the wearing down of humanity into a mere mechanical gadget, controlled by the ageless horrors of the so-called ‘civilized’ world. Today if we sit back and keep watching as spectators, then that day will not be far, when all will be lost for one and all. It hardly needs mention, the backlashes and catastrophic uproars that such a fall would bring upon the existing social order. We do not need a disaster to remind us that it is time to act; it is definitely time to change. Only if such a change happens can we face tomorrow without guilt, without shame. This is where the reality of our Christian calling must be understood.
It must be our mission to stop the meltdown of values into ‘use & throw’ products that find purpose for existence according to convenience and are disposed when that purpose is served. Our effort must be put into the revival of the social structure from the bygone days when a stroll through the Garden of Eden was a reality. Our effort must be placed in reviving the breath of love that God breathed into us, which we have conveniently replaced with the breath of evil. Let us not forget that we have been called to carry the Gospel of love & peace, to bridge the gap between people and thus, to bring forth heaven on earth through our lives. For this, we need to develop human relations of a different kind, where we can extend ourselves to identify with people of the lower strata. We need to break the barriers that separate people and connect them in an unbreakable bond, that is, the bond of love. Just as evil was washed over in the days of Noah and the world started afresh, we need to wash out these differences that have created all the animosity and make a fresh start in a bond of trust & love.
What we need right now is to build strong meaningful fellowships. We have all been invited by God to come together and enjoy the fruits of an intimate bond with Him through one another. No one is excluded from this, because, it is an all-inclusive call of God. We must use love and plaster the cracks that have appeared in the walls of ‘oneness’ and restore the perfect humanity in which we were created. We need to drive in a new socio – political – economic – religious setting where each one is treated as an image and likeness of God, as one among them, rather than a misfit or a freak of nature. This reality that we are all ONE before God must be pressed into our minds and kept at the forefront of all our activities. If we strive to achieve this, we may be able to avoid the pits of prejudice, ignorance and indifference that lie on our path to all social interactions. Then, our eyes will be opened to the reality, of the presence of God within us and within those around us. Only then will we be able to understand the true value of life that God has gifted us all. Only then will we actually enjoy God’s warmth and continuous presence in every work that we do. Only then will we actually enjoy His love, grace and mercy that work so closely in our lives.
No more should we wait and no more should we find any excuses. My friends, let’s start working from this moment itself and ensure that this world becomes a better place to live. Only, as we set out to do all this, let’s keep one thing in mind. Whatever we do, ‘Do everything in love.’(Corinthians 16:14)
DN. AASHU ALEXANDER
DN. AASHU ALEXANDER