I greet you in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Our Parish is celebrating its forty years of togetherness. At this juncture it is pertinent that we observe this year as a year of thanksgiving. Let us together thank God for guiding the Parish to be a “life giving stream in the wilderness”. The months of September and October are significant in our church lectionary as we have special Sundays allotted to all the organizations of our church, thereby the organizations of the Parish are given an integral part in leading the worship services in various capacities. The first week of September is observed as the Education Sunday. Education is a process through which one becomes humane. The core idea of education is to cultivate essential values among the learners that enable the community to grow with peace and justice. The family system in India has a long tradition of imparting value education. But with globalization and the increased use of technology that has resulted in the fast changing role of parents it has not been very easy for the parents to impart relevant values in their wards. Values like happiness, humility, cooperation, honesty, simplicity, love, unity and peace are to be transmitted through the generations.
The Second Sunday is Sevika Sanghom Sunday. The Mar Thoma Suvisesha Sevika Sanghom, the women’s wing, was inaugurated during the Maramon Convention in the year 1919, under the leadership of Abraham Mar Thoma Suffragan Metropolitan., who gave the Sanghom continued support and inspiration. The organization owes much to the self sacrificing and indefatigable work of Mrs. Kandamma Varghese as organizing Secretary for over 20 years travelling far and wide, organizing branches in parishes, doing evangelistic work among Christians and non-Christians. Women in the church need to continue the same zeal of Mrs. Kandamma and work for the women who are vulnerable, and needy in the society. It is high time to evaluate the role of women in the church since the post modern world offers respect, dignity and role in the society. On the contrary we witness the atrocities happening in the society where women are raped, abused and murdered. It is a burning question that how far women are safe in society. Respecting women begins from our home where we need to treat our children without any gender discrimination.
The Third Sunday is the Senior citizens Sunday. Old age is viewed as an unavoidable, undesirable and problem ridden phase of life. Problems of aging usually appear after the age of 60 years. Deteriorating health, malnutrition, lack of shelter, insecurity depression, senility, isolation, boredom, non-productivity, and financial inadequacy are the most common problems that senior citizens all over the world face today. Most congregations still seem to assume that "the future of the church is its youth." As we approach the recent demographic changes in the globalized world, the more accurate description may well be: "The future belongs to the old and youth." “Is your church Senior-Sensitive?” This is a pertinent question that is being raised by most of the churches. We are often unaware that senior citizens are increasing in number in our society. The structure of the church building, administration and ministry must be senior citizens friendly.
On the Fourth Sunday we remember our calling to be Christian witness among people of other faiths. Our God is a missional God (GO-D). Mission of God belongs to the very being of the church. Proclaiming the Word of God and witnessing it to the world is an essential priority for every Christian. For Christians it is a privilege and joy to give an account of the hope that is within them and to do so with gentleness and respect (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). Christian witness in a pluralistic world includes engaging in dialogue with people of different religions and cultures. Church cannot limit its ministry to one area or to one community. She needs to serve the communities or identities in which it is rooted. The new initiatives of the church to reach out to people who belong to different cultural backgrounds are the ways we share the gospel.
Through all these Sundays, may we be drawn closer to the duties and responsibilities ascribed to us by the Church through its organizations that we may grow into a Christ-centred community.
May God bless you
Sajesh Mathews Achen