Cry for Justice

I penned the reflection SRI  LANKA I CRY FOR YOU on this blog in April 2019 just after the Easter carnage in my land.  Six bombs went off simultaneously at 6 different locations at 8.35 am on Easter Sunday 2019  – 2 in national Catholic Shrines,  1 in Zion Church, 2 in leading five star hotels and one in a guest house. 
 
In fact, the cry I referred to in my reflection penned in the first few days, turned to weeping when we found out that the government had received prior notice of the impending attacks,  and for reasons best known to them and for  political expediency, failed to protect our people.
 
The then President in fact, ‘conveniently’ left the country on ‘holiday’ two days before the attack.  Two days after the attack, the present President staked his claim to lead the country and contested the next elections. They both belong to the same political party. 
 
Questions abound … why did not the Government and the forces respond with appropriate action on the intelligence received from the Indian and US Intelligence services, which even named Zahran (who died in the attack) as the leader of the suicide mission?   
 
Despite report after report of Presidential committees and commissions interviewing hundreds of persons and ‘naming names’  of those whose negligence – wilful, intended or otherwise – resulted in the murder of 259 persons and injury to over 500,   NO JUSTICE HAS AS YET BEEN SERVED. 
 
WHY?  
 
POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY!  Divide and rule politics? Fear mongering politics?    
 
On this day when we commemorate the second anniversary of the Easter carnage in our land,   coincidentally a significant day for the cause of justice with the landmark ruling in George Floyd’s murder when JUSTICE WAS FINALLY SERVED IN THE USA  – Thank you Lord  –   may the cries of the dead, the wounded, the living bereaved, of the Easter Carnage in Sri Lanka be heard by the Risen Christ, and justice be served without delay on those who orchestrated this murder. 
 
 Sri Lanka I cry for you  =  A reflection on the Easter Bombings

Betrayed by more than a kiss

Betrayed

Betrayed   … shouts out from the roofs, the hill tops and the vales today.

Betrayed with a kiss for 30 pieces of silver.  Open, upfront  pre-meditated,  caving into confusion.  Misled into believing it was justified. .  Then despair.  30 pieces betrayal price and then burial price. Hakeldama – field of blood.

Betrayed – let’s not stick around to see what happens to our friend, Master.  Let’s flee even naked. Then in guilt and shame they meet again . Strength in numbers and strengthened in Spirit they go out. Followers of the Way … no more afraid even of their own crucifixion.

Betrayed – One stayed close but the coals were too hot:  ‘I know not the man’.  Fear confusion … an unplanned fall.  Then weeping, remorse and gathering of resolve.  Never again to fall. A solid rock.

Betrayed – self righteous arrogance, fearing a change in status quo points to a ‘blasphemer’.  Then smug satisfaction at having ‘saved’ the nation.  In reality having saved their positions.

Betrayed – a conscience niggles, this man is innocent.  Courage fails.  expediency prevails.  Washing of hands.  I won’t do it – do it yourself.  A good man surrenders to public opinion.  Silent.  He could have stopped it.

Betrayed – miracles, healing, words of wisdom and saving grace – yet no one springs to his defence,  gives witness to the truth. . Did they repent,  return to Him?  The Books are silent.

But  I have the benefit of HIS STORY –  of a Resurrection,  a Pentecost and a 2000+year old faith.   Despite this …. it continues ….

Betrayal  .day in day out, day in day out … by the choices I make.    Judas, Apostles, Peter, Priests, Pilate, Rabble Rousers, and ingratiate recipients of grace …  bits of all of them reflected in me. ..

(INot sure how this post reappeared in my drafts box when it was posted in 2018 – reposting it.)

Image Credit: http://truthbook.com/urantia-book/paper-183-the-betrayal-and-arrest-of-jesus

Lord, in the years that are left to me ….

I recently came across this reflective poem by “Unknown Author”  Curious, I googled and found it is attributed to Martha Snell Nicholson. who has written many beautiful poems on Christ and salvation.   Sharing this one which is my prayer too. 

 His Plan for Me
When I stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ
And He shows His plan for me,
The plan of my life as it might have been
Had He had His way – and I see
How I blocked Him here, and checked Him there,
And I would not yield my will,
Will there be grief in my Savior’s eyes,
Grief though He loves me still?
Would He have me rich and I stand there poor,
Stripped of all but His grace,
While memory runs like a hunted thing,
Down the paths I cannot retrace.
Lord, of the years that are left to me
I give them to Thy hand
Take me and break me and mould me,
To the pattern that Thou hast planned!
Amen !!

Are you intimidated by another ?

“A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by man.”  
Leonard Ravenhill

Reminds me of the bible character David  –  a young shepherd boy who went forward to slay the mighty Philistine giant Goliath when everyone else was too afraid to combat him. 

David refused all armour offered by the King and went forward armed with just a sling. 

The rest as they say is history. 

David and Goliath

Source: https://letterpile.com/poetry/David-and-Goliath

  Those who walk in the shadow of the Almighty God need fear no man.

Led to Christ by ISIS — A Lawyer’s Prayers

I pass along to you an amazing story by Yuliya Talmazan of NBC News about how ISIS is – inadvertently – leading Syrian Muslims to Christ. Praise God! “Four years have passed since the Islamic State group’s fighters were run out of Kobani, a strategic city on the Syrian-Turkish border [northeast of Aleppo], but the militants’ […]

via Led to Christ by ISIS — A Lawyer’s Prayers

This post by Anna Waldherr strengthens and encourages a community reeling and grieving from horrific bombings – three churches and three hotels targeting those celebrating the Easter message.

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not put it out.” John 1.5

Sri Lanka I cry for you

Fairest of lands

Graced with azure skies and  tranquil seas – Rolling hills and green gold – tea.

Leopard, elephant, whales blue – fauna of every hue;

Tainted now with shades of red, where innocent blood was shed.

Pearl of the Indian Ocean, you were just beginning to raise your head

after the civil war drained you of your very life

with bullets and bombs filled with lead

over foolish egoist ethnic strife.

Pearl of the Indian Ocean, you were just beginning to raise your head,

to shine to glow to beckon –

“2019 Destination”  Lonely Planet said.

with rave reviews from far and wide, well deserved oh Land of mine – 

for peace brought out the best of you, paradise isle by God’s design.

And one cruel morn was all it took to dash our hopes and smite our hearts;

8.45 am one sacred Easter morn our very souls were torn apart

For with vicious taint unknown in a land that had seen it all –

Evil exploded heinous bombs for my Christian brothers and neighbours to fall,

In pools of blood, their breaths stilled, or breathing still with loss of limb.

The dead, the wounded intermingled

Along with the blood of the perpetrator.

Sacred space profaned as you entered to test the faith.

Grieving souls, holding on, letting go.

What were your thoughts I wonder as you tousled the head of the little girl?

Humanity unwittingly slipped through your zombie like action

that left destruction in your wake

as you pursued your brainwashed ideology.

A nation mourns for we have lost our children

and once again we have lost

Our innocence, our peace, our hopes and dreams

I cry for you Sri Lanka.   Do you cry with me ??

I pray for you Sri Lanka, that you may overcome;

that you will meet hate with love and understanding

to turn back the tide of evil snatching our youth and our lives;

I pray for you Sri Lanka,  that you will not again

traverse the road we travelled before.

and that our children may continue to dream, and hope, and build.

I pray for you Sri Lanka, that we will “fight to maintain the peace”

if there be such an expression ….

Fight within our inner beings to rise above judgement

of the misguided youth who let zeal overthrow love.

I pray for you Sri Lanka, that you guard your children well

so  they will not stray into the folds of evil ones –

but will choose good over evil, peace over war and love above hate.

If this too be your prayer, will you pray with me Sri Lanka?

Easter carnage in my land

We are shattered, numb with shock.  The spectre of hate and war has raised its head again in my land and on this holy of holy days. Easter Sunday, when thousands were gathered in churches to worship the Risen Lord,  bombs exploded in three of the most visited Shrines – and in three hotels celebrating Easter brunch.

The death toll in the first 3 hours has risen to 180 and hundreds more injured.

The day started off as a day of peace and promise as we had a simple traditional meal Continue reading

Jesus and the Cross

Jesus and the Cross

My post WHY THE CROSS? is my most read post with relatively the least number of comments,  making me somewhat uneasy on my message  which is a bit controversial  – starting off as it does with a heretical questioning of the meaning of the statement “Jesus died to save us from our sins.” and my reflections on what I think it means. 

I’ve had concerns whether I was propounding a heretical view which few wished to comment on,  or maybe reader just moved on leaving me to my idiosyncratic beliefs without engaging in dialogue on this one. 🤔

I was thus happy to read Richard Rohr’s reflection on “Jesus and the Cross – Substitutionary Atonement”  which threw some light on my seemingly heretical thinking.  Rohr, a reputed Jesuit priest lucidly answers the questions I had :

For most of church history, no single consensus prevailed on what Christians mean when we say, “Jesus died for our sins.” But in recent centuries, one theory did become mainstream. It is often referred to as the “penal substitutionary atonement theory,” especially once it was further developed during the Reformation. [1] Substitutionary atonement is the theory that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished in the place of humans, thus satisfying the “demands of justice” so that God could forgive our sins.

and takes up the subject with

both excitement and trepidation because I know that substitutionary atonement is central to many Christians’ faith. But the questions of why Jesus died and what is the meaning and message of his death have dominated the Christian narrative, often much more than his life and teaching. As some have said, if this theory is true, all we needed were the last three days or even three hours of Jesus’ life. In my opinion, this interpretation has kept us from a deep and truly transformative understanding of both Jesus and Christ.

Read Richard Rohr’s  full reflection on Jesus and the Cross, the theology of substitutionary atonement (direct link) or post copied below.   He speaks with authority of knowledge and wisdom and his reflections on his website Center for Action and Contemplation – are wonderful spiritual insights.

I am sure you will find plenty to reflect on as we enter into this holiest of weeks.

May you be blessed with the peace and love of Christ.

Image:  Various sources on the internet.  No clear copyright owner. No intention to violate copyright laws.

Jesus and the Cross

Substitutionary Atonement
Sunday, February 3, 2019

For most of church history, no single consensus prevailed on what Christians mean when we say, “Jesus died for our sins.” But in recent centuries, one theory did become mainstream. It is often referred to as the “penal substitutionary atonement theory,” especially once it was further developed during the Reformation. [1] Substitutionary atonement is the theory that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished in the place of humans, thus satisfying the “demands of justice” so that God could forgive our sins.

This theory of atonement ultimately relies on another commonly accepted notion—the “original sin” of Adam and Eve, which, we were told, taints all human beings. But much like original sin (a concept not found in the Bible but developed by Augustine in the fifth century), most Christians have never been told how recent and regional this explanation is or that it relies upon a retributive notion of justice. Nor are they told that it was honest enough to call itself a “theory,” even though some groups take it as long-standing dogma.

Unfortunately, this theory has held captive our vision of Jesus, making our view very limited and punitive. The commonly accepted atonement theory led to some serious misunderstandings of Jesus’ role and Christ’s eternal purpose, reaffirmed our narrow notion of retributive justice, and legitimated a notion of “good and necessary violence.” It implied that God the Father was petty, offended in the way that humans are, and unfree to love and forgive of God’s own volition. This is a very untrustworthy image of God which undercuts everything else.

I take up this subject with both excitement and trepidation because I know that substitutionary atonement is central to many Christians’ faith. But the questions of why Jesus died and what is the meaning and message of his death have dominated the Christian narrative, often much more than his life and teaching. As some have said, if this theory is true, all we needed were the last three days or even three hours of Jesus’ life. In my opinion, this interpretation has kept us from a deep and truly transformative understanding of both Jesus and Christ.

Salvation became a one-time transactional affair between Jesus and his Father, instead of an ongoing transformational lesson for the human soul and for all of history. I believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is a revelation of the infinite and participatory love of God, not some bloody payment required by God’s offended justice to rectify the problem of sin. Such a story line is way too small and problem-oriented.

References:
[1] This week I will use the phrase “substitutionary atonement” to indicate the most current version of the theory. Throughout Christian history, there have been multiple theories of substitutionary atonement. One of the earliest, the ransom theory, originated with Origen and the early church. Closely related to this was the Christus Victor theory. The ransom view of atonement was the dominant theory until the publication of Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo? (Why Did God Become Human?) at the end of the 11th century. Anselm’s satisfaction theory of atonement then became dominant until the Reformed tradition introduced penal substitution in the 16th century. This new view of substitutionary atonement emphasized punishment over satisfaction (Jesus’ crucifixion as a substitute for human sin) and paralleled criminal law. Today, the phrase “substitutionary atonement” is often (correctly or incorrectly) used to refer to the penal theory of atonement. This week’s meditations touch the surface of 2,000 years of complex theological process.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 139-141.

The night of love ….

Love one another

Image Credit : http://freefaithgraphics.com/2015/01/love-one-another/

…. that final night of Jesus’s life on earth – as he prepared to bid farewell to his friends.  He knew that on the morrow, their grief and loss at the loss of their Master, ‘Rabboni’,  would be compounded by fear and confusion;  their world – which began with a triumphant entry into Jerusalem just five days previously, would come tumbling down.

How can he console them, comfort them, give them hope that all is not lost.   How can he assure them of His love for them and the Father’s love ?

How would you say farewell to friends and family if you know you are going to die the next day ?

I’d like to share a previous post on the words of love that kept pouring out of Our Lord as he gazed on his disciples gathered around him in person for the last time.    Please click on the link which shares how our Master bid farewell to his friends,  and his instructions and guidance to us.

Can you feel the love tonight