God, not a programmed machine
Human beings’ existence revolves around God and the world. Ever since human became aware about the cosmos and the number of wonders that surrounded him, he began to have some kind of an idea about a force. For that matter, every religionhas its focus on something powerful. It is to that power humans submit for aid, security and overall well-being.
I am inspired to write this article taking to account the prevalent situationin Nagaland. Today, we have number of persons who wander for personal gain under the disguise of prophets, good news bearer.We, who have lot to understand about our own mysterious life, cannot conceive easily something beyond the physical comprehension and treat as if God be some kind of a pet. A good number of people consider God to be some kind of a machine where we utter something and God replies according to the formulas chanted. Let me make it clear that God is not a sort of programmed machinewhich operates on human command. He is beyond space and time. He does not operate within the territory of human conventions and other natural laws. He cannot be proved precisely and uniformly.
The way things happen make me and many feel that there are some wanderers under the disguise of prophets for material gain by bringing good news to the rich for hope of good benefit. Unfortunately this is intensifying. It seems to me that God conveys message only to the rich and self-proclaimed powerful. This is however not justified in a world of mystery. We must live a dignified life by being truthful and honest human beings. A senior medical practitioner once told me that two persons approached him saying that God wanted him to contest the forthcoming general election. He said to me that he had to overlook the message. Every vocation/ profession is a gift and we need to bloom in the vocation/profession we are planted. Sometimes, we can make lots of error by supposing that we do better when we have power. It is not necessarily true. Many those who supposed it had fallen miserably in life.
God speaks mostly in ways we never thought of. He speaks to us not the way we want Him to speak to us. It is because God is all powerful and does not need the opinion of the fragile ordinary. One fine example is Moses infront of the burning bush. When Moses asked who are you? God replied:I am who I am. In other words, it is none of your business to ask who I am. The idea of God’s existence is at our faith level and is not easily explainable in human language. Our language is too limited to explain the unseeable.As prove to it, we still keep defining God because we have not encountered Him face to face. We may see dreams that could signal about the future. Certain things may come to pass, others may not. It is also not wise to live fully in dreams because dreams works mostly on the sense data bombarded during the waking hours. Hunt for power, position, wealth etc.is one of the main reasons that ignites conflict in our land. Many people are taking up prophesying as a kind of job. It is dangerous because it misleads and divides. God is not a toy to be played with. Moreover we just can’t play with another life. It is the greatest of all gifts a person can cherish.
Often visiting the small villages on missionary journeys, I come across the stratified ordinary getting confused whom to believe. Many church leaders seem to work on number rather than preaching and living the message of Christ.Some leaders go door to door canvassing to make sure their members do not escape to other faiths. It is very irrational to preach something like; following this faith will lead you to hell etc. We must learn to shut our mouth to things that we do not know. A certain reverend in one of the big meetings of a tribe called aside a group of leaders of a village. He exhorted them saying, can’t you make some effort to dissolve the school of a particular denomination?We have obligation to preach and live the message of Christ. What is this message? It is none other than Love: the greatest of all commandments. But many of our leaders are off-path most often by preaching against the other. It is not our business to preach against the other faith but we need to strengthen the faith we profess with love as its icon and foundation. But I cannot deny about the importance of knowing the history and tradition of Christianity because it is basically a traditional religion. It did not come up all of a sudden through the process of evolution. It has a recorded history.
Sometimes our people make great lot of mistakes in exalting our leaders by raising them to high pedestals supposing them to be super beings and consuming everything that they preach as gospel truth. It is wrong. A reverend or for that matter anyone who happens to be a leader of a church need not assume himself/herself to be someone more refined than the other. Often error is arrived at in this regard supposing oneself to be so. Every Christian is called to be holy and pure in the sight of God.
We must keep in mind that we live in a world where there are evils that govern to a great extent. We must never suppose every dream to be prophecy. There are chances for evils to deceive under the disguise of the Holy Spirit. No doubt, a prophet is very much honoured but looking for ways to receive worldly honours by trying to be one,does not only mislead society but indicates that such a person has not matured in spiritual life. In fact, this kind of hunt is dividing the society rather than uniting.In the absence of unity, there is absence of Holy Spirit. Christ prayed for unity of his followers (John 17:11). St. Paul, one of the greatest missionaries of all times himself exhorted the early Christians to be one(1 Corinthians 1: 10-13).
Sometime back in 2007, a man got up from his seat and went to the pulpit to preach. He began; I thank God for I am not a Catholic, a Hindu, etc…etc. but a Christian (this man believed that the faith he profess alone offers salvation). Our people were brainwashed by the pioneers. Though they brought Christ message to the people, they were a little selfish in glorifying their sect. As Christians we need to preach the truth. Christ himself commanded: speak the truth and the truth will set you free. Unless we are able to speak the truth, we are no followers of Christ.
At the moment, the nature of prophesy in Nagaland is; good news for the rich and influential, warning, threats for the rustics/ordinary. This is childish game. This is irrational. We can’t manipulate God for our selfish wants. Becareful, He will destroy you. In a certain village, the so-called prophets are made to declare certain names to be church officials. The idea is that if people are told that it is God who wants them, no one questions. These are some of the realities that are prevalent though silly. We must rise up to question some of these irrational behaviours of our people.
May we all live this mysterious life meaningfully by being good and truthful human beings.
Vekupa Rhakho George
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