Words of Gratitude
Dearly beloved in Christ Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. First of all, I thank the Lord God almighty who gave the opportunity to address you all in the News Letter of New York Ebenezer Mar Thoma Church. I thank all the members of this Parish for the love and care extended to me and my family. And I also express my sincere gratitude to all for making us to be a part of your family and fellowship.
Lent season is a very significant in the life and activities of the church which enables to introspect and rededicate ourselves to God. Lent is also a time for lending our blessings of gifts to the needy and identify ourselves with suffering communities and the oppressed. Many Church leaders like Martin Luther, the great protestant church reformer was touched by our Lord during the lent season to be committed to their calling of God.
Lent season is a time of repentance. “Metonoiao” in Greek means turning from our folly to God, accepting His will in our lives for his ministry. It also refers to spring season, falling of the old leaves of and blossoming of new leaves, indicating the renewal of life, and spirituality. Lent enumerates the church to meditate upon Christ and his suffering on the cross which would bring spiritual revolution in the lives of believers in and through the scripture in our faith journey.
Lent season is a time of Reconciliation which brings peace and joy among the individuals and corporate. The word used in Greek for Reconciliation ‘apokatallassein’ refers to bringing two parties into peaceful relation or bringing together friends, who have been estranged or hostile.
God is the reconciler and we are reconciled through our Lord Jesus Christ Eph.2:11-22). Since God loved us by giving His only begotten son, to sacrifice his life on the cross, Jesus paid price for our sins and pleased God through his sacrificial death. For in him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell unto him to reconcile to himself all things, whether in earth or in heaven making peace by the blood of his cross (Col.1:20).
St. Paul realized this fact and experienced this meaning of reconciliation through Christ. He shared this message with Ephesians, as how this alienated gentile became children of God through faith in Christ and became one with Christ and with one another. Jesus abolished the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace and he might reconcile us both to God in body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. Our Lord created new age of fellowship among the brethren that they are no longer strangers or aliens but the fellow citizens with the saints and members of the house hold of God. In Him the believers are being built together in the dwelling place of God by the Spirit.
Reconciliation ministry is a finished ministry through the death and resurrection of our Lord and our duty is to cooperate with God’s plan to be engaged in the mission to the world. It needs repentance and accepting others as brothers and sisters. Reconciliation brings peace and freedom (Eph.2:14-17; Gal.5:1) and also it enables not to receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear but to receive the Spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry Abba, Father. As we are living in the pluralistic context, we cannot ignore the realities of conflicts between races, the difference of creed and colour and enmity. But we carry the vision of Christ through the gospel, in word and deed, to create a new era of fellowship, peace and justice through reconciliation ministry.
Faith is the basic factor for salvation as Paul states in Eph.2:8. We comprehend God’s presence and power is always available as long as we have faith on him and cooperate to the God’s plan in our lives and ministry. This would make us reconciled and have right relationship between God and man and fellowship among brethren. So, we need to have faith in God and also submit ourselves perfectly to the will of God as ambassadors of Christ to extend God’s kingdom in this world. May the Lord God Almighty bless our Parish and make all our efforts for His Glory and for the extension of His Kingdom.
With loving regards and prayers,
In Lord’s Ministry,
Rev. Biji Mathew