Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
“Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2).
It is with lots of praise and thanks to the God Almighty, that I write this message. Chicago Mar Thoma Church and Youth Fellowship group was able to host the 39th Diocesan Youth Fellowship Conference (DYFC) at Trinity College, Deerfield. Chicago Mar Thoma Youth Group has done a marvelous job to fulfill the commitment that was bestowed upon them. I appreciate all those who have served the Lord with their time, talent and treasures for the fruitful organization of the conference.
DYFC 2018 was a great event and platform for the youths of different parishes to gather together to praise God and renew their faith in Jesus Christ and to rededicate their lives to serve the Lord in this world. The presence, leadership and messages of our Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos Thirumeni was a great encouragement and energized the participants to attempt great things for God and expect great things from God in the future.
Mar Thoma Church is an apostolic, biblical, historical, reformed, eastern and ecumenical church. The reformation in the Church has been an attempt to delve into the foundations of Bible to declare Jesus Christ as the savior and mediator between God and human. Fixing into the core theological and ethical principles of the Bible, Church made changes in the liturgy and practices. The prayers in the liturgy were made more biblical and historical. This way of Re-forming of faith and practices happened in the Church in 1836 is titled as “reformation.”
Reformation is re-formation of faith, renewal of spiritual life and reclaiming of Christian identity. According to Romans 12:1-2, reformation is an act of repentance and reorientation of our perceptions and perspectives. Reformation is the process of transformation of body, mind and intelligence according to the will of God to submit ourselves as the “living sacrifices.” ‘Living sacrifice’ doesn’t mean simply the resources we share but it is the ‘life’ we orient to transform the world. In the process of transformation, the experience of sacrifices is involved.
However, we are everyday propelled to experience luxury and pomp without referring to the pain and burden of our brothers and sisters. Life is made safe and secure by the dazzling amusement of prosperity. On the other hand, world is ruled by the philosophies and practices of hate and violence. Marketing of hate and violence has become the business of
the world. People suffering under the yoke of hate and violence is the new multitude yearning for life. The cry of the wounded children and the tears of their mothers is the new prayer heard around the world. Every heart is throbbing with some pain and agony. For some people, pain and agony is the result of rejection of love and yet for others it happens because of anxiety.
The thought of crucified Christ and the expressions of cross are slowly disappearing from our lived experiences. Reformation informs us to transform our self by holding the cross of Christ and to share our life for the others. The world is waiting for a ‘Messiah’ who can redeem the world.
Church is the body of Christ instituted to declare the hope of a Messiah and called out to transform the world. As a parish our call is to transform the world and our community through worship and witness activities of the Church.
Let’s pray for the forthcoming events and activities of the parish like harvest festival (Aug 18), Sunday school classes (Aug 26) and family retreat (Sept 28-30). I encourage all parish members to actively participate in all these activities and be blessed.
May the Grace, Mercies and Blessings of our God be with you all, In the Lord’s Ministry,
Rev. Shiby Varughese P.