Witnessing the Divine Revelation
It is our bounden duty to express our faithfulness to God. We firmly believe that as the members of the Mar Thoma community, we are a called out people and are placed in a foreign land with a purpose to fulfill. Our task therefore is to live Christ through our lives and witness Christ through our action or service. The generation that struggled in establishing the Mar Thoma community in these nations are slowly phasing out. The new generation may strongly feel that they are the sons of the soil as citizens of the nations they live. Therefore the terms such as migrants or Diaspora community may not be relevant to them. Being the Mar Thoma members of a particular nation may give a new identity to them. However the culture and ethos becomes more related to the living context. How to address this phenomenon and integrate everyone under one umbrella is a challenge that we face in the Diocese of North America and Europe.
I am sure a careful study and seeking the Divine revelation is necessary at this juncture. As the Diocesan Episcope this is my plea to all our members, to keep open the doors and windows, so that fresh air may pass through and new initiatives may emerge. God will talk to us in different ways and reveal His will to do in and through our lives. We should be ready to read the signs of the time and respond positively.
St.Ephrem, the fourth century church father and theologian speaks about three modes of Divine Revelation. One is the signs in nature, second is the signs and symbols in the Scriptures and third is the Incarnate Word, that are, the Universe, the Scripture and the Incarnation.
Nature Reveals God:
The Bible at several places speaks about the nature revealing Divine majesty. God created the world through His Word. The nature is Gods activity or work. The Psalmist says, “Heavens declare the glory of God” (Psl:19:1), “O Lord our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth” (Psl:8:1-3). Paul says, “Ever since the creation of the World His eternal power and Divine nature, invisible though they are, having been understood and seen through the things He has made” ( Rom 1:20). Yes, seeing things around, how we can recognize the presence and power of God. This is something that helps the faith community to keep moving forward.
Bible Reveals God:
The Bible or scripture in the understanding of Christian community is its witness to Gods mighty acts. The Bible speaks about Gods plan of Salvation of humanity and creation. There is a divine descending to the creation in the Bible. In the Bible God has adopted human language to speak to humanity. Therefore, the names and metaphors in the Bible are not to be taken literally. One should not entirely concentrate on the metaphors and names, and misrepresent the majesty of God. God in Divine mercy clothed himself in our likeness for our benefit. So the Bible makes the Creator perceptible.
The Incarnate Son Reveals God:
The Incarnate Word reveals God. The Bible reveals the Incarnate Word who reveals God fully. The Bible bears witness to the Incarnate Word. The Ontological divide that separated God and creation is removed fully in the Incarnate Word. The words of the Old Testament are about the work of the Creator. The New Testament is about the Living Incarnate Word. In the Old Testament God puts on names, but in Incarnation God puts on flesh/body.
Thus all Scripture point and bear witness to the incarnate word. It affirms that the creation reveals Divine majesty and its names and symbols point to the infinite reality of God who is beyond the limits of human intellect. At the same time human intelligence is open to the reality of God. Therefore the relevance of the study of the word of God and the understanding of the work of the Incarnate Word is very essential in the life of the faith community. We have to be open to learn lessons by knowing the signs of the nature, need to be open to the message and meaning of scripture and committed to accept the Salvation offered through Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word.
The continuity of the church tradition is necessary for the meaningful participation and witness of the faith community. From the early stages of the Church, Tradition is referred to the transmission of Apostles teaching, which was a continuation of and reflection upon the Christ event. Tradition is the process of receiving and passing on of the faith of the church within faith communities. It helps in keeping the Gospel values with concrete expressions with varying emphases and interpretations. The responsible engagement of the members of the church will make the tradition living and the scripture relevant. It is our prayers that may God continue to strengthen us to realize the Divine revelation and lead a life in relation to Christ, in unity with renewed commitment.
Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos
The Mar Thoma Church in the North American and European continent represents the dreams and aspirations of the faithful members of the Church.
Sinai Mar Thoma Center, 2320 Merrick Avenue, Merrick, New York, 11566
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