Brother Has Come

Today is the day Z, my younger brother is going to visit my house.

It has been almost a decade since we last met. We had a big row on a tiny doctrine rightness of Christian belief. My brother, Z, a newly born again soul, was ever zealous about his own vision of the importance of the action of water baptism. However I had other thoughts. Z wouldn’t say it was his own perception, rather he would insist his belief was thoroughly based on the Bible. Back then I didn’t take water baptism and after hearing how presented the importance of it in a superior- my-way-of-belief-is-superior-than-yours, I lost any interest in it. My belief back then was to give more importance to bible study.

Fast forward ten years.

Needless to say lots of changes had happened to me and I had this new found curiosity to hear from my younger brother, Z , hence this visit. We were five years apart in age, between Z and I.

Ding Dong

Ah he is here!

With round squared spectacles, coifed hair, my younger brother, Z sat on the verandah. The dusk has set and the skies smiled like the bills of toucan.
We hugged. A reunion of chetan and anian.

“You’re taller than me as always aye!” I chuckled, patting his back.

“You’re taller than me in life experiences though, chettan”

After having exchanged our signature hellos to each other and other niceties, we had crackers with iced lemon tea.

A couple of great hornbills cooed.

“Really overjoys my heart that you accepted my invitation” I smiled in Z’s direction.

“Thank you too chetan for having me here. I did want to call and come over but somehow I feared if I would cause more hurt” Z’s shoulders seemed to have shrunk a bit.

“Take it easy aniya, bygones be bygones aye.” I nodded.

Z smiled.

I continued, “I am curious about your response to my one question though.”

“I’m all ears”

“Is the action of sinking in the water physically more important or being born again so we perceive the world in Jesus’ way of perception more important when we think of water baptism?” I asked.

Z got bit of creases on his forehead. “Perceive the world in Jesus’ way of perception…how?”

I further clarified, “You know how money is to be seen as a tool and not a master and other things like that.”

A moment passed. I heard Z’s laughter echoed in my hall. “Oh chetan what a tricky question is this?”

“Don’t worry Z, chetan did take water baptism few years back, believing in all that’s said about it in bible, just as you said a decade back” I reassured him with a twinkling smile which evoked a gasp in aniyan.

“Chetan thanks really for this question and I’m glad to see how chetan changed…I got to ponder over this question because I have a feeling I have erred somewhere…”

“No problem aniyan, maybe we can meet over next weekend, whenever you’re free and we can explore Bible together?”

Z agreed and we parted after a short prayer.

Spiritual Poverty

Once upon a time there were 2 friends, Simon and Jabez . Both of them were best of friends and helped each other out in assignments tests etc.

They both like to spend their break time hearing people’s talks , sometimes it would be people’s opinions on teachers or subjects or school rules and other things like it.

On one fine day, they heard a bespectacled classmate talk about Christianity which they usually make jokes about. But today, they heard things really different and that caught their interest. They heard about the beatitudes.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn , blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are the pure in their hearts…’’

“Hey u there, glassy, what does poor in spirit mean?”,  asked Simon.

The boy whose nickname was glassy, otherwise known as Emil, was surprised that they asked a serious question and weren’t making jokes of it.

“It’s like beggars begging for alms,”

“Begging for alms? What? Do you expect us to become lazy and beg for readymade answers for home work from you? “ Jabez asked, causing both Simon and him to chortle.

“No –“ the boy’s nose reddened in embarrassment. They never changed after all, Emil thought to himself. “I mean just like beggars aren’t feeling enough with their alms and keep begging, Jesus tells us to have this wanting to grow more in him and not be satisfied”

‘Isn’t that same as being greedy? “ Simon asked Jabez.

“Yeah I thought gluttony was one of the seven deadly sins!” Jabez asserted.

“Look I might not be able to explain well but I’m sure if you repent your sins and accept Jesus as lord and savior you’ll get to know bit by bit on this journey with Jesus’’ Emil said, giving them a brochure including of repentance, salvation and baptism.

“We already know this stuff don’t we?” Jabez asked Simon, reading through the brochure.

Simon nodded and said, “Yeah!  We were baptized when we were kids!’’

“But do y’all know what is the purpose of baptism?” Emil asked.

Blank faces greeted Emil.

“If y’all are free this weekend, I would like to invite you to this youth meeting I’m going to. The address is in the brochure.  Y’all could clarify more with pastor”

Simon and Jabez looked at each other and shrugged. “Sounds really boring though, we’ll see’’, Jabez said.

Emil’s shoulder deflated and shrunk back into his seat. He thought to himself, ‘it was at least worth a try’

On the day of the youth meeting, Emil thought he was hallucinating when he saw two familiar heads in the group.  “Simon? Jabez? Is that you?” Emil faintly called out.

“Nope we are the Xerox clones, we come from another universe.” Simon quipped making a namaste greeting.

“Soo glad that both of you could come. Means so much to me!” Emil couldn’t resist his elated grin.

“Who said we still don’t think this is dumb?” Simon snickered.

“We thought it would be impolite to refuse an invitation, is all” Jabez uttered with a stiff lip.

Emil grin slightly turned to a frown , paused for a while before saying, ‘’Still glad y’all could come’’

The meeting started and Emil was excited to hear the thought as usual. He wondered if his classmates fell asleep but to his surprise they heard with rapt attention more than they listened in a classroom!

Soon enough the meeting ended and Emil went with his class mates who peppered the youth pastor with questions.

Emil didn’t expect them to continue coming the next week and the week after next and it soon grew into months.

At the start, during their discussions they were saying this like, “this sounds way impossible! Who could even do all this?” “It’s easier to turn into hypocrites and follow this stuff”

Emil slightly chuckled to himself, thinking of how he did things that Christ wanted even when he didn’t exactly like it. Oh the number of times he was ignored in class or was the butt of jokes, it all sounded possible rather than impossible. They’re really beginners aren’t they, he thought to himself.

Soon as the time passed, during their discussions they were saying things like, “what does overflow in Holy Spirit do? “ Why do we got to pray?” “Why is there a need to be prepared any time when Jesus comes?”
They also asked really adult deep questions even Emil didn’t bother to think of! Eh they might be asking extra questions to show off or something. Emil consoled himself with such words.

Months passed into years and now it was time for board exams. Emil thought he would skip a few youth meetings, his parents were ok with it and so was his pastor when he told them the reason. He was sure Jabez and Simon would follow his suit and he thought to himself with an inner smugness, ‘I bet I would be taking the least number of skips of meetings compared to them’

Later during the class time, he asked them how their study sessions were going. Both of them gave their signature shrug. “Oh yeah that reminds me, we don’t see you anymore in meetings!’’ , Jabez said with eyebrow raised.

“Wait—y’all go to meetings and also find time to study?!?!?” Emil was flabbergasted.

Simon and Jabez shared a knowing look.

Jabez said, “Do you remember what you said on that day. Something about being poor in spirit?”

“Yeah, so?” Emil couldn’t get what they were trying to imply for some minutes.

Suddenly like a huge load of bricks Emil came to understand… That his thirst for Christ was nowhere to be seen but theirs is clear as daylight.

“Thank you both of you so much for making me realize that!” Emil said with eyes slightly watered and rushed to find the next class.

“Nah we ought to thank you glassy’’ Simon grinned, catching up with Emil.

“Simon! You better call him Emil, now that he’s our friend!” Jabez playfully slapped on Simon’s shoulders. Looking at Emil, Jabez shook his hand to thank. “We decided to take baptism, we’d be looking forward to meet you”

Emil’s happiness knew no bounds as he accepted their invitation.

Angel Antony

Fragrance of Christ

Once upon a time in Nolan house, the two sisters were giddy with excitement since the school just got over!

“Time to say goodbye to books!” , the younger one, Beth cried out.

“And to exam pressures!”, the elder one, Grace sighed out .

Both of them started making chits on what they could do together. This was what they used to do every vacation and they would get their parents to vote as well.

As they were deep in cutting pieces of papers, they heard their mother.

“Girls! here, take these empty boxes and throw them out!” Their mother was spring cleaning and decluttering the boxes.

“Yes, mama!”, they replied in unison. Both of them took a look at the rather large gift box. A sudden scent hit them.

Beth took a long whiff contently as Grace figured out its name. “Frankincense.”

“What if we keep our clothes in this box? So they could smell the same?” Beth asked but didn’t wait for her big sister’s reply; rather she ran with the box to their room. Grace went along with her sister’s musings.

And so both of them took some clothes and packed it into the box. The box stayed on their bed and they soon went to continue making chits.

Soon their mother saw the box and grew surprised. “Girls, why is this still here? Wasn’t this also included in the other boxes I gave you to throw?’’

“Mama, the box had this awesome smell so I thought sister and I could put our clothes in so they also will have this amazing scent!” Beth couldn’t contain her glee as she almost rapped.

Beth really love the frankincense mama, “ Grace tried to explain, to their mother didn’t seem to understand what Beth was trying to say.

Their mother couldn’t help but chuckle. “Alright then girls, we shall see what happens in a few days”

A week passed by all too fast.

The clothes which were in the box were put on, and washed and dried and put back into the box more then once.
And all of a sudden there was a wailing sob.
“What has happened? What’s wrong?” their mother came into their room hearing the call of distress.

“Mama! The frankincense is no more on the clothes! Its all gone!” , Beth, the eight year old girl, didn’t expect this to happen. She wished it could stay much longer.

“My dear child, even you too spend you Sunday school classes and church meetings… does the fragrance of Jesus stay with you after you leave the church? Obeying His commandments and abiding in Jesus even in the smallest things you do?”
Beth’s mother asked.

“But- mama”, Beth tried to make a sentence but she faltered. She realized how true what mother said.

So that’s what our memory verse was, oh! , exclaimed Grace

2 Corinth 2 :15
For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Peter & John – THEN & NOW

THEN : A lame from birth sat beside the Beautiful Gate of the temple of God begging for alms. He then saw two people named Peter and John walking towards the temple. The lame man asked them for alms when Peter replied ‘I have no silver or gold but I have the name of the Lord Jesus Christ ‘ and just that moment the lame leaped and walked praising God.

Disciples’ prime motto THEN : Build the Kingdom of God. No wealth of the world, but wealthy in Spirit.

NOW : A lame from birth sat beside the temple of God begging for alms. He then saw two men getting down from a Rolls Royce car with gold chains hung around their necks, leather bags filled with cash and silk embroidered clothes – it is the present day Peter and John . The lame man asked them for alms when the two men started preaching that “the more you give the more you will receive “. Then they took the lame man’s alms promising him that they will pray for him and left. Lame man remained to be lame and impoverished!! Peters and Johns became richer and more powerful!!

Disciples (Namesake) prime motto NOW : Build multi storied houses and Churches. Increase wealth of the world, totally forget about the Word of God and their co-believers.

Instrument of God

Once upon a time there were two sisters
One, elder sister and one young sister
Once, the younger sister’s face was pale, shoulders hunched and looking down.

The elder sister asked, “Tell me, what had happened…your big sister is here to listen, why bear alone with tears glistened? ”

The younger sister said, ” I practiced singing the song for church but what if I mess up the words?
Like everyone, beautifully I want to sing
But what if I mess up, what shall others think?”

Elder sister smiled and replied, “Let’s pray and God shall make a way!”

And so the duo prayed with hearts contrite,
Sang songs glorifying God, the true Light,
The Bible, they opened, Numbers 20 greeted their sight.

They saw how Israel’s children
Were in the wilderness of Zin
Very thirsty, they were for water they were complaining.

They saw how God told Moses to speak to the rock
But Moses being frustrated from the people, only struck the rod on the rock

They saw how God told Moses, that because Moses didn’t believe to hallow
To the promised land Moses can’t follow.

“Aw, that’s sad,” the younger one said.
The elder one thought out loud, “God wanted simple trust and obedience
But Moses in his annoyance thought of the miracle as a performance
While God sent Moses to be his instrument ”

“Oh!”, the little one exclaimed
“Can we be God’s instruments too? Is it our promise to claim?”

The elder sister beamed,” yes indeed! As we trust and obey in what he has called us to do as his instruments,
Lesser the worrisome thoughts of performance!”

The younger one smiled and clapped in glee. “You’re right big sis, God did show me a way out in this!”

In the church, the younger one sang with glad heart
The words of the song touching all hearts and her heart
And she rejoiced in being his instrument in her heart
And as time grew she spread His songs to those near and far apart.