Today, on the sixth of November, we were honoured by the presence of The Revd. Cannon Dr. Arun John at The Church of The Epiphany. I would be meeting him after more than twenty years – having been once a frequent visitor at the St. Michael’s Church at Jungpura, Bhogal, Delhi.
The Revd. Cannon Dr.Arun John also delivered the sermon for the day. His sermon was based on the theme, ‘God upholds those who suffer for his sake.’ In his sermon, Revd Cannon Arun spoke about how suffering is a strength based on the capacity to deliver God’s Grace to others in the face of retribution.
Revd.Cannon Dr.Arun John narrated two analogies or metaphors to describe the theme of suffering during the advent season. The first analogy was that of a monkey that had climbed the branches of a tree. It had a fish in its hands which it was stroking rather softly and gently. When someone asked the monkey what it was doing, the monkey replied that it was trying to save the fish from drowning! The second analogy was about a pouch of salt that had set out on a long journey that ended by the shores of a huge ocean. The pouch of salt asked the ocean what it was. The ocean told the pouch of salt to enter it and see the answer for itself. The salt then stepped into the water only to see its feet disappear as it dissolved in the water. When the water reached the salt’s upper torso and just before its head got submerged, it suddenly got its answer and told the ocean that it knew who it was! The analogies were self-explanatory.
The sermon also described how in the United Kingdom, worship at churches across the country has dropped drastically. Apparently the average age of the worshippers who are regular church goers in the U.K. is 65 years. The guest speaker drew a connection between the challenges faced by religion in the Biblical times of Micah and today. The book of Micah in The Old Testament described how religion had lost its essence because of the gap that existed between the rich and the poor and how politicisation of religion had taken its toll. Today too, religious values have taken a severe beating because of exactly these reasons! Today as in Biblical times, Prophets are pitched against leaders, fanatics are pitched against soothsayers.