Presbyter message

Dear People of God,

In the first week of November we have All Saints Day and All Souls Day. All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows' Day, or Hallowmas, is a Christian celebration in honor of all the saints from Christian history. In Western Christianity, it is observed on November 1st by the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, and other Protestant denominations. The Eastern Orthodox Church and associated Eastern Catholic churches observe All Saints Day on the first Sunday following Pentecost. The Christian festival of All Saints Day comes from a conviction that there is a spiritual connection between those in Heaven and on Earth. All Souls' Day is known liturgically as the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed, and is an optional observance seen as “an extension of All Saints' Day”. At the Reformation the celebration of All Souls' Day was fused with All Saints' Day in the Church of England.

November 29 is observed as the inaugural day of Church of North India. The Church of North India (CNI), the dominant Protestant denomination in northern India, is a united church established on 29 November 1970 by bringing together the main Protestant churches working in northern India. The CNI's jurisdiction covers all states of the Indian Union with the exception of the four states in the south (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) and has approximately 1. 5 Million members in 4,500 pastorates. C.N.I has 27 Dioceses, 2251 Presbyters, 7 theological colleges, 564 Arts and Science Colleges. The Most. Rev. Dr. Prem. Chand. Singh is the present Moderator. Rt. Rev. Dr. Prabol Kanto Dutta is the Deputy Moderator.

We have been preparing ourselves for the great festival of Christmas. Christmas is not an occasion just once in a year. It should be celebrated throughout the year. This is a festival that reminds us of the greatest sacrifice of God. He sent his only begotten son to show His love towards the Human. This glad news was revealed only to the humble shepherds, why? Our Lord was called the Son of David, who was also a shepherd before becoming the king of Israel. Some centuries ago, David was also watching over his father's flock in the same area close to Bethlehem. The shepherds were supposed to be the descendents of David. Many great persons of the old testament, such as Jacob, Moses and the King Saul were herding sheep before they were called for higher deeds. The babe in Bethlehem was to be the Good Shepherd giving his life for his sheep. Was that MOTTO FOR THE YEAR 2018 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 From the Presbyter's Desk 03 the reason why the shepherds were specially chosen by God to reveal the good news?

Actually the shepherds in those days, were ill-treated by their own people, such as the Pharisees and the Priests. They were not allowed to enter the temple of Jerusalem. But the greedy priests wanted their sheep for sacrifice. They were treated as sinners and outcastes. Still, God revealed the glad tidings to the poor people. The reason is that they were free from worldly prejudices. They were humble and simple folk. They were pure at heart. That is why they were given first preference to know the birth of a saviour. In that still night, they were keeping watch over their flock. They also made a camp fire and sat around the fire talking to each other. What were they talking about? 1. They might have been talking about their misery. 2. They might have been talking about their own nation- how badly they were treated by the Pharisees and the Sadducees. 3. They were also disappointed of their own priests who were worldly 4. They might have been tempted to say that God had forsaken them. 5. Their longing for the coming of the Messiah who would save the sinners and uplift the poor like themselves. This must have given them a sort of consolation. Anyhow, the shepherds at that moment were dejected and they were faced with outer as well as inner darkness.

Suddenly, they found themselves in the midst of wonderful light. They were filled with fear, disappointment, distress and rejection. Many a time, we are forced to involve ourselves in political, economic, religious and social crises. We feel as if we are lurching in the darkness. The wonderful light will bring our paths and it will dispel darkness. Secondly, the shepherds saw a wonderful vision. They saw the multitude of the heavenly host praising God. They saw the heavenly citizens of God, with angels. On the eve of Christmas we must see this vision of our loved ones have joined the multitude of the heavenly host. Thirdly, then shepherds heard a wonderful voice. After having seen the heavenly light and the people of heaven, the shepherds were wonder struck. Before experiencing this vision, the shepherds were in a distressed mood on that still and Holy night. They were in a miserable condition. They were like sheep without a shepherd. At the right moment, they heard a wonderful voice, 'fear not' (Luke 2:10-12).

I wish a meaningful Christmas and a blessed New Year ahead.

May God Bless You and Our Church Ora et Labora- Pray and Labour


Rev. Aby K Thomas

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