2017 was a year filled with death and disappointments. I possibly kept two of the resolutions that I had set forth. I am possibly going to approach this year slightly differently. Our vicar mentioned that the Ten Commandments and sermon on the mount can essentially be broken down into the following
1) Relationship with God.
2) Relationship with family.
3) Relationship with society.
I will do my best to be true to these. I do not know how successful I will be. I do hope that if I work on these areas then I will grow as a person. I strongly believe that the only sign of life is change. Last year felt very stagnant. Stagnation is the first sign of death. I do not want to die as yet as I know that I have not fulfilled the purpose why God placed me on the earth. I do have to clean up the dirt of 2017 before it festers into malaria ridden mosquitoes. I do believe I can achieve this through the support of my family and my church. 2017 will probably be a watershed year that will have a lasting impact on my remaining life. I do hope that it will be a nadir where I can rise like a phoenix. The sermon and theme song from Chariots of Fire are running through my head. Isaiah chapter 40 seems to be the passage for me this year just as Acts chapter 2 and Psalms 69 were mine for the last year.
People that I have known have died. However the news of the death of David has shaken me to the core. I broke down in tears yesterday. This is something I have never done before. There seems to be a void left in my very soul. I have heard sermons where people have preached about having a hole which only God can fill. However how can you fill space left by a good man? I have known David for a couple of years. However he is one of the few people I count as my friend. He was a gem of a person. His fiancée is also a wonderful person. We were looking forward to them getting married in January because both of them deserved happiness and each other after the hardships they went through. If and when we had children then they would have been perfect God parents. David had this wonderful ability to connect with kids at their level. A few minutes later he would be talking to adults about Dostoevsky and classical music. He was passionate. I sincerely wish that I had known him longer. We will treasure the time and meals shared. They will be ingrained in my memory for as long as my mind lasts.
I recently decided to take part in NaNoWriMo. He was one of the reasons I decided to take part. He provided the spark of life to characters until then existed only in my head. A nice conversation that I had with him as we took a bus from church was all that was needed. I do not know if I will be successful in NaNoWriMo or not. However I do hope I can complete my novel. I think David would like that. I pray that he has found peace and I hope his family will have the strength to go through this loss. Goodbye David. Goodbye my friend.
Lately I have been trying to reconcile various aspects of my faith. I have been following two different daily readings and prayers. I have found that one focuses more on the personal and the other on the community of Christians. We had a prayer 24+ in our church. We had 30 hours of continuous prayer. That provided a nice impetus for me to start praying daily. I have come to realise the benefits of prayer. It calms me. The more I pray the more I realise that I end up praying for others more than I do for myself.
I have come to realise that it is better to be a good Christian than a good follower of a denomination. To become a Christian you have to believe that you have sinned and Christ died to save you from your sins. You also should be baptised at some point in your life based on your conviction. Everything else is doctrinal or theological beliefs.
In this world there are only four people that I would ask to pray. I believe that they pray in sincerity. They pray faithfully. They have the gift of prayer. I believe that through their prayers God will do what is best for me even if it means that my prayers are not answered in the way that I hoped. They are special people. I have learnt a lot from their life. Each one of them have a different method and style of praying.
I have found myself asking them to pray for me. The more I contemplated and the more I prayed the more I found that I felt comfortable in praying Novenas. The basis of my faith is rock solid. Anything above that is doctrinal and theological. To me there is no difference in asking a friend of mine to pray for me and going to him and giving him a gift and saying a Novena and then going to a church dedicated to that saint and giving an offertory. The only sign of life is change. I like examining my beliefs from time to time. It is only then that I can know where I stand in my faith.
I acted in a play when I was in university. One of the props I used was a copper metal sheet which was shaped into a face. My director told me that my character used it to defend himself when he felt vulnerable. He used it to assert his authority. Most importantly the mask was to be a natural extension of his hand. The movement always had to be fluid like a stream of clean water no matter if the action I had to do was sudden or slow.
What are the masks that we wear to hide what is really going on? Is it a stoic face or a beautiful smile? We musicians love to hide behind our instruments and our microphones. Is it work or volunteering time whether at church or at a charity. Pastor Simon mentioned in his sermon that Paul said that the mind is the most important organ for it is by the transformation of our minds that our lives will change. If the mind is the most important part of the body and the face as well as the eyes are windows to the mind then what would happen if we use masks to hide them. We do not allow anyone a glimpse into our beautiful unique minds. We do not allow people to truly look at our lives. We all our members of one body. If we cover our face then how will the other parts of the body know that something is wrong? How will they be able to help you improve yourself? At the same time how can you see clearly if you wear a mask?
Why do we need masks when we are given the full armour of God. Most importantly we have been given the helmet of salvation. In all probability the coolus helmet was used when Ephesians was written. The coolus was simple but effective. It protected the head, the back of the neck and had protection for the ears. The soldier did not have anything that would obstruct his view. His face could clearly be seen by anyone who saw him. If there was something wrong with the armour of the soldier then you had a minimum of 80 people who could help him. There were 80 people from whom you could learn things. Are we ready to drop our masks so that we can help ourselves by allowing others to help us? Are we ready to wear the whole armour of God? If we are not then why so? Getting rid of masks that we have plastered all over our face will not be easy. I strongly believe that God will give us the right tools to get rid of it. Once we do that we will be better off.
Filed under church, religion
One of the most important skills to have is separating the music from the noise. There is no such thing as too much information. However it is extremely important to sieve the chaff. For the past few years I have been fascinated by the concept of shemitah. In Investment we have generally seen cycles about every eight years. The possibility that the probability that the cycle being every seven years with a Jubilee the year after seven cycles of seven is very high.
There was a man preaching near a tube station. I do not doubt his intention in preaching the gospel. I did question his message though. He was preaching a message of fear. Essentially he was saying that people should accept Christ and become Christians because something huge and possibly bad will happen because it is the year of the Jubilee. Christianity is not a religion of fear. It is a religion of love. To quote The Most Reverend Justin Welby; “Let’s get together in calling out to God, in prayer, in whatever way we like, wherever we are that our often lukewarm or cold hearts are set on fire with love for Jesus, that He is the answer to the fears, the despairs of all around.” I strongly believe that a clear vision such as this is what made the “Thy Kingdom Come” a successful event.
The fear of losing money does not make a successful portfolio. Having a clear vision and being steadfast no matter what happens is very important. It has to be nurtured and loved. The reward of seeing a young sapling rise to become a beautiful tree is very satisfying.
I do not know when the next market crash will occur. I do not know whether there will be a significant event in the world that is caused by the Shemitah. However this I do know. We are living in the present and must plan for the future. If this is done with discipline then we will be successful.