Destiny or Choice - Judas a tragedy

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Bigger Picture

It was a Saturday  afternoon, and I was pleasantly surprised when our friends dropped in. We made an impromptu decision to go to a close by restaurant.  It was 1:30, our driver Srinivas was having his lunch. Not wanting to interrupt our driver’s lunch we hopped into our friend’s vehicle as we headed for lunch. However, we instructed Srinivas to pick us up from the restaurant.

The usually reliable Srinivas was not to be seen and on top of it he was not picking the phone. On reaching home, we saw Srinivas fast asleep on the porch.

We had the right to be harsh with him even though he apologized profusely. But then we overlooked this incident saying “its fine Srinivas don’t worry” 

We went about our routines and Nazarene went upstairs and to her shock she found we left the balcony door open. Now things fell into place. Locks could not protect our house, which had been burgled twice over the last two years. “Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain”.

It took some time and then we realized Srinivas reneging on his duty to pick us up and sleep on the porch was perhaps a protection plan of God. We felt good for not being harsh on Srinivas.

Later in the evening, I narrated this lapse on our part to Srinivas and how grateful we are to God for His Protection. I asked him how he felt when he saw us walk home. He said he felt very bad and guilty.

Then I asked him how does he feel after I had narrated about this part and his role in protecting our house. He said that definitely he has seen God’s protection and care and he feels better now and resolved to do his duty even better.

 

26th November 2022

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Trust an unknown future to a Known God

Many years ago, I was called to the office of the CEO of the company I worked at. He informed me that he would not like for me to continue working with them, after which he asked me to resign. Conversations such as this aren’t typically pleasant and neither are their outcomes. As someone in HR, I had been on the other side of this conversation many times. Having been at the receiving end this time, I had to take it with equanimity.

I went home and told Nazarene, my wife, about this conversation and its outcome. Naturally, we felt disappointed and forlorn thinking about the future. We happened to be in the midst of shifting houses at that time and needed to clear some items from the old house. We therefore went to the old house later that evening to clean it up.

Lying on the floor in the living room amidst all the dust was half of a poster that I purchased when I started working in the early eighties. Here it is:


Nazarene noticed it and pointed it out to me. We both stood still for a few moments and felt the Lord Himself speak to us. We felt a reassuring calmness and we reaffirmed our Faith in God. Over the years, we’ve grown in our spiritual life. God has been faithful to us despite various troughs and valleys thereafter.

Now, as I reminisce about what happened so long ago, I am awestruck by God’s blessings on me. I superannuated as Director of TMTC a few months ago. When many in the world were laid off, I was asked to continue beyond my retirement age, which was an added blessing. We have all enjoyed good health, the love and affection of family and friends and the opportunity to work, contribute and make a difference. I am living a future that was unknown to me so many years ago and it is all because of God’s grace.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:33,  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

As we close 2021, my family and I express gratitude for the year gone by and look forward in hope to 2022.

We wish you good health, peace and happiness for 2022 and leave this assurance “ Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a Known God.”

 Wish you a blessed 2022




Monday, December 27, 2021

Ask Seek Knock at Christmas

 

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)

This is a verse from the Bible where Jesus tells us to perform three actions: to ask, to seek, and to knock. Jesus goes on to explain the outcome of these actions in the next verse:

“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:10)

 

My parents were deeply involved in Christian Literature work during their lives. For Edward David, my dad, writing, translating, and editing Christian literature was his vocation and profession. However, my mom, Queena Celestina Komali David, got involved primarily to support my dad with editing the Telugu Christian Hymnal, Bible Concordance as well the revision of the Telugu Bible. As they sat and worked together, they would naturally discuss and disagree on certain things in each session.

During one such session, my mom asked my father what his understanding of the verses above was. My dad responded in a manner similar to how most of us would: he said that these verses were about asking God for something for one’s own self. Many of us would interpret these verses from our own perspectives as well, viewing these as promises to fulfill personal wishes.

 

Mom listened to his explanation carefully. She then spoke, providing her own understanding of these verses as follows:

Ask for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on you;

Seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness first in your life

Seek for the lost souls;

Knock at the closed hearts of the people.”

 

What a beautiful interpretation! I unfortunately did not witness this incident, but dad narrated this to us a few months after Mom passed on to eternal life in 1994.

Therefore, this Christmas do remember the words of the Lord and may the prayer of Queena Celestina David inspire you to ask for God’s blessing, seek beyond yourself and knock on greater challenges.

Happy Christmas.

Emmanuel David                                                                     Christmas 2021

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Gratitude through Generations : Thoughts on Psalm105

 

One morning, as part of my own meditation, I read all of Psalm105. I didn’t plan to read it; I just happened to read it. This Psalm essentially asks people to worship and trust in the Lord, because of what He has done for us.

This Psalm has 45 verses, wherein almost about 600 years of history is captured, from Abraham to Joshua. Isn’t it amazing?

Let’s think a little bit about King David, who writes this Psalm. Can you imagine almost a thousand years separate him from when Abraham lived.  It is also almost  350 years after the Israelites went into Canaan. Now consider this, At the time when  King David  was writing this Psalm, he did not have access to the internet, nor to libraries in the same way that we do today.

There are a couple of things we can conclude about King David and his context. The first and the most obvious one is this: King David was a well-read man who had access to all the literature of that time. Second, there was some sort of thorough way in which history was recorded. Either it was meticulously passed on through oral tradition or it was carefully recorded in writing. Third, King David was a poet. His poetry was deeply reflective. He was able to connect the history of that time to his context and relate it to God’s faithfulness to His People.

Isn’t it amazing? Despite a 1000 years separating Abraham and King David, the king was able to connect various elements of Israel’s history right from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and then the travails of Joseph. Here, he speaks of Joseph’s role in prison and then as a helper to Pharaoh and it goes on. We then come to the birth of Moses, the captivity of Israelites in Egypt and how they lived for several years. Then arrive the plagues, miraculous signs in the plagues and then the journey of the Israelites across the Red Sea and giving them food through manna. He also opened the water from the rock,  All these aspects are captured by David in one single Psalm!

What struck me through all of this is the fact that we have a living word. At different levels and at different times, you will see that the mercies of the past and the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all fulfilled. Thus, when we look at our current context, the Psalm 105  can inspire us to recount the faithfulness of our Lord over the past generations. We have an opportunity to connect God's Faithfulness from our  ancestors to our present times and Praise our Lord. 

The Creation of Adam- Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel

The Creation of Adam- Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel

I had the opportunity to take this picture 2018

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Collaboration and Foresight

When Nazarene, my wife,  asked me the difference between Independence Day and Republic Day I thought it would be good to revisit the meaning of Republic, even as we celebrate our 71st Republic Day tomorrow. 
The Oxford Dictionary  gives  this definition : A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
A quick search into history tells us that India became an independent nation on the 15th of August 1947 when the British Rule ended. They appointed a Governor General Mr. C Rajagopalachari who was the representative of the British Sovereign and head of State of India. India formed its constituent assembly who created our constitution and on November 26th 1949 this constituent assembly gave us our constitution and declared ourselves a Republic on the 26th January 1950.
The most critical aspect of being Republic is that there is no Monarch to rule over us and we take responsibility for our governance. Of the 220 plus countries in the world, thankfully 120 are Republic, we have about 29 Monarchs ruling over 43 countries and 7 are Theocratic states while regrettably over 50 that are dictatorships and Authoritarian regimes. Since the power is held by the people being a  Republic makes us accountable to ourselves.
I thought this aspect was beautifully illustrated through two small creatures from nature which are the Ants and Locusts. The Proverbs say it succinctly “ The Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer”  where as the “locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks”.
Powerful lessons can be drawn from the ants and locusts. Both are in a manner ‘Republic’ especially as the ants display foresight, planning and assiduous working towards their goal while the locusts are a fantastic example of collaboration and working towards common purpose. Pristine equality of status and opportunity.
Let us look at the preamble to our constitution which is admirable and is worth reviewing on occasions such as these.
WE, The PEOPLE of INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:
Justice , social, economic and political;
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
In Our Constituent Assembly this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, Do Hereby Adopt, Enact and give to Ourselves this Constitution.

As Indian citizens we have chosen to be self governed and self regulated. Since it is our choice we are accountable to ourselves.
I believe being truly Republic comes alive when we are able to collaborate  for a common cause with wisdom and  foresight  while executing with diligence.
Wish you a meaningful Republic Day.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Three Wise Ones


I am grateful for the  gifts we enjoy and take for granted that of Health,  Family, livelihood, friends amongst  a long list.


This  year  in   matter of  a few weeks  between August and October 2019, I met  three persons and each of them made me reflect  and think about the blessings I have.
As a respect to their  privacy I shall not  disclose their  names  but perhaps since you may know  my  common friends  and could  figure them out, in which  case do say a prayer for them.

Edith  turned 91 recently and had expressed a desire to meet me.  I thought it was  special as I am of her many acquaintances and yet she chose me.   Edith, a spinster,   has been home bound since the last  few years due to various health  issues including the big C.  She also  experiences severe  pain in her arms almost every day. Even her food intake is restricted due to age. I managed to meet her the next  day after her birthday.  The  one room apartment  had many beautiful  flowers from the previous day. We just  sat and spoke to each other.  She was aware of Donald Trump and the state of our nation. Her mental agility was remarkable. Edith was a regular at the large cathedral  we used to attend as well. What struck me was however that even though she is unable to attend the  church services she keeps a portion of her offerings for each  week, including the special services she  misses.  Even though Edith  is in great pain,  her view was since she is alive, her life must be purposive. Her knowledge of  the Bible was amazing as Edith could  connect various promises of Jesus to her context.  I was also grateful she trusted me enough to disclose plans after her passing away.

Prior to any important event or  a  travel I rush to my barber  Karim, to trim my hair and beard. Karim who is about in his early forties has always been polite and professional and would not  speak unless spoken to.   We got speaking  this time  as I asked Karim how things were.  He narrated that it was only  4 months since he lost his wife to an illness.  He has two children and he has to balance  between taking care of his children and managing his earnings. There was a tinge of grief in Karims  voice but yet,  the here and now is important.  Perhaps he would not have  told me had I not asked him.

I met my classmate from  college Sahil after almost 4 decades  after we graduated. We are of the same age. Some one  told me that he was he had a physical ailment  but I did not  think there could be any but that thought lingered and I did not  wish to believe it. I was visiting Mumbai as Sahil lives there  and told him  where I would be staying. Sahil immediately  said lets catch up and said he would come to meet me.  I was secretly happy as I thought  I heard wrongly about  his physical condition and when we met that evening nothing seemed apparent.   As classmates do,  we caught up about  old times and  what we  did after college we also discovered  common friends in each of our lifes journey. Sahil was the eldest of two sons in his family.  After a while the dialogue was about the  family and I learnt that  he lost his wife about 20 years ago and did not  remarry.  As we spoke he also told me that he lost his parents  and younger brother  over the last  few years.  Then taking courage I asked him about his health, when  he said  Yes Emmy, I have had minor health issue, due to Diabetes one of my foot has been amputated from the ankleI did not know where to  look. Sahil had a resolute  smile and for him this was no setback.  In  fact he is a CEO  in a niche Logistics MNC and despite all his personal  setbacks he has been able to  turnaround  a loss making  India operations to become profitable and reliable, so much so that  his principals have asked him to  continue in this role and he does international travel as well. 

I treasure  the meetings with  Edith, Karim and Sahil and  claim my Christmas Gifts from those interactions.  For me the  these  Gifts  are  gratitude, resilience, and purpose. I suppose each of us  may  take away much from these narratives. In fact  I am grateful for the  gifts we enjoy and take for granted that of Health,  Family, livelihood, friends amongst  a long list. Wish you a very happy Christmas and a Blessed 2020.







Sunday, March 18, 2018

Grace and Gratitude


Last week I had an event in the evening at office and a Bible study to attend. Both the events were followed by dinner. Nazarene, my wife, asked me, “Where will you have dinner today?”
While it took me a while to decide I also pondered over what Nazarene asked, and it suddenly hit me that question was in itself very profound. I had a choice of three places to have my dinner, the third being my home.  I thought of how blessed we were to be able to pick and choose where to eat.
I thought of two more questions on the subject during dinner that evening.
The second that came to my mind was, “What will you have for dinner today?” Many of us  have ample  choice of what can be put on our plates  things like choice of ingredients and  cuisine as well. There is a lot of food to eat.
The third question that floated in my mind was, “Is there dinner today?” In many homes this is a question that is more of a rule than an exception. People struggling to put two square meals together, or breadwinners  trying very hard to provide for their families.
Many years ago  one evening Nazarene and I drove around to  give away some leftover food. We found an elderly lady near a railway gate and gave her the  packet. Her spontaneous response on receiving  the packet was “ Thank you very much sir, God Bless you.” She  had not even seen the cold food yet she was brimming over with gratitude unconditionally.
I realise that each of these questions come from a different orbit  we are in our  lives. We may not  have answers as well however our attitude could be one of Grace, Responsibility or Gratitude.