Church of the Good Shepherd, Thimbirigasyaya, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka

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Vicar's Message - COGSLK - Church of the Good Shepherd, Thimbirigasyaya, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka

Vicar's Message! - June 2019


My dear people of the Church and the community,

It is with much sorrow that I write this message. Our deepest sympathies to the Cardinal, to the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Catholic Churches, and the Zion Church in Batticaloa. Our thoughts are always with them.

The major religions of Sri Lanka and ethnic groups are asking the question ‘Why?’.

When Mary was crying in the post-resurrection time, Jesus only said to her ‘Mary’, and those are the consoling words we convey to all who are crying and bleeding.

We apologise to our Muslim brothers and sisters who have lost their belongings in the recent past, due to riots. We categorically say that no Christian community would be involved in such hooliganism, as we follow Jesus Christ who says ‘Shalom’. All heads of Christian denominations have called for peace and reconciliation and nobody will violate that. In particular, the Anglican dioceses of Kurunegala and Colombo initially sent a message of reconciliation regarding the Easter bombings and a couple of days ago, the Bishop of Colombo, the Rt Rev D R Canagasabey, in his press conference, has conveyed the stand of the Church in relation to this.

The major religions of Sri Lanka and ethnic groups are asking the question ‘Why?’. The only answer I can see is in Job 42:5 – ‘All these years, O Lord, I have heard you but now I see you’ (meaning, ‘I have heard you all these years but after all these afflictions I now see you in person’).

The Rev Dr Henry Nouwen, a Roman Catholic philosopher and priest, is one of my favourite authors. He, himself, used to get into depression once in a way, but found his way out and wrote the following books: The Wounded Prophet, The Wounded Healer, The Inner Voice of Love, and The Return of the Prodigal Son.

Rev Nouwen was also in a situation like this, where an Anglican couple, close friends of his, lost their son who was in university; Father Henry did not go and see them for two weeks. He gave them that space and after two weeks, he went and consoled them. The process he followed was thus: a) he soaked himself into the situation of the parents; b) he listened; and, c) he softly spoke to them and everyday broke bread (had communion) with them.

The parents went on to say: ‘Henry never advised us, never counselled us but his presence healed us’. This is the minimum we can convey to all those who have lost loved ones, all those who are wounded, all those who are lost and all those who are blinded with emotions.

As human beings, we are all wounded at this juncture. The very important point that we have to adhere to is to be more open and when we are more open, the wounds will heal. If our wounds are to be in our heads, if we try to rationalize our wounds of life and ask the question ‘why?’, they will never heal and they will start smelling. Rev Nouwen says: ‘Pass it on to your heart, and when they go down to your heart, they will not destroy you but they will heal’. Sometimes, the Church is frightened to allow the wounds to go to the heart, so it makes the wounds to remain in the head, and what happens is it festers, there is insecurity, and it smells. But Nouwen says: ‘Let it go down to the heart’. There will be struggle in your life and in that time of struggle, the people and the Church will be healed. Open wounds will stink, but when you use them to heal others, they will become stars. Nouwen also says: ‘The scars of life have to become the stars of life’.

I conclude with a saying of the Anglican Bishop of England, whose quote could be found on page 59 of The Wounded Healer: ‘I think the church ought to take a leaf from Father Henry Nouwen’s book, The Wounded Prophet, and allow wounded healers to have a place in the life of the community to recognize in our heart of hearts that everybody is wounded in some way and everybody is healing out of some wound. When this process ends, as mentioned earlier, the stinking wounds and their scars become the stars of life.

‘Dare to love and be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love.’

The Church of the Good Shepherd, which celebrated the feast of the Good Shepherd on 12th May 2019, keeps the whole nation in Jesus’ SHEPHERDIC CARE.

With love and prayers
Fr Jayanth

Church of the Good Shepherd, Colombo 5
Church of the Good Shepherd, Colombo 5
Church of the Good Shepherd, Colombo 5

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