Sunday, December 24, 2006

What a revelation?

The first self-proclaimed Apostle Paul (AD 10 – AD 65) was a Jewish tentmaker turned baptized Christian. He never saw Jesus but “came to faith through a vision of resurrected Jesus.” To know the state of church in nearby empires, he used to send his trusted men (especially one by name Timothy). Nearly five decades after the death of Jesus, Timothy visited a place called Thessalonica in Greece and reported back to Paul. He then wrote what is called an Epistle or a formal letter to the Thessalonians.

In chapter 5, the verses 21 and 22 dig deep into a great test of human life. After asking them not to cease from praying and not to “quench the Spirit”, Paul tells them to “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”

This seems to have a striking relevance to the world today. Somewhere during my stay in this world, I was awestruck by the wrecking of the tradition into which we are born. The legacy we are left with is often meekly adopted because we were told that it was useful for past generations.

Tradition is a precious garland which is knit with values and knotted with beliefs. Values seem to be the permanent insights of a changing reality and Beliefs are the changing insights of a permanent reality.

As generations come by, the knots seem to get loose but haven’t yet lost their strength to rebound and re-knot into a new shape for the garland. People give up certain beliefs because of newfound insights that may disprove them. But, such acts benefit the humanity as they arrive at a further stage in life rather than holding back to rotten garlands. A garland should adorn a living Grace; but not become a wreath.

Good is a proven value and Evil is a failed belief. Everything’s worthy of both. A strand of Judaism called Hasidism explains this well. In everyone, there’s an angel. This angel tries to seek and find; in this pursuit, one may act with necessary (or unbelievable) goodness or with needless (or astonishing) evil. It’s all up to you how you shape up that angel in you. But, one has to endure through such ordeals and bring out the best.

So, one has to examine and reexamine everything (every act and deed) with utmost care. Evaluate them. Seek peace for everyone around and find peace with yourself. Yet, be humble that you still need to seek with what I call intellectual Love (or commonly known as God). Love to know more will bless you with Grace to seek more.

I write this general message in keeping up with what the Sage of Concord, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) wrote in his essay Self-reliance:

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men…”

God Bless You

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