by John Jacob, Kuwait
The hallmark of good trees is the good fruits that it gives uniformly to one-and-all alike. Indeed, a tree is known by its fruits, as Christ said. As the tree springs forth and grows taller & wider, its horizons widen and more and more people around it begin to notice it. Of course, the response to the same tree would be different by different people.
A woodcutter would look at the tree with glee; for he finds it profitable to cut it down and sell it off. A traveler on his journey would look at the tree with comfort; for he sees under it, a resting place that protects them from the harsh realities of the scorching sunlight. Little boys may temptingly look at the fruits of the tree with glee too; for before their eyes they see a source for playfulness & delight. Some of the womenfolk may deem it to be a holy tree and start worshipping it. A gardener will look at the tree and choose to care and nurture it so that it grows taller & stronger still. Other men may realize the value of the fruits in the `market-place' and seek to make money out of it. Still others on a journey, knowing the true worth of the fruits in the tree, may choose to step forward and pluck the fruits of the tree and eat it themselves, and offer it to their fellow travelers too.
On its part, the tree would uniformly treat every person that approaches it - be he a man or a woman, child or a traveler, low-caste or a high-caste, rich or poor, high-class or low-class, clergy or laity, and so on. The only condition that the tree expects of each person in order to provide its fruits is to acknowledge the true worth of the fruit and then come closer to it and take the trouble of reaching out to it, and pluck it before eating. In other words, a tree (howsoever good it is) does not choose to throw its fruits onto the laps of people (with, or without, any Will to eat).
Christ is the Tree of Life that provides the fruit of Eternal Life. Every branch that wishes to be attached to this Tree must undergo a painful process of grafting itself onto the TREE OF LIFE and start drawing life-giving nutrients from the Tree. As Christians, we are the green branches of the Tree of Life that grows taller and wider across the globe. As long as we are drawing life-giving nutrients from the Tree of Life, we would be bearing Fruits of Eternal Life on our green-branches and will catch the eye of the masses across the globe. The regard from the masses that a branch receives is not due to its own record, but is an outcome of mankind's regard for the Tree of Life. Greater the binding of the branch to the tree, more plentiful will be its fruits.
In summary, as a church, we need to examine our approach to the Tree of Life, as also to see as to how we could be more fruitful going forward. We also need to give deep thought as to how we could break free from our elitist mindset and be able to give the fruits of life to the less-served sections of society, including those speaking a language other than Malayalam, English or even Hindi. In a sentence, I would say that our church stands at the throes of plentiful opportunities for outside-Kerala orthodox church-funded projects on Research, Development & Translation.
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