Category Archives: Reflection

Unclothed Christ to Clothe Us!


Ujjwal Rai
Ujjwal Rai

 

“Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:7

In the course of time, I have realized that I never have a straight forward answer to people who inquire about my ethnicity. There is a shame somewhere in my heart of  not being like the ancestors – descending from the same bloodline. There are normally two things that I do in response: either I try to prove I am alike even though my profile is not or I hastily say that there is no such thing in order to deprecate the existence of ethnicity. If you weigh my both responses, you will find how strongly I struggle with the shame and want to cover up by any means. And distressingly, I am not alone! Whether you believer it or not, everyone struggles with a shame and ironically is capable of formulating new ways to cover it up just like me.

God never created us with a shame. But, as soon as Adam and Eve violated God’s command, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” The Bible says, “..they knew they were naked.” It was not merely seeing each other naked and saying, oops! It was greatly intense and devastating, because they fell in the state where they never belonged to due to their rebellious act. (C.S. Lewis’ idea.) As a result, they started hiding from God when He visited them. They were absolutely ashamed of their poignant situation. His creation can live with dignity only with Him but now they were not with Him and so were we once.

Then what happened? They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Here we can see their strong desire that resulted in active action to live with dignity again, however, sadly not the way God intended.  They acted out to cover their shame as though they can do it on their own, but they never realized the gravity of shame they had brought upon them.

Today, we, in fact, do the same thing what they did to cover our shame.  We sew fig leaves to make coverings for ourselves. We do so either by doing good works inside the church in order to feel good about ourselves and preserve our dignity or totally denouncing the existence of God, so that I may not feel shame of my lifestyle. However, the Bible makes it clear that either way is not going to help us at all! Then, is there any other way around at all?

Our God never wants to see us living with shame forever and knows, at the same time, that we can never restore ourselves to dignity. He, therefore, sent His son to restore us back to Him, so we can live with dignity. Now, we just need to put our faith in Jesus Christ who was stripped of his robe, became nude on the cross and whose shame was exposed to the whole world so that our shame is covered once but forever.

So the real question is: Do we want to believe in Christ and live with dignity or ever find ourselves in the shame treadmill? Choice is yours!

The author is a M.Div student in Calvin Theological Seminary. You may follow him in his Facebook page

Grace for both, Found and Lost!


Ujjwal Rai
Ujjwal Rai

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Once I was lost for 3 hours in Kathmandu which is the capital city of Nepal. It isn’t even as crazily busiest as most other capital cities around the world. Since this incident, I rather shut my mouth from blurting before people that I was once lost when they talk about their first visit in the city. I reckon that to be pretty embarrassing to admit. Subsequently it can also raise a question at my basic knowledge of the city thus may jeopardize my whole identity as a knowledgeable or well-informed person. For this reason, I always discover different ways to get by in order to hide the story of being lost. I may feel what I am supposedly feeling inside but people may continually respect and accept me. This is my very propensity, and I am pretty convinced that I am not alone doing this!

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When a person says, “I have never been lost,” it must either mean that (s)he must have already been under Him and expected to constantly grow in the grace or totally deceived by his own lies and desperately in need of His grace.

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The Bible plainly affirms that the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Yes, Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but as a matter of fact, “I have never been lost. Why then should I need him?”, says my deceitful heart. And maybe so does yours. The real problem is not to comprehend Jesus’ coming, but rather admitting that I am the lost. When a person says, “I have never been lost,” it must either mean that (s)he must have already been under Him and expected to constantly grow in the grace or totally deceived by his own lies and desperately in need of His grace. Honestly, being in the state of deception is not equated with being in the state of found.

Well, It is not bad at all to feel found because God has created us with the feeling of found, not with the lost. The feeling of found, however, can be experienced in its intended way and at fullness only in Him. Sin has separated us from God in such a way that we will never take the initiation to search Him to be found. Moreover, Paul says in Romans 10:3 that people have established their own ways to make them feel found without God. But their hearts know that he has, by any means or performance, not been found but the false sense of being found is merely an ostentation. His pretension of being found is an idle endeavor to convince self that he was never lost in the first place to be found later. Sadly, this erroneous thought reflected my own thinking too.

Conversely, the Son of Man – the title Luke borrowed from Daniel 7:13-14 for Jesus in his Gospel- helps us to understand who Christ indeed is. Despite his grandeur majesty, he chose to stoop down to us in order to help us see that we are not what we claim to be but a guilt-ridden creatures who have utterly fallen through. He also invited us to trust in him, because he is only our hope who alone can fix our broken fellowship with God. His agonizing outburst with excruciating pain: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), was on our behalf so that we may be eternally found in Him!

All of us need the Son of Man whether we claim to be lost or found. Here is question for you and me: Do I want to knowingly believe in my false claim in order to feel found or do I want to believe in Christ so that I might be found in Him not only for this life but also for the life yet to come? If you are already found by his grace, are you seeking to grow even more in his grace or again discovering Christian ways of feeling found?

The author is a M.Div student in Calvin Theological Seminary. You may follow him in his Facebook page

Be a Supportive Wife


Prasha Maharjan

I have heard time and time again that not every one is born a leader. There is certain truth to that when a person deliberately refuses the skill or talent given to him and not uses it. I have also been mistaken largely when people said leaders are ones who only lead and don’t do the work. I did not find myself in that category either mainly because I was never the one directing but doing, showing by doing. This warped meaning of leader was straightened out when I was working as an intern at my church and had to speak on the topic of ‘Hospitality in the church.’

I knew Jesus had a lot to say about leadership just as so many others know yet I dared to emphasize on the same fact that to lead, you first have to be a servant. All his life Jesus served and even to his death, he was eventually serving humanity. I dwelt on things that my pastor and so-called church leaders were doing; all of them were mainly serving. Thus, I concluded that if I want to be a leader, I first have to serve. I cannot be a leader if I do not have followers following me. And how can I lead if followers are not imitating me? Indeed, how can I have followers if I am not modeling? When Jesus led the disciples, he was in fact modeling with a mission in his mind. If my pastor and church-leaders are leading, they are actually modeling so their church members may imitate them. What a spot to be in though! A leader has thousands eyes looking at him, so to mess up means you might derail those thousand eyes.

As for me, if I were ever to be a leader I want to make sure that I know what I am doing. In the long run, I want to be a counselor, precisely a marriage counselor. As a newly wed, this looks like an ambitious desire. But ever since I became a Christian and were under mature/married Christian women’s discipleship and later mentoring, I saw one thing in common in them. All of them had an honorable married life. Their wisdom and counsel were genuine because the most important relation as wives was God-centered thus their counsel was stable and healthy.

My mission in life is that married women would desire to uphold a God-centered and honorable marriage. In Nepali culture many of our values are derived from Hinduism. The women consider their husbands as god and worship them. We can see some biblical parallels in this.  As Christians too, we are to honor our husbands as head of the family just as Christ is the head of the church, his bride. However, this picture is severely distorted in our culture. Women are oppressed and joy of being in the marriage is crushed. Yet I have hope that this important familial relationship can be redeemed in our culture.

‘Show and Tell’ is my favorite expression that I believe a leader should live by. As a leader I want to be aware that I am a person of integrity and character. Especially, in my work place my co-workers will be the closest that I work with and hypocrisy will be the first thing they will be critical about. What I model is what I can be demanding of. I cannot set a good example if I demand integrity when I am not myself. Secondly, my hypocrisy will also defeat the purposes of my counseling.

As a wife of a missionary or a church leader, the onus is greater on wives to be of noble character. One of the major reasons for closure of churches has been a lack of character in leaders. “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones,” says King Solomon in his Proverbs. But I also understand that this nobility does not simply come from my efforts but dependence upon God and His Word. Thus, being a genuine student of the Bible and follower of Christ is another characteristic of a leader.

I also cannot be a Mrs. Know it all. Leaders are also called to be perceptive and keen listeners. I should be as perspicuous as I can be when it comes to stating my goals but also should not ignore flexibility. Good leaders revise their goal as work progresses and as more input come from people they work with. A proud leader is hardly a kind of person, people would like to follow.

All in all, there are three streams of leadership that I want to be involved in the future and all the three go hand in hand.  I want to be involved in marriage counseling inside and outside of church. Secondly, in the stream of discipleship, I want to guide new and growing Christian ladies in their new journey. Thirdly, as a wife, I want to be a praying wife and motivate wives whose husbands are in ministry to support and pray for their husband’s ministry. I have seen ministries crumble due to zero or minimum support from a spouse. The biggest desire of my heart is that I can motivate women to pray for their husbands and their ministry.

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