REBUILDING A RESILIENT COMMUNITY

Mr. Mathew Varughese

In a competitive, profit-mongering and greedy world when everything comes to a halt, it is natural for people to be panicky and become desperate and seek for alternatives. If this is in the midst of a pandemic where pain, death and grief are so common and immediate, it would be so chaotic both in our mind and in our communities. Though uncertainties and sufferings are part of life, when it comes from all corners together in a short span of time, we tend to get paralysed. In such a situation unanswered questions in life seems to be increasing.

As we go through this reality of pain and suffering and as we try to remove or reduce them as much as we can, the message from the cross of Christ also needs to be kept close to our hearts and make it central to our conversations in all contexts of our lives. The preparedness to face all kinds of suffering, persevering patiently and identifying with those in sufferings are some of the truths we need to imbibe in our lives from the sufferings of Christ. Though we get connected with the people who have similar experience to share and comfort, and could relate with the Lord himself who invites us to participate with Him in His sufferings, the stark reality of distances and thus helplessness among us also need to be understood and accepted graciously.

This distance and thus loneliness is vividly expressed in His cry on the cross “My God, My God Why have you forsaken me.” As we take the freedom to express, cry and question in our deep pain of loneliness, an inexpressible and deep loving relationship help us to give our life in the hands of the Lord. The same has been the experience of Jesus on the cross when He uttered “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” To a certain extent this is what we do when we lean on someone in our pain and silence. It is all the more comforting and reassuring when we lean on our Lord.

The quality of life or human flourishing and the reality of suffering and death are not to be kept in contrast but to be understood in the context of the hope of resurrection and the hope of new heaven and new earth. Therefore, the power of resurrection or the presence of the resurrected Jesus through the Holy Spirit, helps us to journey through the valley of the shadow of death. As we face the suffering which is so intense and severe in many situations, we as a community are to be available as a healing community to lean on one another and continue to represent Christ in and around a suffering community.

In an individualistic, pleasure-seeking and competitive world, it sometimes takes extreme situations like the pandemic to help us to relook at our lives as a community because we need one another and God. We have to give up the arrogance of our might and realise that we are not saviours either. We need to realise our fragility and yet demonstrate the strength in Christ to rebuild a community of resilience where His love, justice, forgiveness and peace are being practiced.

Mr. Matthew Varughese served as Director of TRACI from 2016 to March of 2022

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