How did a young lady named Angeze Gonxhe Bojxhiu from Skopje, Albania (Macedonia) become the world renowned Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Kolkata)? The answer is simple: God’s “doing” through a person determined to follow Jesus Christ. But how? By serving the poor, widows, fatherless, suffering, sick and the dying. As for me, though canonized to sainthood, she will always remain Mother Teresa. Continue reading “A Mother to the Poor – Part I”
This may sound like a “puff” news story, but it did make the front page of a large and popular newspaper in Canada, The Toronto Star, 14 June 2016. No, it was not about politics, sports, entertainment, and not even the presidential election in the US. It was the real story of a young, unknown man – his expectations and industrious attempts towards a successful life! It caught my full attention. Continue reading “Expect and Attempt”
In 1970, Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton of the Jamaican reggae group, The Melodians, wrote the popular song “By the Rivers of Babylon”. This song was later covered by the group, Boney M in 1978. Do you remember this group? They were a seventies German-based, Jamaican-born British band with a Rastafarian flair. That’s a great mix isn’t it? In 1978, their cover version was one of the top ten all-time best-selling singles in the UK. I loved this album, we played it often in our house. Enjoy the lyrics: Continue reading ““Singing in a Strange Place””
It was International Women’s Day, 2008. In a powerful and evocative moment, for the first time, South African and Swazi grandmothers came together and demonstrated in Manzini, Swaziland, for women’s rights and gender equality…. fighting against domestic violence, elder abuse, lobbying for pensions, pushing for safety and rights of grandmothers and their grandchildren. Grandmothers are a tremendous force for change in South Arica, as millions are orphaned because of AIDS and they are the ones raising the new generation. Strange that the biggest opposition came from men! They were the bystanders, men who yelled back at these women: “return to the kitchen and cooking”, “go home old women” (courtesy of The Toronto Star). Continue reading ““Go Grannies Go””
An explanation of my title is in order. It means secondary, underling, lightweight, etc. It is an orchestral term. The first violinist is the most visible, high profile member. He or she sits in the very front row, right in front of the conductor. The rest of the violinists sit next to or behind, drawing lesser attention. The term is used to portray those who are good, but never openly acknowledged or accepted. By the way, originally I thought of giving the title “Second Fiddlers and Under Dogs”. Under Dogs are the persons or players in a team that is popularly known to be “losers”. It sounded dissonant. So, on second thought I decided to cut it out.
The Bible has many examples of this. Almost all “first violinists or super dogs” of the Bible started as light weights, like Jacob, Joseph, Daniel etc. The two most prominent names in the old book which were thrown at Jesus by the religious leaders were, Abraham and Moses. Abraham lived a simple nomadic life till God used him and his progeny to demonstrate His desire and will to the world. As to Moses, the once prince of Egypt, his real story started when he was a refugee, an underling, a keeper of sheep of a Midianite Sheik in the backside of a desert. Bible greats did not start with a silver spoon in their mouths. Respectfully speaking, think of the Lord himself. You can feel the scorn, derision, when the religious leaders questioned “Is not he the carpenter’s son?”
Though understandable to some extent, David’s elder brothers treated him as an underling. I know it, for I am the youngest of eight. You could sense their reaction when David showed up at the battle field, while Goliath was strutting, challenging and mocking the Israeli army. Strange, even father Jesse did not have any high expectation of David either, despite the fact he had already killed a lion and a bear protecting his sheep; not a bad record for his resume. This type of insensitivity or botching happens all the time. It must have been a rude awakening when Samuel uncorked the jar and poured the anointing oil on David as future king.
The healing of General Naaman the Syrian, of leprosy with a double jeopardy, of isolation from others and a horrible slow death, is noteworthy. The praise is accorded to prophet Elisha, except with one small side note to a maid servant, possibly from Samaria. We know how faithfully she served her mistress and her assistants, who took note of her testimony. In fact, the whole miracle would not have happened without her, a “loser” – a slave maid! Did any recognize that this girl is a picture or a shadow of future evangelists? She witnessed about God and his prophet from Samaria.
I must have written elsewhere about Ananias, only mentioned once in the holy book (twice for the same incident). Yet, he held the key from God for the salvation of Saul of Tarsus, who later became the great St. Paul. Imagine Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees, who sat at the feet of Gamaliel, grandson of the great Hillel, was led to the Lord by a “certain man named Ananias”. Sometimes I wonder how many second fiddlers and under dogs like the maid of Samaria or the lesser known Ananias, are unnoticed and discarded by the Spiritual? Yes, the labourers are few. Fewer still looks out for these.
I heard an old story of an old missionary couple returning from Africa to USA after fifty years of service. As their ship approached the port of New York, they witnessed a great crowd complete with the media and band playing for a VIP. On the same ship was President Teddy Roosevelt returning after a Safari. The missionary succumbed to despair and complained with tears to the Lord about their sorrowful plight of unrecognition. The Lord consoled him with these famous words “Son, you are not home yet”. What a sad but real story! I did not think much about this story until I started writing this blog post. I wondered, if a veteran professional Missionary could be so upset and chagrined, how many thousands of second and third fiddlers and countless under dogs and losers who are daily and routinely unrecognized and passed by?
E. Stanley Jones wrote referring to the so called laities “these people were given a secondary role and they lived a secondary life” (may not be exact words, as presently I do not have the book with me). Let us by God’s grace resolve to change the status quo!
God bless, Danny Paul
As many of my friends know, I have a soft spot for Calcutta. With all itschallenges, it is still the City of Joy for me. It was our privilege to visit often Carey Baptist Church at Calcutta, when Rev.Walter Corlett, M.B.E, was the pastor.
In my last post ,I noted the Carey family set sail to Calcutta in 1793. Recent information/speculation revealed the Careys could not land at Calcutta. The British East India Company, as known Continue reading “Moochi’s daughter and William Carey – Part II”