Once again I am at Maramon. Sitting here in the crowded pandal I was wondering what brings all these people here in this sweltering heat. In the inaugural day itself the Metropolitan made it clear that it is not a revival meet as many think but more of an occasion for understanding the deeper meanings of the word of God. How many among this multitude have come with that altruistic intention in search for the ultimate truth? I am more with the jesting Pilate who asks “What is truth?” and would not stay for an answer.
So what brings ME here? Being a Syrian Christian born in a Marthoma family, the spirit of Maramon runs in the veins. I had heard my father talk about his trips to Kozhenchery by country boat from Mavelikara, listening to renowned speakers like Kagawa, the Japanese Missionary, William Mott, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Stanley Jones the staunch Methodist. As a college student I remember roaming around the stalls and booths outside the venue and just return without ever sitting inside for two torturing hours.
Much water has flowed down the river Pamba since then. Slowly I was caught inside without ever recognizing it. It was the final day of the convention in 2004. I was there in one of those back seats. Dr.Cleophus LaRue had just concluded his phenomenal oration. The crowd was about to disperse with the customary song “sthuthippin.. sthuthippin..” Suddenly there was a cloudburst and a huge downpour. The choir smoothly changed over to “Asissam maari”(the Malayalam version of “Showers of blessing”) as if on a hint from above. And that was indeed an year of blessing for me personally. Ever since, I attended the Convention in unquestioning obedience. Just as a whole week seems to go waste without a church attendance on Sunday, the prospects of the year ahead seem to depend on your annual attendance at Maramon.
Well! My reason tells me that the Universe out there runs on the laws of physics and chemistry. Is there really a living God up there who keeps a watch over you as a loving father or a caring uncle? Is there life after death? Is there heaven and hell or a re-birth waiting for you depending on your deeds on this earth? There is little to believe that anything is left after you lose your consciousness and finally close your eyes, except as some memories of your loved ones. Are our prayers answered indubitably though we sing day in and day out to a God who is supposed to listen to your every prayer? Of course as Christians we can always find excuses for the failed prayers. Trapped in the misgivings of the past and uncertainties of future we are constantly on the lookout for citadels of refuge, clutches to support ourselves.
Though I know all the arguments to support the above rational view I still pray to my God for benevolence and peace despite the cerebral spins. Though my trust in the Lord may not be exactly like Mount Sion that abideth for ever, I love to hang on to that old God and say my daily prayers.
February 2018: This year too I was at Maramon and Dr. Rajkumar Ramachandran appeared to respond to my blog. Among many other things he spoke that day his reference to St.Thomas (doubting Thomas) was very much topical to me. It is true that Jesus did not answer Pilate during the trial when he raised the question “What is truth”. But in John Chapter 14 vs.6 Jesus had already answered the question to Thomas his disciple: “I am the way the truth and the life”. Why this was specifically revealed to Thomas? According to Dr.Rajkumar, may be Jesus foresaw that Thomas was to be the apostle for India taking the gospel to the “argumentative Indians” like me.