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Paper Topic:

Visit to Church

p Visit to Church

Introduction

Any religion , as it is practiced today , has two purposes . Work with a mission , or work for commission . Mostly , the religious institutions have become trade and commercial centers . The original purpose , for which they have been established , is neglected and self-interests dominate The pages of human history daubed in bloodshed , in the name of upholding religion (this is applicable to all the religions ) are asking a crying question . How to make this Planet Earth heaven-like ? The answer is simple and direct . Eyes full of understanding , heart

full of love and the life that refuses conflicts -enough , these alone are enough . I respect all religions . I abhor religious conversions , under duress or through unfair means , even though I respect the right of an individual to practice the precepts of any one or all religions . What appeals to me most in the Christian faith is the missionary zeal of the Preachers--their commitment to spread education , especially amongst the economically weaker sections . It has been my earnest desire to visit a church and discuss issues related to Christianity , especially that of education from the Christian perspective

The visit proper

It is a small beautiful church catering to the needs of a semi-urban centre (bigger than a village and smaller than a town . My job is transferable , and I have been posted in this place since two years . The Christian population of this centre is sizeable , about 30 , the numerical strength is about 4000 .My neighbor , now a friend , is a Christian . I am quite impressed with his disciplined approach to life his regular prayers at a fixed time of the day , his Sunday Church visits etc . When I expressed my desire to visit the church on any day , except Sunday , he readily agreed to take me to the Vicar of the Church , whom he knew well

The Vicar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ' Church is a very friendly individual . He has the look of an intellectual . He is involved in the management of the Little Angels School ' My first step within the Church premises and what impressed me most was its ambiance . It was a very well maintained property . With a fairly big lush green lawn and with an excellent garden , it was highly pleasing . Roses of various hues welcomed us . Inside the church proper , the neatly arranged prayer benches were mostly empty that day . Vicar James is expecting us , as we have fixed up a prior appointment . He took us to his study room , and without wasting a minute , initiated the discussion , after we were formally introduced by my friend

The interview was conducted with a professional touch and the Vicar noted down my questions and often took notes

Question : Can you tell me something about yourselves

Vicar : I am Vicar of this Church since 2001 and I am the founder-President of Little Angels School

Question : Father , what is your responsibility towards the school ? You are so busy in Church-related issues

Vicar : This is not a very big Church , and it is possible to own and discharge multiple responsibilities , if one budgets the time properly . I mostly lead school assemblies , remain present on special occasions , and lend moral and spiritual support to the parents and children

Question : What would you say about relationship with the staff , students and parents and guardians of the students

Vicar : One of absolute harmony . Internally , I am much to the School because this school is an important part of the local community We have an excellent Principal and the staff members know their responsibilities towards the children . The teaching assignments are tough , the discipline aspect is strict , but this is all done with an undercurrent of love . We all know our responsibilities to mold the children into ideal human beings . I feel great , and enjoy being part of the life in the school . I feel young to be in the company of young and enthusiastic students

Question : I see , you take lots of interest in socio-cultural activities Is it part of the church philosophy

Vicar : Very much . It is the part . Every action has a spark of divinity in it . An action is either good or bad . And as per the law of divine retribution , an individual has to suffer or enjoy for it , in the process of the results of his actions getting fructified . For the all-round growth of the personality of children , we wish they remain always busy as the idle mind is the devil 's workshop . Most of the school children and faculty members in this township , including my own , come for church visits . They take part in Christmas carol services , and in the process they get trained in vocal music and other musical instruments . They are taken to visit Old Age Homes , Reformation Centre of juveniles , we hold camps in villages to familiarize the children about the living conditions there - and yes , and we conduct exhibitions of the painting and other handicrafts created by children

Question : How do you make the visits to the Church , of the children and visitors like me interesting ? The Church is empty today and no activities seem to take place

Vicar : To an extent you are right . But any visit is made interesting . As for the people , they mostly attend services and prayer meetings on Sundays . You won 't have leg space in the main hall and people stand in the garden and say prayers . This Church has some history behind it . In the adjacent hall you find a permanent exhibition related to the history /past activities of the Church . You find framed posters paintings , taking a few rounds of the building and the lush green lawns is in itself special education , you can see the church model in the exhibition room , the children can sing hymns and pray , the majestic pulpit from where the Vicar delivers sermons , the babies are baptized on Sundays . Children get different ideas by visiting the church and interactions with the Church people . They ask strange questions , and become emotional to see Christ crucified on the Cross etc

Question : Sorry Vicar , I need to ask some serious questions that may not be to your liking . But these questions have been pestering my mind for the last several years , and I thank my friend , this day I got an opportunity to unburden them

Vicar : You are welcome with your questions .I am willing to learn something new from you . Discussion is the tool to sharpen the intellect

Question : Is Church too has become ritualistic ? Is it only Cross on the neck , and no Christ in the heart

Vicar : The Church conducts certain rituals too . But that is only the minor part of the objectives for which the Church stands for . Spiritual values are the foundation of Christianity

Question : You believe that Christ is the Son of God

Vicar : Yes we all do . But your question needs more elaboration . Now , an individual , named Lazarus was sick . When Jesus heard that , he said This sickness is not unto death , but for the glory of God , that the Son of God might be glorified thereby (John 11 :1-4 (Bible

In this passage , Jesus calls himself the Son of God . Though he was truly united with God , his reference here has a deep impersonal significance . The Son of God is the Christ or Divine Consciousness in man . No mortal can glorify God . The only honor that man can pay his Creator is to seek Him man cannot glorify an Abstraction that he does not know . The `glory ' or nimbus around the head of the saints is a symbolic witness of their capacity to render divine homage

Question : Have you seen God or experienced Christ

Vicar : I will put it in a different way . I have a strong desire to experience God through Christ . I am still the seeker treading the path of spirituality . Only Christ is perfect and he can lead us to God . I will again support this from an important quote from the Bible . No man hath seen God at any time , the only begotten Son , which is in the bosom of the Father he hath declared him (John 1 :18

Verily , verily I say unto you ' Jesus explained , the Son can do nothing of himself , but what he seeth the Father do : for what things soever he doeth , these also doeth the Son likewise (John 5 :19-Bible

A sincere seeker will definitely understand this relationship

Question : Thank you very much Father . I think I need to come to you quite often , as on the basis of what you have told me about Christianity , as per my humble opinion , the Ultimate Truth is one and the same . The conflicts , differences if any , are up to the mind level of the human beings . Once we are able to transcend the mind-barrier , we are all same-the children of Immortal Bliss . Do you agree Father

Vicar : I need to . What is important to me is that we must exchange view points , and learn about each other 's beliefs

-- --Saying profound thanks to the Vicar , I returned home along with my friend . My first visit to the Church ended on a happy and enlightened note . My conviction that the essence of all the religions is the same stood further strengthened . The Vicar was a warm , friendly and inspiring personality and as we came out of the main gate of the Church , the Church seemed to extend a profound invitation to me to visit again

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