19 November, 2019

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“O Little Town Of Bethlehem, How Still We See Thee Lie…The Hopes And Fears Of All The Years Are Met In Thee Tonight”

By Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

A Christmas Reflection

Bethlehem –birthplace of the Incarnate One

Bethlehem is the little village in which Jesus was born. It was here, that the unseen God emptied himself to become human in the form of Jesus, so that humans could hear and know God best through the idiom of the human, and rise to a fully integrated life. The festival that commemorates this historical self-giving act of God taking flesh, known as the incarnation; is Christmas.

Jesus’ life elaborates on God’s act of selfless love and the crux of His teaching calls us to live the incarnation. Living the incarnation in turn requires that we rise above self-interest to serve and include the other, especially the vulnerable, as Jesus did. But this is half the task. We are to also carefully discern and contest oppressive greed that excludes the other, especially the vulnerable, as Jesus did.

Bethlehem- guardian and prophetess of the Incarnation

Ever since the birth of Jesus little Bethlehem, has been endowed with a particularly daunting responsibility. She has had to preserve the narrative of the incarnation and announce its value for life. History teaches that over the centuries, through strife and stability, she has honoured this dual call of guardian and prophetess.   

Today Bethlehem watches as vast expanses of Palestinian territory are subject to oppressive greed; the very opposite of the message she gave birth to.   These harsh changes cannot however undermine her God given vocation. In fact these realities, take her to the vulnerable heart of the incarnation to which she is to bear witness. Just as the fullest stature of Jesus the Incarnate One became known as He experienced intrigue and violent opposition, so Bethlehem the village that announces His birth stands tall through these contemporary acts of abuse and violence, to renounce greed and kindle hope. Neither powers nor principalities can obstruct her vocation.     

It is from this stance that Bethlehem draws attention, this Christmas, to the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. She reminds us that this is but one scene in the larger tragic drama of illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.  As the cradle that held the prince of peace, Bethlehem affirms that this arbitrary expansionism is wrong and must stop; and Israel must revert to the internationally agreed lines of territorial demarcation.  Neither dividing walls nor armed settlers can stifle this. 

As part of a land under Roman occupation then, that nevertheless anticipated the liberation of the world, Bethlehem does not stop here. She sees beyond to assure us that this impulsive pronouncement motivated by a Judeo-Christian- Zionist push from within, and the external Israeli pull to seize a land meant for two peoples under two equal states, will in the long run prove counter-productive. The historic Palestinian claims over Jerusalem as well as the confirmed position of the International community that Jerusalem is to remain a shared space among three world religions, will rise again with fresh energy to isolate US haste and gain global endorsement. Neither pronouncements nor coalitions will prevent this.

Bethlehem –promise of incarnational change 

Bethlehem the guardian prophetess brings us a clear choice this Christmas. We can remain passive perpetrators of oppressive greed that excludes people from their legitimate rights and homelands, or raise our voices and pick up our pens to expose and resist such anti-incarnation policies that continue to humiliate the vulnerable peoples of our world; be it the Palestinians, the Rohingyas of Myanmar or the Tamils of our own beloved Sri Lanka.    

It is in the second of these options that the vibrancy of Bethlehem will convert Christmas into a peoples’ festival of discernment, resistance and transformation. And it is only then that the true Jesus community will incarnate in our own soil and rise to manifest one flesh with all living beings.

With Peace and Blessings to all

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Latest comments

  • 4
    2

    Thank you Bishop.

    Any message from our Theros?

    • 0
      5

      Hello bishop, dont write nonsense when you dont have a first hand experience. Was there Palestine in Roman empire?

      As an Anglican, I can say that you are real traitor and Opportunist…shame on you

      • 2
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        There was no Roman Empire, No Palestine… NO SINHALA BUDDHISM when we left Africa.

        • 1
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          “Raise our voices and pick up our pens to expose the perpetrators of oppressive greed that excludes people from their legitimate rights and home lands which policies continue to humiliate vulnerable people of the world including Tamils of our on beloved Srilanka” – Well said honourable Bishop, my classmate in school.

  • 4
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    Don’t blame the Israelis without blaming the American, British, and European Christians. They were all hand in glove with each other, EVEN NOW.

    Stop the pretence. Like you, they used Christianity to subjugate masses and take away their lands.

    Remember what the Native American Chief said – “The Christians told us to close our eyes and pray, and when we opened our eyes we were holding onto Bible and they were owning our land.”

    Don’t use Jesus name in vain.

    • 3
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      This is exactly what happened in Srilanka. Vijaya begged Kuweni to give him asylum as he was chased out from his land due to criminal activity. Once she closed her eyes to sleep, Vijaya killed her and usurped her land.

  • 2
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    In this day and age ? It must be wonderful to be ignorant !

    The Proven Continuity of Life:
    Francis Torrey Morton – 1913 –
    One of the greatest proofs Christians bring forward to establish the historical existence of Jesus is the letter of Pliny the Younger, to Trajan. There was such a letter but the word “Christians” written thereon was a forgery. The word used was Essenes, not Christians. Pliny says, that as early as the beginning of the second century, A. D., no such person as Jesus Christ was known, and no such people as Christians had ever been heard

    Arthur Lillie
    Buddhism in Christendom: Or, Jesus, the Essene 1887

    The Portuguese Ribeyro as late as in 1701 announces in his “History of Ceylon” that Buddha is St. Thomas.

    Jesus as He was & is:
    Samuel G. Craig – 1914 –
    How different it is as regards those great miracles that center in Jesus himself, such as the incarnation and the atonement and the resurrection ! Such miracles do not simply reveal Jesus; apart from them there would be no such person as Jesus. We could not leave them out of consideration without leaving Jesus himself out of consideration

    There Was No Jesus:
    Jonathan N. Roberts, ‎Gretta Spearman – 1996
    All the evidence I could collect in my mortal life about their so-called Jesus, convinced me that no such person ever lived

    Tony Bushby (Bible Fraud)

    “ the ‘original’ Greek text was not written until around the mid-Fourth Century and was a revised edition of writings compiled decades earlier in Aramaic and Hebrew. Those earlier documents no longer exist and the Bibles we have today are five linguistic removes from the first Bibles written. What was written in the ‘original originals’ is quite unknown”

    Kersey Graves (Bible of Bibles)

    Another council, which met in 406, voted them, with several other books, out of the Bible again. And thus were books and dogmas voted in and voted out of “the infallible and inspired word of god,” and altered and corrected, time after time and century after century, by twenty-four different councils, composed by bigoted bishops and clergymen, so quarrelsome and belligerent that they resorted to fisticuffs fighting in several of the councils”

    • 0
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      I can give you hundreds of well qualified scholars even some of them are not christians confirming that Jesus was existed.

      If you want learn the history of Christianity, just do a research with real scholars who spent many years of this subject like , F B Bruce, Craig Evans Sir William Ramsey

  • 4
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    The Church of England which De Chickera represents was founded in dubious circumstances. The Pope in Rome refused to sanction a Royal divorce for King Henry V111. In 1520’s and before the pope was seen as Gods representative on earth. All the Kings of Europe were under his jurisdiction. The nefarious Thomas Cromwall Henry’s minster suggested creating England’s version of the Church. The pope’s role was taken by the newly created Archbishop of Canterbury who granted
    the Divorce. Henry promptly had had his first wife beheaded. 5 other wives were also beheaded for failing to produce a son. The most famous of these wives was Anne Boleyn. The 2008 film the Boleyn sisters with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson depicts the savages of England at that point in History.

    The irony of History is Kalu suddas in Sri Lanka slavishly follow foreign ideas when in fact Christianity is dead in the West. People are doing Yoga, Meditation and Zen Buddhism. Even the Dalai Larma is viewed as a God

    The Future of Christianity:
    John Stenhouse, ‎Brett Knowles, ‎G. A. Wood – 2004
    Death of Christian Britain draws on a variety of statistics to contemplate the unthinkable: the end of the church in the United Kingdom. Kevin Ward paints a similar picture in New Zealand, where he estimates that church attendance has halved since 1960. These are mere indicators of what is now a universal trend within Western Christianity; the rapid numerical decline of the church. I have described it elsewhere as a ‘haemorrhage’ which threatens to bleed the enterprise to death.

    • 0
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      Now, now Nero,

      You may have fiddled when Rome burned, but Henry VIII did not behead quite so many of his wives. Get exact details from Wikipedia. I’m not wasting time on that.

      Catherine was divorced, not beheaded. I think she actually retreated to her brother’s kingdom, Spain, and brought Mary up to hate all Protestants. So, once ascending the throne on the death of Henry’s sickly son, she became the “Bloody Mary” who tried to bring Catholicism back.

      Henry’s last wife survived him. So some of your facts are not correct. So much for our efforts to write History. It just isn’t my subject, so I’m sure that it’s quite all right for me to say that I just don’t have some of those details in my head.

      But those who want to be around to greet Jesus on His second coming must get their facts right.

    • 0
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      Niro Christianity is certainly not dead, but like in all other religions younger generations are very apathetic to religion. Many reasons for that. The past two generations were exposed to a wide spectrum of knowledge and ideologies which stimulate independent thought. Over 50 years ago it was the family and the school which were the main source of knowledge and information for the young mind, and religion had a firm hold on both. This has declined, and temple and church attendance have also consequently declined. In fact many churches around the world possibly 10 to 20 % of all churches have completely lost their congregations and have been deconsecrated and sold.Singapore which was a predominantly Buddhist country in the 1960s have today a large proportion who have declared that they do not follow any religion. My guess is that within the next century religion will become obsolete and inconsequential in people’s lives.
      Now this is my observation, and all those religious fanatics out there please do not reach out to the keyboard to direct hate mail to me. Even if you do, it will not worry me in the least.

  • 5
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    How very astute of Trump to use scriptural formality to cure the ME dilemma. In name of the Most High, give the pride of Jerusalem to the Jews (thus satisfying the Christian imagining), and free up the rest of the region for Palestine. Same with Sri Lanka : set up Jaffna 1-mile x 1-mile x 1- mile for ancient Tamil once-upon-a-time rights, and the rest of the county can belong to the 2.500 years of Sinhalese heritage.

  • 4
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    Tony Bushby (Bible Fraud)“

    the ‘original’ Greek text was not written until around the mid-Fourth Century and was a revised edition of writings compiled decades earlier in Aramaic and Hebrew. Those earlier documents no longer exist and the Bibles we have today are five linguistic removes from the first Bibles written. What was written in the ‘original originals’ is quite unknown”

    Kersey Graves (Bible of Bibles)
    .“The Roman-Catholic Bible differs essentially from that of the Protestants, having fourteen more books. The Bible of the Greek Church differs from both. The Campbellites have a translation of their own. The Samaritan Bible contains only the five book of Moses. The Unitarians, having found 24,000 errors in the popular translation, made another translation containing still many thousands errors. The American Christian Union, having found many thousands of errors in the King James Translation, are now engaged in a new translation. How many more are we to have, god only knows. Martin Luther condemned eleven books of the Bible…and thus made a Bible for himself. Paul’s Epistles to the Hebrews he denounced in strong terms…Dr. Lardner and John Calvin each condemned five or six books, and had a Bible peculiar to themselves. Grotius places the heel of condemnation on several books of the Bible. Bishop Baxter voted down eight books as uninspired, and unworthy of confidence.

  • 2
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    Oh Bishop, stop your nonsense. Jesus was NOT born on Christmas Day.

  • 0
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    Bishop Duleep de Chickera’s last sentence ~ “With peace and blessings to all”
    The world will be blessed if there is peace.

  • 3
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    Bishop Chickera, walking around Colombo on Christmas night I see burka clad ladies, saronged old gents, riotous children, the hip girls in short shorts and mini dresses, lithe Tamil youth happy and loud, going to parties, shopping for ice cream, enjoying the haphazard and colorful lights. There is a traffic jam along Galle Road, 30 million Rupee SUVs trying go pass the double parked three-wheelers. I see people of all ethnic ancestries, people of all economic classes, people of all colors and creeds, mingling peacefully, happily. And yet sir, Bishop Chickera with your jaded eyes you see discrimination, discontent and downright ugliness. Why do you try to dredge up some non existing discrimination, why do you want to incite discontent, why do you want to go back to the division and violence, on Christmas day of all days?

  • 0
    0

    One question to the exalted Bishop. Tell us about your fellow members of the Friday Forum which you used as a platform to attack the previous regime. Where are they, and why are you and your fellow conspirators silent on the Bond Scam.?
    Shame on you. Your pretence to be a honourable person is as vacuous as the bogus goodwill you are now tring to offer. It is easy to get behind the cloak of spiritual activism which I believe is to shield your past political interventions in the name of the church. Have you nothing to say about the corruption, the pilferage, the moral decadence, and the plundering of the national coffers taking place under YAHAPALANAYA? You have no respect for public opinion and the public will treat you with the contempt you deserve.go and hide in some place from where you cannot emerge.

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