By Bishop Duleep de Chickera –
Why Jesus died
Jesus did not die by accident. He was killed through a conspiracy by those whose oppressive ways were exposed by his dual thrust of compassion and truth. But death was not the last word. Jesus was raised by God as a sign that compassionate-truth surpasses the evil schemes of the wicked and will eventually overcome violence. This clarifies nation building in a nut shell; a people rise when compassion and truth flourish above all else.
Righteousness brings justice
In the Biblical worldview truth is the understanding of God’s purposes for Humankind and all creation. It is never abstract but is to be internalised and manifest through compassion. It is this living trend, passed on from generation to generation that enhances right relationships and values and is known as righteousness. The social consequence of righteousness is justice, demonstrated through the equal application of compassionate-truth. Since righteousness yearns and lives for justice, justice abounds when compassionate-truth abounds.
From the margins to the centre
Compassionate- truth among a people compels the plight of the poor and vulnerable to be brought into the centre of the national discourse. The poor are not to be evicted from our cities and hearts and memory. Neither are they to remain a foot note in our economic schemes, policies and planning. They are to be the primary entry point and central corrective in nation building.
Enemies of all life
When the poor and the vulnerable are brought to the centre, the two eternal enemies of all life, denounced by the best in true religion, will inevitably be exposed. These are exploitation; the abuse of human energy, dignity and trust, and accumulation; the obsession to hoard more than what is necessary for tomorrow. Since democratic governments cannot dictate ethics to its people it must do the next best thing and firmly legislate against exploitation and accumulation. Governments entrusted with a mandate to raise the quality of life of all her people that fail to do so, fail substantially.
Cycle of abuse
Exploitation and accumulation are not restricted to the area of material wealth. They have a cancerous effect. They begin in the world of material wealth and if unchecked, spread beyond to other areas of life – our roads, sport, education, parliament, governance, mother earth, external affairs and so on. Those used to taking more expand their boundaries to take even more, everywhere. This, as we only know too well, is the cycle of abuse which we are compelled to rid ourselves of. If not we will continue embroiled in senseless power struggles and slowly disintegrate and decline.
Hundred days plus
The vision of a rising nation goes beyond a hundred days. It is to fill every day of a lifetime. Our beloved Sri Lanka will be a very different place if a significant number of those in positions that influence social values most – education, the arts, the media, politics and religion – develop a suspicious restlessness towards tanha and are relentlessly disturbed by the plight of the poor and vulnerable. They will then search diligently for the poor and the vulnerable, find options that improve their quality of life with dignity and resist exploitation and accumulation both personally and structurally.
The liberation of all
Stooping to include and rise is never a one way street. Those who stoop to rise with others are also liberated. In fact the lives of sages such as Ambedkar, Kannangara, Tagore, Mandella and so on teach us that the more we stoop the higher we rise. This then is the time tested way of discovering our full humanity and certainly the best chance for our beloved Sri Lanka to rise, and remain risen with integrity.
With Peace and Blessings to all