Tribute to our Beloved Emmanuel
‘What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body…… Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the Man of Heaven…. We shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. ‘
(1 Corinthians 15: 42-53 )
Emmanuel – Go in Peace….
Emmanuel, you are killing us all with your most unexpected, never-thought, untimely and saddest parting … We are frozen… We have suddenly become lifeless and voiceless…A thick dark cloud overshadowing our days… Though we realise what has happened, it is almost impossible for us to accept that you will be terribly missed and unseen in our life here henceforth…
Emil, You had surprised your parents with your coming to this world. It was purely a miracle. Medical science had already given up as it couldn’t find it possible. So, when you came, doctors confessed that it was nothing other than ‘impossible made possible’ by God. Hence your arrival itself was a pronouncement of God’s glory and love ! You challenged the notion of negation of the Divine. You did stand as a proof for ‘prayer answered’. Whether you did it intentionally or not, you have been witnessing God throughout your life. You were exceptional in your behaviour, character, treating others, responding to situations and carrying out your responsibilities. You had an exemplary respect and reverence towards your beloved parents. You cared for them more than you care for yourself. Usually you don’t talk too much. But when you talk, it would be from a convinced and sincere heart. Everybody says that your were always fast regarding driving and in doing your work. Might be intuitive, thinking that time allotted would be minimum, and you thought you would need to keep a fast pace for everything … Surprisingly you came and more surprisingly you went. We are lost absolutely. We don’t know whether the life we have is real or virtual. We are unable to figure it out. Your Dad, Mum and we all have seen you lie silent. But we thought, you would wake up and come back to us. We did wish for another ‘Lazarus occurrence’ . Your Dad and Mom were frequently pleading” Give our child back.” Christ told us that if we have true faith, we would do greater things than He did. We really wished to administer some miracle acts to bring you back. Then we realised our emptiness. These are the times we really wish to be Christ. We blame ourselves for not growing in Spirit and faith like the prophets and apostles who raised people from death.
Emil, you know how much you have shocked and stumbled us with your parting ?! Are you telling us that no parents should boast about their sons and daughters ? Are you telling your friends that there is no guarantee for life though we do right and live righteous ? If a life of good virtues stay only this, then what about wretched creatures like us ? We fight, quarrel, argue, disown and reject without realising the value of things. Might be you intend to teach us the value of everything and everyone in our life. We forget that no moments would be repeated. We are really sad that we couldn’t talk thinking that we were going to part. Do you think we have debts yet to be cleared ? Not from your side anyway. If anything, it would be only from our side. Did you want to say something to us as a farewell message ?
Emmanuel, your parents said that you have visited your home to say good bye at the exact time you met with the accident. They sensed the familiar sweet perfume filling the whole house for a few minutes. Then it got diluted in the air. We don’t perceive certain things. We might question with our swollen head : “Would it be possible for souls to be active and communicate ?” We question the relevance of praying for the departed. We have become too much logical to recognise certain realities of life. Have you noticed, how deeply you are loved by people around and how many people are there in your beloveds circle ? There are many more than you could imagine. Your families and friends were rushing to see you. And you were lying calm and handsome. You knew that we were trying to hold you back. But you had already gone. On these days of parting, your home and your parish church were flooding with your beloved people. Everybody refused consolation. We didn’t want to be consoled. We wanted to cry aloud and scream over your parting. We didn’t like it really, the way you left us. It was not fair vanishing. We are wondering what would be your plan next. Because we know, you won’t be able to leave us like this.
Your Mum always say, when she cooks, she adds love which could be the most perfect tastemaker. Always her food tastes the best ! She was lucky that you were there to enjoy her recipe. She cooked for you. Your parents say that you never bothered to do any cooking, cleaning, washing. You kept it for them to do. Was it your resolution that you allow them to help and assist you in day to day things ? The reason could be your perception of the immanent parting …? !
Your family, you, your dad and mom, you had surprised us the last year with the skit the youth performed on the Perunnal evening. For your script, they gave the voice. It was wonderful and very much touching. We all thought, this time your family would bring a more amazing feast for us. Yes, you did it this time. But it was too much for us to digest and accept ….
I had to trip to Spain and Greece and couldn’t cancel it because the ticketing and accommodation were done already. While I was inside the ‘Sagrada Familia’, (the Sacred Family Cathedral in Barcelona, Antonio Gaudi’s architectural wonder ! ) went to the prayer shrine behind the sanctuary. Sat there for a few minutes for prayer. I thought about you and your beloved ones. While looking up, I got stumbled. In the central piece of the Venetian glass work on the wall it has been written ‘Emmanuel’! This ‘poor being’ understood, where are you and on what dignified plane your life and name has been written!!!
It has really surprised me knowing that you never had a facebook or any social network page accounts ! Might be because you preferred to live in present than living fake in virtual world. You had more ‘one to one’ connectivity than we make online. You have earned more genuine likes in real life than the many untrue likes we earn on fb ! You didn’t need a virtual sharing because you had very intimate sharing with your beloved parents and friends !
We as humans, always raise questions. We question everything. It is our way of making ourselves noticed and make everyone feel that we are more knowledgeable, righteous and efficient. But not many often we realise that there could be more situations where questions act irrelevant, insignificant and useless. Neither those who are questioned nor those who question find answers. There, questions stand still. Where all questions stand still, we begin to know God. Through the psalmist God has said, ” Be still and know that I am God.” Now we realise what does it mean. Now we are more convinced that God is God and He is there ! We have felt it through the support from people far and near, irrespective of faith and denomination. We have felt it through the way your beloved Dad and Mom Jacob survive ! We have felt it through the wonderful fellowship of your neighbours, friends and people around. We have felt it through the ambience the church had on Thursday ! God was filling the place, Spirit was flowing, Christ was standing so close to us !!! The prayers offered for you these days and for your farewell were tremendous and incredible ! We have never seen the Brockley church in this beauty ! Though it was a working day, though it was not late evening, the church was full with people of God ! Emil, you really deserved the best. And we were not the able people to offer you the best. God knew it and He made all the arrangements, we strongly believe. Even the nature cooperated miraculously. Haven’t you seen drizzles before your entry and after your exit ?! Such play of weather we have heard only when saints and great were buried!!! Definitely you are great for us ! You lived honest in a world where it has become very rare a quality, where it is either neglected or counted pointless.
I don’t know whether it would embarrass you if I say my personal experience with you. We had a good rapport always. You always had a beautiful smile for me. On your last birthday, you came to church with your beloved parents. We prayed together and shared sweet ‘payasam’. It was as sweet as you.
It was sheer coincidence, but it has come like this. On my farewell day, you came to the dais to offer me the gift from OCYM. We hugged. Didn’t know it would be the last meeting for us. After the farewell, we again met, talked and hugged. Was it also intuitive?! After you had offered me farewell, then it came as my turn to bid you farewell ! You know how much it did hurt. I was really lost… After your parting, when I visited your home, your Mom told me that you had bought a perfume for me. She wanted to give it to me then and there. I said, “Later.” Your care moved me too much… Why I would need that perfume ? Because, your sweet soul will be with us with the divine fragrance !!!
Emil, We cannot forget you. Because we cannot forget God. Every moment we remember God, we will be remembering you. Every moment we remember you, we will be remembering God as well. Because as your name ‘Emmanu- El’ suggests, you are ‘God with us’ !!! You will be busy now meeting the heroic ancestors of the Bible, the first man and woman, then great prophets, glorious Apostles, early saints, then people of faith through out centuries, and enjoying the freight by heavenly hosts and our close departed ones !!! Hope you would be amazed to enjoy a grand reception up there ! Now you will know clearly, that whatever the Bible says is true ! Everything was shadow for you before, but now they become reality for you. On the sojourn here and there, go in front of us. We will be joining you sooner or later. Anyway in either case we need not to fear. Here we have people familiar, if we come there, we will have you there !!! Till we meet …. Good Bye dear … Tearful Hugs !!!
Here is our humble prayer for you :
O only Creator, who with the depth of wisdom order all things with love for humankind, and apportion to all what is for their good; give rest, Lord to the souls of Your child, for he has put his hope in You, our Maker and Fashioner and God. Give rest with the just, our Saviour, to Your servant and make him dwell in Your courts, as it is written; as You are good, overlooking our offences voluntary and involuntary, and all that we commit knowingly or in ignorance, O Lover of humankind. Truly all things are vanity, life is but a shadow and a dream, and vainly do humans trouble themselves, as the Scripture says. For when we have gained the world, then we shall dwell in the tomb, where kings and beggars are the same. Therefore, Christ God, give rest to Your child who has passed over, for You love humankind.
Lord, Lord, the consolation of the afflicted, the comfort of the grieving and the help of all in distress, in Your compassion console all those who are afflicted by grief for the parting soul; heal all the pain of sorrow that lies heavy on their hearts, and to Your child Emmanuel who has fallen asleep in hope of resurrection give rest in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For You are the repose of Your servants and to You we offer glory, to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
For each one of us
Yours in Christ
Thomas John Achan
Fr. Thomas P. John
Vicar, St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church