Indian Church urged to come out of picnic mode

By Jose Kavi

New Delhi: Christians in India must come out of their big institutions and celebrations of feasts to redeem the country through the power of Christ, says a former Air Force officer who became an ascetic after a near-death experience.

“The Church in India has been on a picnic mode so far. We celebrate festivals. We have big institutions but Christ and cross have no place in the Church,” regretted Acharya Sachidananda Bharathi on April 13 at the opening of a historic national seminar in New Delhi.

The 71-year-old former atheist, who encountered Christ during an air accident in 1982, wants Christians in India to come on the mission mode and work for “dharma rajya” or kingdom of God that Christ preached.

“Our mission is to bring the kingdom of God in this land where great sages have visualized the dharma rajya from the beginning of human history,” the acharya told some 75 Christians from various parts of the country attending the three-day seminar on “Christian Leadership for a Culture of Peace in the Multi-religious Context of India.”

Six observers from other religions are also attending the seminar at Navjivan Renewal Centre that aims to create a task force of 72 Christian leaders who are guided by the Spirit of Christ to work for what is called the second freedom struggle through “tyaga archana” (sacrificial offering).

The acharaya described a Christian as someone who carries Christ within, not just a baptized member of a Church. “I am told there are 40,000 churches in the world. Being a member of a church is not being a Christian in the real sense,” he asserted.

The saffron-clad, balding sanyasi, who founded the Disciples of Christ for Peace, also noted that the distinguishing mark of a Christian is their faith in Christ’s assurance, “Be not be afraid” and their willingness to become carriers of peace that Christ gives.

“Christians must be at their best when the world is at its worst. Because Christ is with us. When Christ is with us nothing can be against us,” he added. He also asserted that the world can be redeemed only by the power of the cross.

He said Mahatma Gandhi gave expression to the power of the cross in modern times when he adopted satyagraha (truth force) to fight an external enemy, the British colonists. “We have to embrace tyaga archan and sahana (suffering) yoga as our mukti marg (liberative path) to fight the enemies within such as greed, lust, anger and selfishness,” he explained.

The participants
A person can help end the slavery to karma, caste and destiny in the country only when he or she is free from within, he asserted.

Acharya Sachidanananda also noted that it was the first time a national seminar was organized in the Indian Church without the blessings of the hierarchy or help of NGOs. “This is not an ecclesiastical seminar or an NGO seminar. It is a unique seminar where every participant registers, pays for the expenses and stays at the venue during the entire period,” he explained.

The seminar was opened by Bishop Thomas Thuruthimattam of Gorakhpur, who is also a participant.

The Acharya also noted that the seminar coincided with the national celebration of Vaisakhi that commemorates the establishment of Khalsa Panth in Sikh religion by Guru Gobind Singh to protect their Guru Granth, their sacred scripture.

April 14 also marks the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution who worked for the annihilation of caste, the Christian sanyasi noted.

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7 thoughts on “Indian Church urged to come out of picnic mode

  1. Only picnics, birthday celebrations, bullfights, and such other acrobatics and amusements, cannot be our way of proceeding. Indian Church needs to be evangelized and revitalized.

  2. It is very easy to preach. If anyone accuses Church or priests or some selected individuals,a Great many will gather to shout/comment. This Acharya should do all good things,living with his wife and caring for her and the children. Leaving the family for good and preaching Ten Commandments and occasionally criticising Church and the clergy.! Some so called scholars argue —. “ There is no need for Church and priests, all should simply love , that is real Church and real Jesus”

  3. Every Christian individual has a mission to establish kingdom of God which is a challenging task in the modern world.

    Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matt.5:5-10.

  4. The Church in media has become “institutionalized”. It is high time that the Church needs to come out of what was highlighted in the workshop “picnic mode” and go out to the people and the communities. that is where Christ is found among the people especially the poor, the dalit, the downtrodden, the vulnerable and the underprivileged.

  5. The religious hierarchy doesn’t like this sermon of true Christianity. As he said very specifically and precisely, the Church world of India was in a picnic mode for very long. The royal parades-celebrations-fire works and the rest, but JESUS CHRIST was an outsider.
    Acharya Sachidanands who was an atheist had an encounter with CHRIST, thus speaking the whole truth.

    Gandhiji’s life was fully transformed when he read the Beatitudes, Mathew 5 (Bible). That is the guideline for every believer in CHRIST to live like a King on this earth.

    The Churches of India must have a real revival and a true U-turn from the current method of operation; now simply as an institution fully focused in a business empire with a Cross at the top. JESUS must be in the lives of the people, else the whole show is a mere waste of time and energy.

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