The Light of Life Magazine
A ministry of Christian writing




June 2011

SATHYA; ASHES, JIHAD OR SWITCHBLADE


Cyril Georgeson

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

We have just got past a season of national grief over the passing away of Puttaparthi Sai Baba. Almost every political leader, business tycoon and celebrity was edging the other out to express their grief. The media reported that Sachin Tendulkar skipped his birthday party and spent his time watching the happenings at the Prasanthi Nilayam where his remains were laid till the funeral. Sai Baba’s involvement included the fields of Medical Work, Education and other Social work. The Times of India front page article was titled ‘From Puttaparthi to Eternity,’ in a font size generally reserved for national leaders.

It does not take much to see the bias of the media. This bias could be further seen by the headline of another article in the same newspaper-‘His harshest critics died with a wish unfulfilled,’ naming individuals like Abraham Kovoor and B Premanand who had challenged him to do his miracles in scientifically controlled conditions. It almost seemed to be claiming vindication for the guru from Puttaparthi because he had outlived his detractors. Yes, that surely is twisted logic, but there are sufficient buyers for it. Abraham Kovoor, the well known rationalist, was known to have produced ash out of thin air to prove his point that there was nothing miraculous about Sai Baba. When Kovoor went to meet him, though Sai Baba knew of his coming, he moved to another ashram in Whitefield. Narasimhaiah who was chairman of the ‘Committee to investigate miracles and other verifiable superstitions’ also challenged him to do his miracles under scientifically controllable conditions, but he refused to do so. Later he is quoted as saying ‘Narasimhaiah’s approach was improper, that is why I reject it. The formula that nothing can be created out of nothing is appropriate to the limited field and dimensions of science. It does not at all apply to the transcendental field and dimensions of spirituality.’

Another matter that was now briefly mentioned, but swiftly swept under the carpet, was a book written by Tal Brooks called Avatar of the night: The hidden side of Sai Baba where he exposed the sexual escapades of the Baba. Of course, Sai Baba’s followers say that this is propaganda by ‘Christian Fundamentalists,’ little realising that he became a follower of Christ much after this expose.

In the first week of May, India and much of the world went into celebratory mode with the death of another individual-Osama bin Laden. He was considered the world's foremost terrorist. One could almost hear the collective global sigh of relief on hearing this news. So much has been written about him; it would only be a waste of ink to write more-save that this too was a very high profile death and representing another world religion, Islam.

No Interest
This brings us to another death in the last week of April--that of David Wilkerson. This, of course, was not reported in the Indian media because there would be no interest in him. He was the Pastor of the Times Square Church in New York. The church met in a converted theatre at Broadway. He was well known for his evangelistic work among the dangerous gangs of New York, which began when he saw photographs of convicted murderers, who were in street gangs, in Life magazine. His book The Cross and the Switchblade was a bestseller. It tells the story of the first five years of Wilkerson in the dark alleys of the city which is the crossroad and mosaic of the world -- New York.

In his later years, he spoke of the threat to the church from within--the prosperity gospel. He was willing to take names of those who were proponents of the same, though he faced heavy criticism. Ironically, his last blog read: "To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights, and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of My plan. It was no accident."

He died in what was reported as an accident: after his car slammed into a tractor-trailer on a highway about 150km southeast of Dallas.

Three lives lived-Sai Baba, Osama bin Laden and David Wilkerson. Each of them believed that they were serving God; each considered himself a religious leader. One built a kingdom around the ability to produce ash out of thin air; another with the ability to produce fear, but the last one with the ability to make switchblades disappear out of the hands and lives of youngsters. One, the cynosure of national attention, the other drawing international interest and the last one largely ignored. But, who would really count for eternity? Consider the words of this poem by C. T. Studd titled 'Only one life, ‘twill soon be past':

Two little lines I heard one day,
Travelling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfil,
Living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me, Lord, with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervour burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, "Thy will be done";
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say "'twas worth it all";
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.




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