Liberative Praxis - A Sermon by Dn. Aby Paul M.
On Wednesday 25th June, Dn. Aby Paul, M.led the first evaluatory worship and sermon for this academic year (2008-9) in Gurukul Chapel. The worship has been an ecumenical blend, songs and prayers taken from different Indian languages and ecumenical orders of worship as well as from his own traditional Syriac liturgy. Aby belongs to the Antiochean wing of the Orthodox Church in India which considers the Patriarch of Antioch as the head of the Church. Both in his worship and sermon he incorporated the ecumenical spirit and bold theological vision of Gurukul together with his Syriac tradition. Traditional Syrian liturgical emblems and Indian Bhajans were profusely used. He titled his sermon, "Liberative praxis: A Mission imperative." It was based on the Lukan text of the healing the crippled woman on a Sabbath in the Synagogue (Luke 13:10-17). Dn. Abey began the sermon by narrating his personal experience in a Church in North India. A local Christian woman came to one of the Syrian Orthodox congregations there to receive Holy Communion. However, the Presbyter would not give her communion because she did not belong to a denomination which has got intercommunion relationship with the Orthodox Church. This incident disturbed him and there started his theological journey in search of the liberative nature of the gospel of Christ and attempts to overcome the denominational barriers imposed on the praxis of the Gospel. He said he would not disown his tradition but would try to make it more liberative. Those who observed Aby all through his years in Gurukul would testify that he has been a conscientious student contributing his best to the ecumenical character of Gurukul. He has been quite active in the various programmes of Gurukul promoting Dalit and gender liberation. He is one who got selected to study in Jerusalem on an exposure programme for three months. He would certainly be an asset to any ecumenical community and certainly to the Indian Christian ecumenical movement.