Dear Mr.Paul Reji,
Just my thoughts on this subject.May not be that
comprehensive or authoritative but may help you
in making your conclusions as it comes from
someone in the younger generation.
1) Lengthy service/qurbana actually adds to the
beauty of our worship.If you ask me,which day
you feel more involved and concentrated in the
worship,my answer will be and is 'good friday'.I
always felt that our service and its timings are
unique and it has its valuable justifications
and reasonings.Even RCC scholars accept that
the reason why they are losing people left and
right and why orthodox church is growing is
beacuse they made compromises in this aspect.
Think about our matrimonial service.I have many
of my collegemates (non-christians) who love to
attend our matrimonial service simply because of
the beauty of it..may be because it is musical
also..but think abt the protestant way,i never
liked it.rather,i prefer the hindu way...so
basically,it is about involvement and it lies
with the individual.
2) Use of syriac words...its is easy to just
ignore it.but think of the meanings and the
context of where they are used...We all like to
hear "Mariyam Deelethok" as soon as the veil is
moved."Kuriayelaayisson/Kyreyelaison" has its
own significance when we recite it..i have heard
one chemmachen from Kottayam (he is in chennai now)
reciting kuriyelaison for good friday..he could
pass on the involvement to each one inside the
church from that simple word...rather,if we could
avoid syriac now for convenience,lot of malayalees
prefer to be 'mallus' or 'mala...yaaali' these days
who prefer to comment 'malayalam kurachu kurachu
ariyum' and in few years they will question the need
of having malayalam in our prayers!!!!not saying that
is a problem,but there will be no end for it...and
no significance for the works of our anscestors..(cite
3)reciting lords prayer only once..we can expect more
questions like why we have more diptychs?why not only
one?and to the extend of why so many times we say
4)That 'effect' from a protestant pastor is not there
in our church..If people prefer that glorified version
of charismatism,then sorry,our qurbana cant provide
the same...But we also have answers for the same.Go
for prayer meetings by St.Paul's mission..Or go to
Potta or listen to Naikkaparambil achen.And I wont
like to see our worship to be altered to satisfy this
section of people.I come from Thiruvalla, a place
where you can see all varieties of protestant churches.
And to be correct,their majority of members are females..
(sad to say..but a big truth).Their strength consists
of those house wives who have no other work after their
children goes to school, aged parents who spent their
time waiting for a phone call from their children who
are abroad and those people who were ignored by our
church when they were in need.(The last part needs
clarification...when some our our members are in
hospitals our church people and priests never had the
time to go to them..either we were busy..or we were
held up by kottayam people to be near our church so
that they wont close it down)..and all those pastors
had the time to visit and console them...As a church,
we can definitely work for the third section.But others
who went in search of immediate and true salvation,i
dont care.let them go.nothing will happen to our church.
those who wanted to go,either to protestants (including
marthomites) or those who wanted to flock with kottayam
group has already left(say whatever reason they suggest).
let them believe in themselves and grow or whatever.those
who remained here stayed for a cause and reason and they
will never feel the need to change all traditions on one
5)our priests not addressing social issues..i am not
eligible to comment on this.but i too found it little
'for the sake of it' when some of our priests talk on
those sundays with "rich man going to heaven"/"camel
passing through" and all.to be frank,only once i felt
this topic interesting when one achen discussed about
the need of the camel to bend down to pass through that
gate of the church of jerusalem.IOC definitely scores
over us in this case as all of their priests speak upon
what their seminary needs their people to know.I always
felt that sermon from our senior priests and younger
priests are more interesting than of mid-aged priests..
but they represent a period where we were no where.We
can definitely improve and we are really improving.We
can learn much from RCC in this aspect (i think so)
6)not understanding what all rituals means...i have
heard sunday school teachers in bangalore speaking
to our achen regarding their children's concern over
lenghty and hard-to-understand procedure of good
friday service.cant blame the sunday school alone
since these questions are never heard in kerala.
maybe the people like us,who grew there, are not
that open to thoughts and lack the questioning
attitude and aspiration to know.but in my sincere
belief,it is definitely the responsibilty of the
parents/grand parents to make this point clear.
i got my questions(may not be this exhaustive)
clarified from my grandparents and parents only.
7) Marriage- when this come, people will forget
faith.... Cite Mr.Abin's mail on this regard.Why
cant we have our choice in this aspect?Similiar
family background,same faith etc?Atleast not with
people who definitely counter our beliefs? Again,
left to individuals and families.
To conclude..start learning from your grand parents
and parents..hear from achen and never think that
achen is a salaried professional of our church..find
the reasonings for everything when you start to think
for yourself and if convinced,try to safe guard it..
atleast try not to be depressed,deceived,dejected
and demolished by seeing the other ways around you..
no one is holding you back here which is more important
than your ancestor's true faith and their traditions...
and we,the modern man can be as rational as it can be
and just comment "all this is really boring".
Alex Jojo Joseph
St. George JSO Chapel, Kavumbhagom, Thiruvalla
St. Mary's JSO Cathedral, Queen's Road, Bangalore.