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Monday, January 22, 2018

A tribute to Rev Lano Longchar

Thursday, 23 June 2016 11:06
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The passing away of Rev Lano Longchar on Monday, June 20 is indeed a loss for not just the Aos but for the Nagas and all other peoples that he reached out to in his most distinguished lifetime. Though many of us will remember him for his spiritual triumph and the passion that he brought to his mission work, the other greatness of the Late Reverend was his inclusive theology—of building a national identity that went beyond the narrow confines of ‘my tribe or the self’. His passion for sharing the gospel took him to all corners of the Naga country and he was much loved and held in reverence wherever he went. As reported in the newspapers, Rev Lano Longchar travelled widely and had preached the Gospel in at least four foreign countries, 12 states in India and to 15 tribes in Nagaland. This is testimony to the wide reach and acceptability of ‘the King’s messenger’, as one newspaper headline described the Late Reverend. In a time when Nagas are caught in the vortex of tribalism, parochialism and the distrust of the other, Rev Lano Longchar stood for peaceful co-existence and fraternity. His preaching and sharing of the gospel went far beyond the Ao country and reached out to people of all tribe and colour. Here was a missionary who had a truly national outlook, something that should not come as a surprise given that during his younger days, the Late Reverend was actively involved in the Naga national movement. Lest we forget, fraternity of the Naga people was his cherished vision.

The story goes that on March 15, 1956, while serving his jail term in Shillong he committed himself to serve God for the rest of his life. And what a commitment it was. Till his last breath, Rev Lano Longchar remained devoted to serving the Lord. As long as he was able to share the gospel, the discomfort of leaving home or his failing health did not bother him. Even after turning 80 years old, he continued to travel, mostly away from home, long distances, to be able to bring the good news, healing and hope to the masses. This was a remarkable quality about him—a steadfast spirit and total surrender to his mission of serving the Lord. I had the privilege of knowing him personally and called him up on June 15, 2016 to wish him on his 81st birthday. Showing my concern for his old age and weak health, I advised him to take it slow and concentrate on his health instead. He responded by saying that he would be in Dimapur around the beginning of July for more speaking engagements! That was the last that I would ever speak to this amazing ambassador of Christ. A selfless missionary who stood for the greater cause of the gospel—a unifying figure, a true legend of our time. May his legacy continue to inspire the future generations of Nagas to unite and glory in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

Along Longkumer

Senior Naga journalist

Camp: New Delhi

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