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Monday, November 20, 2017

Come Now, Let Us Reason Together

Thursday, 31 August 2017 11:55
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Rev. Dr. Zelhou Keyho 

To be leading the devotion this morning is an opportunity for me and I believe that God has given us another chance to ask some serious questions and do some deep soul searching. Nagas are a big family and we take pride in this. But where is our pride today? Hasn't this pride fractured? 

The question I want to pose before you is: Why do we call ourselves Nagas? Nagas are spread across the international boundaries. We think of our brothers and sisters in Myanmar, our brothers and sisters in Arunachal, our brothers and sisters in Manipur, our brothers and sisters in Assam and the Nagas in Nagaland. 

What binds us together and why do we call ourselves as Nagas? Is it because we were once upon a time savage and lost in our own world? Or is it because of our unique historical and cultural distinctiveness which we all share? 

Part of the song sung by the young people this morning goes: "Fair mountain and valleys rich with God's resources, gift to us to muster, our heritage so rich, let this forever be ours." But what do we have now? This is the question we must ask. Another line goes "undimmed by fears and tears, join hands through broken lines." 

There are many broken lines and we must extend our hands to one another and join hands together so as to find healing and to make the broken lines disappear. 

Based on the theme, "Come Now, Let Us Reason Together," I have come prepared to share four things, only four things and my prayer is that God will speak to us through this day as you deliberate on issues that touch us deeply as Nagas.

1. Nagas must take the journey of being honest with ourselves. Nagas must be frank and be honest with each other. Nagas have a good and unique history but as long as we are fractured, the way we are now, our good history - our uniqueness will not save us. Personal agenda and organizational structures must take the backseat and allow the common Naga agenda to flow out freely. We cannot pretend anymore, Nagas are badly divided. Our division has cost us dearly. We are shoved to the left and right, back and forth with ideas and ideals that are good and noble but when it comes to the finality we find the missing link. The simple truth is, we are not united. Our stronghold is broken. The affinity that we share and the common brotherhood as one people and one nation regardless of our regional differences and difficulties are buried and made to disappear. The war of supremacy over one another is hurting us deeply. We have come to a stage where we do not want to listen to each other. We must do some soul searching and ask some serious questions. What has really gone wrong with us?  Is it us or them? Calling ourselves Nagas and being divided badly is deceiving ourselves.

2. Calling ourselves Nagas and not being able to get along with each other is destroying us. We have allowed ourselves for people to dictate us and set their agenda for us. We have made ourselves vulnerable with our disunity that people take us very lightly. People don't take us seriously anymore. Have we noticed that? They have learnt to speak our language, they say, "we recognized their uniqueness" but, if they do, why this long? We have allowed ourselves for people to play with our emotion and our intellect. They don't respect us anymore. 

Our problem is nothing to them because they have seen in us that we have now lost our common cause which we once held dear. People are saying, "Its okay they will never get along, we don't need to take them seriously." Just leave them to fight and argue among themselves and let us just please them by pretending that we care about their issue and concern. This has become the attitude of others and without realizing that we take pride in fighting among ourselves. Aren't we?

3. We have become educated and informed people. The problem we are in can be correctly analyzed by everyone. But we have developed pseudo knowledge out of our problem. Everyone thinks he/she knows better than others and with that knowledge, instead of building bridges we pull down, tear down others. This is nothing but pseudo knowledge. True knowledge is sharing and feeling the pain and taking action by contributing to ease the problem. We have become too comfortable with our critique that we have shelled off those who choose to differ with us. Let me tell you this, as long as we are defensive we will always create offensive attitude and vice versa. 

It is now time to act positively. The point is this; unless we reconcile and unite there is no other way out. Our pride must die. Our pseudo knowledge must be put to end and we must humble ourselves. If the Nagas from the East, West, North, South and the Center consider ourselves as one, how many reconciliations do we need? Can't we just give up our pride and unite?

4. Nagas must take the journey to find the real and true God - the God of the Bible. Nagas have carved too many gods for ourselves. The God of the East seems to be different from the God of the West. The God of the South seems to be different from the God of the North. Likewise, the God of the Nagas in Nagaland appears to be different.  

In our prolonged crisis we have carved our own God to suit our own desire and longing like the people of Israel. From whose God do our revelation and prophecy come?  

We cannot play with God. He is the Great Jehovah, the God who is "I am who I am." We must find Him. And as we find Him, we must take heed to what He says, "He has shown you, O man what is good. And what does LORD require of you. To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). 

We cannot run away from Him if we honestly realize that without Him we cannot solve our problems. We must reconcile and unite with one another; from the East, West, North, South and Center. He is our only hope for He is our healer (Exodus 15:26), He will send His Word to heal our disease (Psalm 107: 20), the disease of disunity amongst the Nagas. We must enthrone God as the God of the Nagas. He is the God who punishes those who blaspheme and use His name in vain and judges those who go against Him. But He is also a loving and a forgiving God. Today, He invites us to reason together with Him. Isaiah 1: 18 reads, "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD." This is an invitation for the Nagas today.

Rev. Dr. Zelhou Keyho is the General Secretary of the NBCC. This was presented at the devotion at the Forum for Naga Reconciliation reflection held at the Naga Shisha Hoho, Kohima on August 25, 2017.

 


  All Naga Eyes on Tamil Nadu Delhi, Whither leadeth thou?