One of my friends, Sunil Settlur, mentioned a story about a group of Zen students exploring the area around the monastery chancing on an ancient cast iron bell and remarking on its beauty and craftsmanship, when a monk emerged from his home to ring the bell, they commented on the workmanship and in conversation with him asked him how old the bell was. The monk placed his hand on the metal engravings and told them it was over five hundred years old and then he points to the void in the bell and said the emptiness within was eternal. The monk proceeds to ring the bell and once its sound had faded asked the students where the sound came from whether it was from the metal casing or from the emptiness inside.
This may be a right question to ask ourselves, since we claim to dedicate our lives to God and his work. Is our authorisation to carry out the mission of God comes from any institute or rules or structures or a group or groups of people, like the metal engraving which came into existence a few hundred years ago. Or is our vocation call came from God who is eternal and never established. If from the eternal God and not from any establishments that came into existence, then why we curb our mission call, our vocation according to the fancies of these groups and institutes and look at them for the approval of our vocation and mission. If all the founders of various religious institutes, Christian Groups, etc., thought like this and never dared to live the true call of God – given to each of them, according to the Will of God, then where will we all be. Where will be the richness, the tradition and the beauty of the Church and its varying Spiritual expressions?
This is the existing and unquestioned contradiction in the Church. On one hand they say that our vocation and mission is from God, and simultaneously, they draws and dictates what our kind of mission we have to undertake. If one look into the life of the Church in its beginning stages one could see that the Church was only the facilitator of vocations and mission of God. The Church did all that she could to nurture the vocation of the person, for she knew that the vocation is from God, the eternal being, whose vocation calling and mission does not require the approval of any establishments. But unfortunately we are forgetting this essence. In paper there is no defect in this understanding, the defect is in its exercise.
I fear if this situation continues then the days will not be long when the New Israelite, like the Old Israelite, will be grafted upon with a new one.