Coming together as one people
By Jangkholam Haokip
It gives me immense joy to have learned that the UNAU Joint Fellowship, Pune, is organizing UNAU FEST 2007. Having sensed God’s heart for our segregated people, the fellowship was started a few years ago as a humble attempt to bring ourselves together in a foretaste of what the Psalmist envisioned in Psalm 133: 1; “Behold, how good it is when brethren live in unity.” (vs.1).
The beauty of such unity, according to the Psalmist, is like a precious oil poured on the head and a dew of Hermon falling from Mount Zion (vs.2). And the result of the unity, verse 3 says, “For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forever.”
The UNAU Joint Fellowship brings us together as brothers and sisters and this is a great achievement. It is a great achievement because in coming together we bring our own differences and make the fellowship colourful and harmonious. For instance, we call God by slightly different names, Pathen, Pathian, Pasian, and so forth, but they all mean the same.
We say we are from Khul or Chinlung or Singling, but they all mean the same, ‘bowels of the earth’. These slightly different dialects, names and cultures are not the marks of difference but colours to add to our beauty. Also, our coming together is a great achievement because it is an indication of our awareness that ‘we need each other’. You are here because you need others and you know that others need you.
This is a good thing. In today’s globalised world we cannot afford to pretend that we don’t know each other or that we don’t need each other, because our well-being depends on others and our security is in the hands of others. It is a mistake to think that the narrow walls constructed along the line of our clans or dialects will provide us with security. Rather, we will be more secure if we can break down the walls of division that hinder us from seeing each other’s need.
What we need is to see each other closer and better in order to find out our needs and to help one another. This cannot happen as long as there are walls that prevent us from seeing each other’s need. We need to ask ourselves a revolutionary question, ‘What is more important, the person or his/her name?’
These two are not the same. Names are given by others and you can be called by different names such as, Kuki, Mizo, Chin, Zomi, Hmar, but ‘the person is the same’. He or she is your own blood brother or sister and in disliking his/her name or dialect you are hurting yourself.
When we come together with this conviction, the Psalmist tells us that God will bless us. ‘Living together in unity’ is followed by God’s blessings (vs.3). The blessings can be seen in terms of receiving good things, both spiritual and material, through love and care for one another in the fellowship. It can be also accomplishments of great things through unity.
God’s blessings come upon us like a rain which falls on our heads and flows out from us. In other words, blessings are received in order to share with others. The UNAU fellowship exists for the sake of those outside the fellowship: our friends from northeast India, people in our surroundings, slums, railway stations and so forth.
Failing to recognize this is to become idol worshipers (serving the fellowship and not God) and in being so we miss God’s purpose in our fellowship. We come together as ONE PEOPLE in order to go out as GOD’S BLESSINGS to others.
The author, a pioneer of ‘Unau Joint Fellowship’, wrote this article for “Unau Fest 2007” which was held on 18th November 2007 in Maharashtra state in India.