Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remarks at the Memorial Service for Dr. Omar Khalidi

Memorial Service for Dr. Omar Khalidi

Let me welcome you to the MIT chapel. We gather to honor and remember Dr. Omar Khalidi. He was a friend, a mentor, a scholar, a librarian, a father and a husband. He was also much more. In the days following his death, I have read the words of people across the world who have responded to his passing.

“India has become a little poorer with the passing of Dr. Omar Khalidi.”
“(His) voice will be sorely missed.
“I lost a dear mentor today. And the Indian Muslim community—one of its intellectual guiding lights.”
“(He was) the voice of the Indian Muslims during some of their darkest hours,…”

I do not doubt the truth of these words because on of the things I wanted from Omar was to learn from him. We had been talking about something that we might do together as he stitched the next chapter in his life. It was an intriguing possibility for me; for him it was a chance to do what he had done for a long time, a chance to teach someone who needed to learn what they did not know about a corner of the world he knew very well.

As is often the case here at MIT Dr. Khalidi was better known beyond our walls than he was here. That is a sad reality for many who labor in realms removed from science, engineering and related disciplines. Belatedly today we remind one another how much he was loved, how highly he was regarded. We do that because human kind is often left with limited weapons in our contest against our mortality.

Our best response to Omar’s passing is to share with his family the grief we all carry. Their burden is even greater than ours for they knew him in so many different ways: beyond professional accomplishments, beyond words on paper and we will realize I believe that what have lost with Omar’s death is much more than we thought. We lost a friend, but also a teacher; we lost a window on the world that we cannot replace.

Our time together today is a time to reflect on what has happened and a time to begin thinking about the holes we must fill. What happens here will help; what happens after we leave and gather over coffee and tea in W-11 is part of the process and that is what it is: a process that will go on for along time and always hurt. I am reminded of Emily Dickenson:

THEY say that “time assuages”,—
Time never did assuage;
An actual suffering strengthens,
As sinews do, with age.
Time is a test of trouble, 5
But not a remedy.
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no malady.

And in this case there is a malady; time will not assuage but we who carry on will do our best work in honoring Omar’s memory by having eyes that see a larger world, and hands that do greater work.


How Can We Understand Death?

What can we know of death, we who cannot understand life?
We study the seed and the cell, but the power deep within them will always elude us.
Though we cannot understand, we accept life as the gift of God. Yet death, life’s twin, we face with fear.
But why be afraid? Death is a haven to the weary, a relief for the sorely afflicted. We are safe in death as in life.
There is no pain in death. There is only the pain of the living as they recall shared loves, and as they themselves fear to die.
Calm us, O Lord, when we cry out in our fear and our grief. Turn us anew toward life and the world. Awaken us to the warmth of human love that speaks to us of You.
We shall fear no evil as we affirm Your kingdom of life.

Gates of Prayer, 624

December 3, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Living Holy (Whole) Lives—Family
This semester in chapel we are in a series entitled, “Living Holy (Whole) Lives”. Today we will focus on the family.
The family begins with the marriage relationship. We see God’s intent for marriage early in the Scriptures in Gen 2:24—a passage often quoted in weddings, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
God shows us in this passage a number of things:
• that in marriage a man and a woman begin new life together—and this new relationship is even closer than that of the parent and children,
• that this relationship is not temporal but permanent,
• and that sexual intimacy is approved by God in the marriage relationship.
There is much wisdom here that if followed will bring wholeness. Even while newly married couples would be wise to seek counsel of their parents, this new relationship needs SPACE AWAY FROM their parents to thrive—there ought to be some physical distance, and financial and emotional independence. The umbilical cord needs to be cut and both parents and their adult children who are marrying need to be ready for this new kind of independence.
Also, sexual intimacy is intended to be experienced in a committed relationship—the husband is to “hold fast” to his wife. “Hold fast” can be translated STICK, FASTEN ONESELF or CLEAVE. Without the security of a committed relationship, intimacy of any kind will be short-circuited. Without an assurance of stick-to-it-ed-ness in the marriage relationship, the real self—fears and weaknesses—can never be fully disclosed because the relationship is continually vulnerable to the threat of one partner leaving for greener pastures.
So, there is wisdom here in living by Gen 2:24. I’m reading a book right called Sex, Romance and the Glory of God by C.J. Mahaney and he notes that this passage is interpreted in a distinctly Christian fashion in the New Testament. In Ephesians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul quotes Gen 2:24 then says, “This mystery [of being one flesh] is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” The remarkable thing about this passage is that marriage between a man and a woman is meant to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church and not the other way around. That is, the relationship between Christ and his people is the proto-type. Christians should seriously consider this God-given, holy design for our marriage, and mirror it. We should resist the designs for marriage that we are offered by Hollywood and by our culture that based on self and it’s not based on our needs. Happiness is a wonderful by-product of marriage, but it is not the main purpose for it.
In my own marriage, I as a husband am instructed to love my wife, Michelle, as Christ loved the church. What does this love look like? Christ loved his people by coming to earth, by modeling a life of perfect devotion, by dying for our sins, by praying for us and by one day returning for us. Christ’s love was an intentional love, an initiating love, a sacrificial love and a caring love. Does Michelle experience this kind of love from me? Does she feel more like a wife or a mom? Does she feel pursued by me? Do I know what she likes—the places she hopes to see, the books she would like to read, the gifts she would like for Christmas, the ways I could help with the kids and around the house? I need to proactively ask and learn these. What are 10 specific ways that I could love my wife this week? I need to make these happen and be as intentional—even more intentional—with her as I am in my professional life.
Prayer: Father, I pray that our marriages would grow in oneness—that our marriages would grow in unity of purpose and of love. I pray that they would be marked by a humility rather than pride, by mutual submission rather than subjugation. Father, may our marriages serve as relationships that promote wholeness in both partners and in the children who live under these marriages. Amen.

Mike Bost
Campus Crusade for Christ