Today my country celebrates its 70th Independence Day and so am driven to write this piece on whom do we worship because I want to admonish people on excusing themselves from the worship of God and using the country as a scapegoat to express their rebellious ungodly desire to live and do as they please. This is what I have sourced on the meaning of Vande Matram, which shouting out defines patriotism in India. Vande Matram literally means “I pray/bow down to thee, Mother”— it’s a poem from Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s 1882 novel Anandamath, written in Bengali and Sanskrit, a hymn to the Mother Land.

Ezra 9
10 “Now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments,
11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end and with their impurity.

It is not that I don’t love my country, I very well do but I refuse to see patriotism from a perspective of lies that merely appeases the people’s rebellious appetite. You must know that a land cannot be worshiped but prayed for instead, in praying that its people turn to God because people reap nothing but what they sow in unbelief (notice the stark contrast of Hos8:7 with Rom8:19-21). A person who does not know God may be overly optimistic to honour certain things in his/her life as god, which he/she cannot quite express his/her love for, because in his/her ignorance of God, he/she has no perspective of truth.

Ezek 36 (Ezekiel prophesying in the context of Jn 3:3,16)
25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
28 “You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.

Take a look at the Ganges river, which is the most sacred of rivers to the Hindus. In the course of their worship of the Ganges, this river today is one of India’s most polluted rivers. In the May-June season, when millions of pilgrims travel to Rishikesh and Haridwar, the upper Ganges sees a tremendous increase in the level of resistance genes that lead to “superbugs” i.e. 60 times higher than other times of the year. It must be therefore understood that apart from our calling to be Christlike, we cannot honour anything outside the righteousness of God lest we desire to fall on our face.

1Cor 1
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Matthew 10 (Jesus to His disciples)
25 It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!

What about the Gir Cow? Dalits have been lynched to death over their lack of reverence for the holy cow but in worshiping the cow and banning beef across the State, the Gir Cow has been robbed of its purpose. India used to export Gir Cows embryos to Brazil and today Brazil has about 40 lakhs of these cows while our numbers of Gir Cows have fallen from 15 lakhs in the 1960s to 3000 i.e. close to extinction. I hope you are beginning to see the cursed repercussion of any and every kind of idolatry.

John 14
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Let us also take a look at Nepal. If any of you are familiar with the life of a Kumari (child goddess), you will know that little girls as young as the age of 5 are selected from society to be the object of the people’s worship. This girl remains a Kumari till she reaches puberty, which could be at the age of 12 or even 15. Through this period of being a Kumari, she is confined to the house/temple and wherever she has to go, she is carried. So when these girls come out from being Kumaris, they first find it hard to walk because they have been carried around everywhere for most of their lives. Secondly, since they have been denied a formal education through that period when they were a Kurmari, they find it hard to secure a degree and a job which will properly sustain them. Also these ex-Kumaris are not allowed to marry. So, if you were to look at the people’s desire to honour women in their society as goddesses and contrast it with the flesh trade that plagues Nepal, we understand that to substitute God with the worship of anything else, proves detrimental to the welfare of that which we choose to idolize from our ignorance of God. Did you know, that at any given point of time Mumbai alone has about 20,000 Nepali sex workers according to statistics from the Human Rights Watch! It is for this reason by the wisdom I have gained from the holy fear of God that I dare not defile my country by worshiping it in place of the Living Triune God Almighty.

Psalms 85 (referring to Jesus)
9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land.

Isaiah 33 (referring to Jesus)
6 And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.

Rev 5 (referring to Jesus)
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,
12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing.”

We understand from the Moral Law in Mat 22:36-40 that in truth only God is God and only He can be rightfully first in everything (Col 1:18). If I may steal you for just a moment from the world and its lies (1Jn 5:19), I would like to tell you that the reason suicide itself is a damn sin is because a person belongs more to God than he/she does to himself/herself and if that is so, then how much more your country and mine?!

Mat 28
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

So whom then can we worship? Well, that should be as clear as day to you now, that we can worship and revere nothing but the Living God Almighty who exists as 3 Persons (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) in One Godhead, as explained to us in Jesus Christ (Jn1:18), the Son of God who took on Himself every aspect of the nature of man (except sin) and came 2000 years ago to be that atonement (unblemished sacrifice) for all God’s people, that whosoever may believe in Him (Jn 3:16), may not perish but have eternal life.

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