The Extent of God’s Grace in Comparison with Kavadi during Thaipusam

Indian man carrying Kavadi during Thaipusam

On 27 Jan 2013, a Sunday, I left home as usual to make my way to church for worship rehearsal. It slipped my mind that is was Thaipusam. To get to church from home, I need to pass through Little India and lanes of the roads were closed off to make way for devotees who were fulfilling their vows to their Hindu gods in their 4.5km parade on the roads. I was stucked. Traffic was not moving at all. While the clock was ticking away, I find myself complaining to God and almost demanding him to move the traffic so that I can get out of this festival that I have no intention of being part of. The droning drum beat was also giving me a headache. After almost 30min of my disgruntles before God, I heard a gentle voice within telling me, “look at the man”. I knew he was refering to the Indian man that was almost next to my window carrying the Kavadi. I heard the voice again saying, “look at him”. So I did.

My eyes were fixated on the spikes that pierced the body of the Indian man. At that moment, I knew God was teaching me a precious lesson. Immediately the verse Isaiah 53:5 came to mind and I was holding back tears of gratitude to my dear Lord and Savior.

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:5

Even though no pain was supposed to be felt by these men who were pierced, the amount of sacrifice required by their gods from them is such a far cry from the requirements of the God whom I worship. Jesus came and gave his life for humanity, to be pierced in our place. The love of God overwhelmed me. The voice continued to show me more.

Some of the Kavadis have portable altars at the top. I was reminded of the record of King David’s attempt to bring the Ark of God into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). In the first attempt, the Ark was carried by bullock cart and Uzzah was struck dead when he touched the Ark while trying to stabilized it. The Ark was only successfully brought in the Jerusalem when King David followed God’s instructions through Moses that the Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of Levites (1 Chronicles 15:15). The Ark, a represenation of God’s presence, has always been intended to be carried by human and not any other medium. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit was poured out on all followers of Jesus. The presence of God is now carried in us, the body of Christ. What a priviledge and honor!!! The sacrifice that these Hindu devotees made to fulfill their one vow to their gods is so high, while we stand in the position of grace and love.

The cost of eternal salvation is so high that none of us can ever pay for our own redemption. The God of Abraham knows that none of us can be saved unless He steps in to fulfill the requirement by sending His Son Jesus Christ. This leads to me think if I have taken for granted this grace that has cost God His beloved so that I can draw near to Him. Does my response to God reflect the extent of His sacrifice so great?

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