Redemption from Karma

Today’s class was mostly a miss for me.  We met in the morning rather than the afternoon, and as my instructor laughingly pointed out, I’m not a morning person.  My mind just didn’t engage, except for a couple of times.

The first time occurred when Umesh began discussing what was happening in this time of the Dashain festival.  The streets and the shops are full of people buying goods for the many and lengthy celebrations.  Also in some areas, he said, the streets are full of animals, especially goats, being led to sacrifice.

Goats being led to sacrifice.  I'll spare you the gory pictures of the actual sacrifices.  Not a pleasant sight.

Goats being led to sacrifice. I’ll spare you the gory pictures of the actual sacrifices. Not a pleasant sight.

“Hundreds, thousands of animals are sacrificed.  I don’t know why,” said Umesh.  “I guess to some God.”  Then he asked “don’t you Christians also have sacrifices?  Don’t you sacrifice lambs or something?”  What an open door!  Suddenly, I was very awake.  Thus began my explanation to him about Old Testament sacrifices of goats and lambs as sin offerings, about the sprinkling of blood, etc.  Then I explained how Jesus is spoken of as “the lamb of God” who was sacrificed for the life of the world, who takes away the sin of the world.

It took some time for him to begin to grasp this concept.  I expanded it a bit by talking about the Hindu belief in reincarnation, by which one attempts to work out one’s karma.  In each lifetime, one tries to do a better job at working out his karma so as to insure a better life in the next reincarnation.  However, one is never sure what will transpire.

Jesus, I explained, is the supreme sacrifice, offered once for all, to purify us from the consequences of our karma.  I told him about Shubhas, a former Hindu priest, who converted to Christ.  When I asked Shubhas why he had converted to Christ, he said it was because Christ offered redemption, an end to the endless Hindu cycle of birth, death, rebirth; an end to the eternal uncertainty of life in Hinduism.  There is no redemption in Hinduism he said.  In Christ he found the purification of his karma that he himself could never attain.  In Christ, the vicious cycle came to an end and now he is assured of dwelling eternally in the fullness of joy and peace in Christ’s Kingdom.

Umesh was staggered that a Hindu priest had converted to Christ.  With wide eyes he looked at me and said “Wow, Thulo change!”  In other words, wow, big change!  May God grant Umesh likewise to know this big change!

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