June/July 2019 - Vol. 104

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone.
But if it dies, it bears much fruit" - John 12:24

The following two reflections by Amin Kurani originally appeared in Living Bulwark in May and October 2012. With Amin's passing to glory in August 2018, we reprint them to commemorate a remarkable young man of God who helped many others grow as disciples of Christ. The artwork is by Amin's father, David Kurani, a noted Lebanese artist. - ed.

"Trinity Scene"
                                watercolors by David Kurani
Trinity, scene from Lebanon, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 150 cm, by David Kurani

From Seed to Tree

by Amin Kurani
(1985 - 2018)

I remember being told about a man from a certain village, who planted trees in the late season of his life. He knew that the trees would only grow fully after he died. Nevertheless, he planted because he wanted to give his children a worthy inheritance.

I was struck by the man’s foresight. He probably planted the trees with extra care because he knew their main purpose. I was also struck by the simplicity of his actions. It is not that hard to plant a tree. I have done it. A decent hole patted over with soil will often do. No one digs a mile-deep crater because they want a bigger tree.

There’s lessons here which I want to apply in my life. First of all, my actions are more significant than I can guess at present. I can help someone even though they might not appreciate it at the time. Secondly, I can realize how important “small” acts are, like spending time with another person.

The [artwork above] speaks to me of these lessons. If the tree is strong and its roots clench the rich red earth, it is thanks to someone who sowed a seed once upon a time.

spring flowers watercolor by David
                            KuraniCyclamen, watercolor with body color 47 x  64 cm, by David Kurani

Spreading the Joy

There is something inspiring about the way in which nature abandons herself to joy. In spring, delight spills from the tiniest leaf, rivers swell with song, and flowers burst on the bramble in piercing color. Things are more reserved in the city, but the telltale signs are there. The insects get chattier. The cherry trees release showers of floating blossoms on unsuspecting joggers. 

It’s hard to imagine that only a short while ago winter was here and the land was hushed. How muted the colors were! How dark and skeletal the trees looked back then. The more one considers it, the more miraculous seems the change. 

In the Middle East, it is traditional for women to let out a high-pitched trill, or ululation, on joyous occasions. Even when the celebration isn’t about them, the women will sing as a way of expressing that your happiness is also mine. How much more powerful our own joy can be when, like nature in spring, it is shared with those around us. As someone once put it: “Every time I smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

                                  KuraniAmin John Kurani [1985 - 2018] was a full-time English instructor at the American University of Beirut where he distinguished himself as a student. He was at the doorstep of pursuing his PhD at the Lebanese University. Amin was a committed member of the Sword of the Spirit community, People of God. He was active in his commitment, and in his services  covered a wide range. At UCO he was a pastoral leader for a group of men and helped them grow in their Christian journey. He as well supervised the service of other pastoral leaders and helped them expand their leadership gifts. He helped lead prayer meeting, gave spiritual talks, and offered his English services whenever needed.

Amin was a kind spirit, he was famous for his constant widespread smile, and for his excellent listening skills. He had the gift of getting along with everyone, regardless of their age and background. He touched the lives of many people with his generosity and care, and maintained his trademark sense of humor, all the way to the end.

He suffered from a blood disease for three years before losing his life during the process of a bone marrow transplant. Amin leaves behind him many happy memories and remains as a motivation for the youth to constantly seek God in their lives as he did.

The following video recording contains excerpts from talks Amin Kurani gave to the University Christian Outreach group in Lebanon.

source link

“The Lord calls us every day to be renewed and to become no less than saints… Our walk with Jesus can be compared to climbing a mountain. There is always something better - something better that the Lord is calling us to. Something deeper and deeper - to discover him more and more – to grow more and more in him. This is a beautiful journey, sometimes difficult, but we look back and see that it is beautiful. Jesus is with us in all of this journey. Just like the good shepherd, wherever we go He is with us. Psalm 23 says, even though I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil for You are with me.”
- from a talk by Amin to a University Christian Outreach group in Lebanon

> View more of David Kurani's artwork (father of Amin Kurani) in Living Bulwark
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