Spiritual caretaker of Mt Merapi volcano dies in eruption
“He was the keeper of Mount Merapi – an 83-year-old man entrusted to watch over the volcano’s spirits, dispatching his assistant to go to the gaping crater and bring back ash as a symbolic offering. For 33 years, the diminutive man with an impish smile led ceremonies meant to hold back Merapi’s lava flows and quiet the spirits he and other villagers believe live over the mountain that rises from the heart of the Indonesian island of Java. As Merapi began spewing 1,800-degree gases and thousands of panicked people streamed down the mountain’s slopes, Maridjan refused to budge from his home deep in the evacuation zone, just four miles from the crater.m The mystical practice persists in Indonesia, even though most of the country’s 237 million people – like Maridjan himself – are Muslims. Islam is a relatively new arrival to the country and coexists with older traditions that have their roots in animist, Hindu or Buddhist beliefs…”
He lived in an active crater and died in an eruption? Imagine that.
All sarcasm aside, in compassion I’m sure that many people of the mountain villages are heartbroken at the loss of who they thought was their spiritual advisor, son of the previous spiritual gatekeeper of the mountain. But more important, I imagine the man’s shock upon his death, discovering upon that instant that ALL he lived for and ALL he did for his ‘spirits’ was in vain. His soul was sent to hell for having failed to recognize the One True God and his own need for Jesus to forgive his sins before ascending to heaven.
Also tragic is that though the article states that many in that area have foregone the ancient mystical worship practices, the current ones of Islam and Hinduism are just as vain. There is only one God and only one way to heaven. Jesus said so. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“But but but,” you might say, “what about the poor souls who have never heard about Jesus? People like the 83 year old Maridjan who lived in a remote mountain area and maybe didn’t even have TV or ever come into contact with missionaries? Or learn how to read the bible? The bible provides the answer too that as well: “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ” (Romans 1:19b-20)
I read an article about this issue with the title “The volcano always wins.” God is in charge of volcanoes, the world, the people, and all that occurs on it. God always wins. He is the one and only God, the One True God. He said “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). “I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.” (Isaiah 44:6). Either you believe what God says on the matter, that there is no such volcano god, or you don’t believe anything in the bible because in that case, God cannot be trusted.
Worship of false Gods was not just in bible times. Today, there is a cadre of people in Indonesia who worship a volcano god and mourn the loss of the false god’s ‘spiritual caretaker. “How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Selah” (Psalm 4:2)