For Sabahans 31st August brings a mixed bag of joy and sorrows. Joy in that we are part of Malaysia whereby Peninsular (Persekutuan tanah Melayu) achieved independence from the British 61 years ago today. But Malaysia only came about 16 days later on 16th Sept 1963 which makes it the 55th National Day for Malaysia. When we talk about a nation or National Day we talk about when Malaysia came into being or became a nation. It was not 31st August 1957 but 16th September 1963 when Malaysia became a nation known as Persekutuan Malaysia when Malaya together with Singapore, Sabah (North Borneo), Sarawak formed Malaysia and so rightly Malaysia's birthday or national day is 16th September. I was hoping this new government would correct past injustices but obviously it will take another decade or a generation longer for us East Malaysians to have our history rightly interpreted and applied.
Speaking truth to power is never easy especially in church or church affairs. How do we celebrate our freedom in Christ? Sure it is freedom from sin and death, freedom from past life without God and without Christ. Is it just spiritual freedom? As a church are we truly independent? Just after the GE there was some talk that the State Government would pay pastors' salaries or at least contribute part of it. What's wrong with that? If we allow outside parties influence the affairs of the church how can the church be truly independent? The church is truly independent when we look to the Lord for all things, and it is for church members to take charge of our own affairs including finances especially in paying our priests, pastors and full time workers. If we receive handouts then we are not independent and we lose control of our destiny and our future.