Monday, December 19, 2022

Among Old Friends & Books

Yesterday I had had a wonderful Christmas service. When I arrived at the church half an hour early, I was taken by an old friend, a former church member in Likas. We had uplifting conversations about family, health and keeping out spirits up despite advancing age. I did not know that he was there years older than me as I always thought I was one or two years older. He has 4 children, all scholarship students whom he was extremely proud of. One started work and his starting salary is more than RM 4,000.00, double my salary as pastor in my 6 years of active service in the field (2015-2021). I felt happy for him and his wife, both of whom were my close friends and after the service he reminded that he was one of my earliest cell group members. We go back a long time.

The chairman himself is also my former church member and he had served in the General council for 6 or 7 terms after I departed as Treasurer-General. We were pretty close because he was a Principal as well as a senior Education Department officer before he retired a few years ago. Intellectually, he would be one of the few that can engage me in worldly knowledge as well as the Bible. He bought all my four books yesterday. 

I did not know how long I preached. I wore a watch but did not turn it on until the service was about to end. It must be about 45 minutes as the Chairman thanked me and told me that he enjoyed the sermon, an exposition of Luke 1:13-17. He said in his words, "concise". I did not beat around the bush and I told two testimonies, one about answered prayers for my son in the beginning of the sermon to explain what the angel told Zechariah - "your prayer is answered!" (Luke 1:13). I told the congregation that it is our duty as parents to always pray for our children. The second testimony came at the end when I shared briefly how I studied the book of Revelation on a full scholarship and how Revelation is probably the hardest book in the Bible, and how I also wrote a commentary on the Song of Songs, being the hardest or second hardest book in the Old Testament (the hardest is probably the book of Job). Despite having just 8 chapters and on the face of it is like any ancient love story but if one digs deeper it is tough to decipher especially the sexual nature of the relationship between the two lovers. But it is meant for us believers, since love, romance and sex are fundamental emotions and activities that dominate everyone's life and surely, God has something to say about it in the Song of Songs. 

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