Monday, May 22, 2023

Church & Graduation Services

Spending two Sundays in New Zealand may or may not be enough for me to get a feel of the Christian community in the city of Auckland. Attending a Graduation service last Saturday where about 300 people participated gave me a glimpse of Christianity in this land. If love is the greatest commandment, then my pastor-friend had done well because four or five people from his church came up to me and spoke with me. Whereas the day before during the graduation refreshment when I spent a whole hour until 90 percent of the people left, no one took the initiative to approach me. So I made the first move three times to converse with people there. Sometimes, theologians must be practitioners, just as the speaker at the graduation said that he had a few street degrees which meant he applied his theology on the ground and not just as an academic.

As for me, a show of hospitality to foreigners and strangers is a sure sign that one is doing God's command to love. How can one say "love" if we ignore people around us, people who came thousands of miles away without a greeting or a smile or a welcome? Just like what Jesus said, "I entered your house but you gave me no kiss and you did not wash my feet" (Luke 7:45). But I knew what I was doing and during refreshments, I gave two of my books to the top student. In fact, throughout the service I prayed to the Lord whom I should give the books. To one of the lecturers? To the person who responded to my email about my attendance at the graduation? But when the award for academic excellence was announced I knew that my books were meant for the person who achieved and excelled in her studies. Almost 30 years ago, I became the first theology student to have won the Auckland University Masters' Scholarship on the basis of my performance throughout my BTheol programme. Then, just before I left the church hall, I met a student who spoke Cantonese with me straight up and I was pleasantly surprised and now we follow each other on Instagram. 

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