The meditations starting from today were contributed by my “emerging” (I’m using this as a descriptive way more than a brand name way *grin*) young Malaysian theologian Sherman Kuek. This series of Lent meditations have been part of our joint project together in the Nails & Thorns Booklet (pdf). I decided to post his meditations as it is and respond in bold.
God gave His Son for our sakes, and this we are often made to remember through sermons that we hear and literature that we read. What needs to be further reinforced in our understanding of God’s giving of His Son is that He loved his Son (Mk 9.7). God’s willing act of offering Jesus for the salvation of the world was sacrificially painful, for He loved His Son.
The measure of God’s love that propelled Him to offer His beloved Son for us must also be the very love that propels us to respond by loving sacrificially. God desires that we do not simply love out of sentimental emotional expression, but rather, out of a desire to sacrifice for him and for our neighbour the things that we most treasure. Such a love does not merely give out of the abundance of one’s possessions; it gives even in the midst of one’s lack.
Reflection: What are some of the things and people in life that you most treasure? Those are the very things that God’s love compels you to offer unto Him as tokens of your gratitude for His sacrificial love. The one who loves God will learn to offer unto God in the sacrificial manner that God has offered for him/her. Resolve within your heart to offer unto God that which you love and treasure, for He rightfully deserves nothing less.
My response (a little delayed in terms of days, I slept early last sunday night!):
This morning started well with Elysia waking up with minimal fuss, we had a short papa and daughter time (very short) before May Chin fetched her to my Mom’s place. At one point, I as I was kissing her good bye and saw her happy response (which included waving goodbye to me), I can’t help but connect with how much I treasure this one year old little girl. My mind drawn to the reality of how much I treasure May Chin and Gareth as well. This has been increasingly the case when I feel some treasures I’ve held on in the past, e.g. certain ideas, or aspirations, or expectations, even relationships – false or noble- has been lost or shattered or mutated (in some cases morphed).
After a conversation last night, I too wonder how “strongly” I cling on to my “treasures” especially when it comes to family. I wonder how can I offer my kids, my wife, myself (our family) to God. Because as days go by I can’t help but become more protective in a world that can be very unfriendly, unkind and downright sinful and evil. And in the midst of learning to “protect” them (which is rightly so), I may be tempted to “hold on” too tightly and miss what God is doing in our lives (perhaps to bless others and being part of God’s overall story and purpose?).
I can only pursue this further when I keep my eyes on Jesus, on his “sacrifical” offering of his life and death, with the resurrection at the corner and embrace these realities here and now in the midst of contemplation and reflection. And then trusting in the “help” of the Spirit because I don”t have much to say and lack the words to express the struggles that emerge as I seek to give my “offering.”