Asian Reflections

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When I was asked to be one of the writers for Asian Reflections Year 2 by Scripture Union. I felt very honored to be given this chance to contribute. It was a lot of hard work … writing the reflections I mean. But I found the whole process very helpful for me to connect the context where I am in with the content of the Scripture passages assigned to me which was a good chunk of Psalms from 51 -72. Somehow, this “space” set aside for the act of thinking, praying and writing open up myself to encounter the Triune God!

I learnt a lot about myself too for example, I need a good editor. I know my English is mediocre and I don’t have a flair for fancy writing. I feel what I write is very ordinary but I try to keep things as honest as I can with some hope from a Gospel centred approach. I confess the Lutheran “Law and Gospel” Grid is very much alive in me ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s what I wrote as a short over view for the meditations I wrote (it’s pretty much kind of my second thoughts on prayer too in between the lines):

“Overview of Psalms 51–72

Psalms 51–72 give us a window into how one’s faith wrestles with the realities confronted by a variety of life experiences, especially in ‘seasons of disorientation’. In fact, many ‘cursing’ or ‘imprecatory psalms’ (Psalms 58, 69) confront us throughout these devotional readings. There are also prayers where one deals with the inner and outer conflicts of sin (Psalm 51), feelings of betrayal (Psalm 55), insecurity in the midst of danger (Psalm 56) and deep abandonment (Psalm 62). And in spite of the more apparent individual focus of these psalms, there are also themes which place the individual in the wider context of God’s work corporately in a nation (Psalm 72) and even, further globally, amongst many nations (Psalm 67). Many of these psalms give us the language of prayer in times when we have lost the words to pray. Even when we are at the lowest point of our faith journey, these ancient prayers direct our hearts to be open to God’s surprises and to hope beyond our limited horizons.

The Christian martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, calls the psalms the prayerbook for Christians. He says, ‘Not the poverty of our heart, but the richness of God’s word, ought to determine our prayer.’ As followers of Christ, not only do we have these rich psalms (including all their rawness) to guide our prayers, but more importantly, we are able, through them, to pray them with Jesus because, as Bonhoeffer encourages us, ‘only in and with Jesus Christ can we truly pray.'”

If you are interested to get copies of the Asian Reflections (which has a host of many other Malaysian Christians, Pastors and Leaders who have contributed) please go here.

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5 Responses to Asian Reflections

  1. Alex Tang says:

    hi sivin,

    Thank you for your wonderful reflection on Psalms 51-72. I wrote for Asian Notes vol 2. Asian Notes was the series before Asian Reflections so you know how ancient I am. It was an interesting experience writing a daily devotion based on assigned Scriptures. I really benefited from it. My only hope is that the readers has/will also benefit too.

    Make it so…

  2. sivin says:

    Alex, well you are not that “ancient” … or maybe I should rephrase – you don’t mind dancing in “ancient-future” & “emerging” circles? ๐Ÿ™‚

    The editors and proof readers were very patient with my last minute rush …

    as for benefit, your hope is my hope too … I think in most cases the one who benefits the most is those who had to go through the discipline of writing.

  3. Amy says:

    Just wondering about the title. Is it that the contributors are all Asians or is it meant for Asians or does it refer to the reflections themselves as being Asian as opposed to reflections of people from other nationalities. I’m not sure that makes sense – what i just wrote. But I’m just intrigued and wonder how these got started and how might non-Asians learn and benefit from reading them, in your opinion? I liked what you wrote. if you ever need help in editing, let me know. =)

  4. peiling says:

    i have asian reflections year one (july – dec)! =) my church auntie wrote in it.. loved the whole book. will look out for urs..

  5. Sivin says:

    Amy, so good to hear from you. If I’m not mistaken most (or I think all) of the writers are Asians. We were asked to be more self-conscious about our Asian-ness and try to draw from Asian resources. I must admit, I’m not sure whether we succeeded in doing that. But I guess we need to start somewhere. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the offer to edit.

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