Dream Awakener JR Woodward was kind to invite me to contribute for an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. Please read on below, and check out the others on JR’s site.
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Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India
This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Sivin’s local city newspaper is The Sun of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia . Here is Sivin Kit on the Good News.
THE GOOD NEWS
There has been a lot of bad news in Malaysia for quite a while. Perhaps more will come. The fabric of Malaysian society in public and in private are faced with forces pulling people apart and pulling people down, crushing dreams and aspirations, and sowing seeds of distrust or destruction.
We are moving into the 6th By-election in the coming month after a roller coaster ride in Malaysian politics since the last 12th General Elections March 8, 2008. Corruption, power play, law suits, racial religious sentiments played up, political coups and turmoil occupy our newspaper every day until I have concluded subscribing to cable TV is a waste of money when reading the front page has more twists and turns.
We have had a new prime minister sworn in during April 2009. But we don’t know whether it means we are geared to a better future. That is front page news.
Out of the sight of the public eye, there battles with cancer, struggles with credit card debt, shaky marriages, children at risk, no job security, refugees on the run, the list goes on and on. Life must go on, somehow. Of course, there are those who will say it is not that bad. Maybe, but we have to tell it as it is. In all honesty, we all know it is not that good either. Let’s agree it is a mixed bag of news for now.
So, What is the Good News for our city? What is the Good News for the people living in Malaysia?
The story is not over yet.
As a Christ-follower, I do not want to and cannot slip into hopelessness, numbness or worst cynicism. On Easter Sunday, I heard the good news again – in the form of a personal reflection after meditating on the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to a young church found in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
“Everything can change, will change, or more precisely has changed because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every change we desire, or better God desires for the good of the world and all people works through us not out of obligation but from an overflow of the grace of God in us, and working out through obedience and an ongoing re-orientation to the reality of our Living Lord.”
It is good news when after I sat and listened to my new Buddhist monk friend share about how and why she became one, the parting words were, “How did you become a pastor?” We will continue this conversation again as we work together to share strategies on Religion and Society for common good in a project directed to the government and the public.
It is good news when more than a few Muslim friends who are unhappy with the way Islam is used for political mileage in our country, have begun to sit down and work things through with respect in small steps. It begins as simple as an email exchange on a controversial topic on the use of the word “Allah” to translate “God” in the national language Bahasa Malaysia which we have done for ages.
It is good news when two car loads of people could sit with new friends who ran away from their home country and have been stuck here for the past 5 years weaving palm crosses celebrating Christ and God who has not abandoned them. There was no short term possibility yet, mere presence of people who cared enough to be there was sufficient for now.
It is good news when the life story, convictions and dreams of my 23 year old friend and fellow Christ-follower Markus impacted almost every sphere of society that is fragmented by race, religion, national identity, economic standing, and politics. He died in his sleep on February 4, 2009.
Yes, even death cannot stop this change where glimpses of the kind of world God is dreaming of is caught by those who stop and take notice. A fresh look at Christ’s resurrection invites us to stop and take notice of the influence and ongoing impact of this person Jesus Christ – his life, his death and most of all his resurrection, who’s story is not frozen in the past but continues in the present.
There’s something good in this story of Jesus. The good news is there is something good which can and will happen here and now even in the midst of a world full of bad news, death and destruction. God is not finished with us yet. I think the good Archbishop of Canterbury says it quite well:
“Resurrection has started. How do we know? Not by working it out and adopting it as well-founded opinion, not by deciding that this idea suits us, not by getting all the arguments straight, but because we are dimly aware of something having changed around us.”
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Sivin is the Husband of one wife May Chin, and Father of three children Gareth (7), Elysia (4) and Ewan (1). He’s the pastor of Bangsar Lutheran Church, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which was resurrected in 2000. He finds some time to be involved with Friends in Conversation and The Micah Mandate. He is wondering whether he will ever finish his part-time Masters of Theology with The South East Asia Graduate School of Theology. Finally, He is addicted to Potato Chips and blogging at his garden. He needs prayer is all areas