This is one of the rare occasions when the background music as I blog is classical music. But then again, regardless of what my "modest" musical tastes are, it’s appropriate.
It’s been a most meaningful Christmas for me. The Christmas Day celebration at Bangsar Lutheran Church was simple and significant with all the "vintage" BLC ingredients. For me it was a great joy to conduct the baptism for an Adult and his son, the twins, and a no. 2 son. In a way, whether it’s the parents or the children, they represented the renewed community of BLC.
The other memorable part from me was a number of friends who would normally be frowned upon if they were to step into a Christian meeting, and even a Christian related premises, came and I trust they felt safe and were at ease. 🙂 I’d be interested to hear about their experiences more in depth. I’m sure there might have been things which were "foreign" to their experience. But then again, I get that too all the time. That doesn’t stop me from appreciating the time spent in context I’m not familiar with. Based on their initial smiles and feedback, I know it was a meaningful time.
The after service buzz and free flow mingling with food brought back the "best" of BLC especially when we used to have refreshments after the worship gathering, and these were key opportunities for people to get to know each other or reconnect. Sure, some had to leave earlier because of prior appointments, that is understandable. But what was great was to see those who remained having a wonderful time of "fellowship".
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I was moved when I heard the thank you speech from our friends whom we’ve grown close through our solidarity with them. It was a less "us and them" relations as we gathered to worship together. The "thank you" to me personally and BLC as a whole was a more visible indication that it’s about "we" more than "me". During that time, I felt strongly we caught a glimpse of the Kingdom of God as it should be and will be.
I couldn’t understand a lot of what was sung but I knew it meant a lot to them to be able to sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land. We will never full understand what they have experienced and feel at this time. But somehow, through their hospitality in receiving us, the smiles from the children, the warm handshakes, the fulfilled looks over a box of Nasi Briyani, and 101 other little details, we’re somehow bonded in Christ, through Christ, in God’s love through God’s love.
I’ve always wondered whether what we have done is really making a big difference in their lives. But then, I pause. What’s important is we do what is right, and what we have discerned we need to do at a given season, more than spend time in over-calculating end results and over analysis.
I saw this little girl, and her smile warms my heart. Through our visits, I’ve seen her gradually blossom, I pray for her, and all those like her that one day they can fully flourish in an environment of safety, opportunities, and freedom.
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The "ceremonies of closure" series is ongoing, there’s almost one thing or one event every day. Some are concerned that it may all hit me at one go when I am alone in Norway especially the first couple of months. I’m attentive to that possibility. I suppose this will be part of the passage I need to walk through in the coming days. For now, I want to treasure every single memory, appointment, conversation, reflection, and time spent whether in solitude or in community.
Books will be boxed up. Some might still find new owners. A big chunk have been "released" to new readers. Some funds were raised. I pray all would be happy about it.
May Chin and I will need to get some stuff for the next season. Hope the after Christmas sales are still good. We’re pretty budget conscious!
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The dinner with family yesterday was good. It’s a time where I’m just a son, or son-in-law, father, husband and your regular guy. Nothing more, nothing less.
Elysia as usual scribbles her greetings "card" (more like a piece of paper) for my Dad whom was very well pleased.
Gareth and Ewan both ate very well to the delight of the grandparents.
It was nice to be at our regular family dinner restaurant Magic Wok at Damansara Jaya. So many family meals have been there. As long as the old folks are happy with the food, I’ll just enjoy the presence of one another. Out kids love the chance to look at the pictures and just place their order too. So, that has been good. 🙂
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Breath slowly. Slow down. There’s no need to hurry into the new year 2011. Why dash into the future? We will head there gradually, even if we don’t do anything. For now, it’s a time to savour moments, relationships, memories, lessons, and whatever our hearts are ready to receive.