WE NEED OTHERS to explore with us the edges of our fear and faith. We grow spiritually only in and through our relationship with God and with others.
– Rueben P. Job and Marjorie J. Thompson
Companions in Christ: Embracing the Journey
It’s becoming harder as I grow older to say good-byes. But, like it or not, it’s becoming more and more frequent the past few years. After 2 of my good friends moved on one in Singapore and the other in New Zealand end of 2006, I thought I was left alone for a while to explore the edges of my fears and faith. But thankfully, Ian and Raj came along timely and three of us discerned the need for us to be fellow companions in Christ, sharing our lives, mutually trying to hear what God is saying to us, and praying for each other. Todd joined us the last quarter of 2007, and the group became a pleasant four. We will become three again, This time Ian will be returning home to the UK with his amazing wife and 2 wonderful girls! Those of us left behind in Malaysia wish him all the best.
Gareth told me last Sunday after church that he had a special Sunday school. Apparently, they had a special foot washing ceremony. "Papa, Uncle Ian washed my feet today, Papa." That broke me, and it still gets me choked up. It was not only special for Gareth but special for me too. Because Ian’s impact during his time here not only is in regards to his work, and also fellow companions – the big boys – in the above photo, but becomes even more significant in the memory of my 5plus year old son Gareth, when a "bigger" man humbled himself to show a "little" boy what servanthood is. It has imprinted in the heart of my growing son a meaningful memory and metaphor which will last a lifetime. It’s more than the symbolism of servant hood, but for a formative part of BLC’s Sunday School and Gareth’s experience of it (with the other kids), Uncle Ian (as they fondly call him) was their companion. "Are you going to miss Uncle Ian, Gareth?" I asked Gareth a while ago, he said, "Yes, Papa". Many of us will … Thanks Ian.
We had a nice final meeting on April Fool’s Day … which I was reminded in the evening that it was BLC’s birthday as well. So many vibrating thoughts are running in me right now. But whether it’s my own journey, or the journey of BLC, the truth of "we need others" is one which I feel more convicted than ever. And this is no joke! With the amount of change, and pressure, and intensity some of us face on a daily basis especially when we seek to respond to a call to live life differently with faith, hope and love combined with justice, mercy and humility … it can be lonely. This is where at the right time, at the right moment, the right people come along side us .. and we become friends in conversation as well as friends in a common journey of discovering and rediscovering ourselves — and in the process our ultimate friend guides us gently along the way, and we get to know his will and his ways better too.
I can’t remember the four of us literally washing each others feet, but I know for sure we learnt a lot of about serving each other by humble listening and discerning prayer. Oh yes, the meals after our monthly gatherings were always icing on the cake of friendship! Todd couldn’t join us for the last lunch for understandable reasons 🙂 So the three of us went to the Baba Low’s 486 restaurant at Lucky Garden for old times sake.