Saturday 14 July 2018

"It's Okay Because I Am A Mom" - some thoughts

I just finished watching this 2-episode Korean drama about a mom in her 40s who suffers from early onset of Alzheimer's, It's Okay Because I Am A Mom.

I was reminded of the fund-raising concert Symponia that Jakin had helped to organise last year in school, in aid of the Alzheimer's Disease Association. His team had invited a caregiver to share her story and many in the audience were greatly moved. Similarly, I was in tears while watching the struggles faced by the protagonist and her family members in the k drama. Unfortunately, such stories are becoming more common in our aging population. In fact, today I also happened to chance upon a short film about the Confessions of a local caregiver.

Anyway, I like the way the k drama storyline focuses on the cracks in the family which widened at the discovery of her illness. In the end, the love and sacrifices she had made for her family in the past brings redemption and restoration. The key is that the plot doesn't just gloss over the problems. The beauty is in showing how love can bring the family together in the face of setbacks and challenges and give them the strength to keep going in spite of...

That, I find, shows up the elephant in the room which many Christians refuse to acknowledge. The majority of church-goers have this false belief that they can only show the good things in their lives in order to be an effective witness for God. [The prevalence of social media where only the best side is put on display worsens it, I think.] And along with that, they also propagate the myth that all your problems will be taken away once you receive Christ, plus the much more destructive idea that if something is still wrong, then it must be due to your lack of faith.

As a result, within the church community, many are still living behind masks rather than being authentic with one another, which leads to a lack of understanding, acceptance and ultimately a failure to truly love one another. And it also means that the church is incapacitated in reaching out to the wider community because we are unable to be the incarnate Body of Christ that lives among and feels along with the people.

However, the mood is gradually changing and there is hope for the church yet. More and more believers are starting to realise that we need to be real before both God and man, and that we have to provide a safe and loving community within the church for those who are struggling, whether it is with family issues, addictions or other problems. For instance, honest conversations like Is It Safe? (about same-sex attraction) and Tidings of comfort and joy can't take the pain out of life (about death) must take place. Only then can we point people to Christ and help each other to find true peace in the midst of the storm.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

The Gate Called Beautiful

Aimee submitted this piece of calligraphy to the Colours of the Bible 2018 art competition. Please vote for her piece by liking this post (click here!)

It's interesting that she chose to illustrate the word 'beautiful', which was the name of the gate where the lame man sat every day. Here's what she said about it:

The picture shows an open gate. When Peter healed the lame beggar in the name of Jesus, the beggar could then walk, and the gate called Beautiful was opened to him. 

I like the way she described how the gate was opened to him after he was healed. He not only could get up and walk, but more importantly, dignity was restored to him as he now could go through the gate and enter the temple to worship God with everyone else whereas he had not been allowed entry before due to his disability!

Perhaps the reason why the gate was called 'Beautiful' (Acts 3:2) was because one could enter in to "gaze on the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple" (Psalm 27:4b).

It also reminded me of another gate - Jesus Himself! He said that He is the gate for the sheep (John 10:7). Shepherds would lie down, across the opening (ie the gate) of the sheep pen so their bodies become the barrier against thieves and predators that may try to steal the sheep at night. In the same way, Jesus watches over us and protects us, His sheep.

In addition, the sheep pass through the gate to feed on green pastures and drink from quiet waters (Psalm 23:2), which is why Jesus said that He has come so we may have life to the full (John 10:10b).

He not only provides for our every need in this life, but He also opened the way to God for us through His sacrifice on the Cross, for the only way to the Father is through Him (John 14:6b). Plus He has opened to us the gate to heaven and a life spent with Him for eternity.

Oh, how Beautiful indeed is Jesus, our Healer, Protector, Provider, and gate to life now and forevermore!

Finally, don't forget to click here and vote for Aimee's piece by 20 Jul 2018. Thank you! :)