How much can happen in twenty-four hours? A lot, apparently!
This entry is dedicated to three very special people. You know who you are.
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It began with the PKV Committee meeting on the night of 25 September. We convened to select the next committee.
Some will leave, some will stay. Some of those leaving will be handing over their mantle to some of those staying. And some, though not staying, will always remain in the ministry, serving in capacities outside the committee itself.
It was good to remember mercy and grace that night. There we were at the foot of the cross, where we in our guilt and dirt are able to seek a new life, a second chance... again and again.
It was good to remember that if our Master can use us, he can use anybody. Who are we to say what the potter can or can't use for his pottery, or what the chef can or can't use for his dish? I was reminded of Frederick Buechner's words;
"We are fools for Christ's sake," Paul says. You can't put it much more plainly than that. God is foolish too, he says--"the foolishness of God"--just as plainly. God is foolish to choose for his holy work in the world the kind of lamebrains and misfits and nitpickers and holier-than-thous and stuffed shirts and odd ducks and egomaniacs and milquetoasts and closet sensualists as are vividly represented here by you and me..."
--Frederick Buechner, 'The Road Goes On'
Some of us adjourned to Mapley for supper.
If I had the time, maybe I would lie on a couch and pay somebody a thousand pounds an hour to tell me what my friends could tell me on a night out in Dublin.
When I read these words two nights ago, I realised it was the very experience I've always had with the d'NAers, and the very experience I had that night, in the wee hours of Friday the 26th, sitting in Kaun's car and confessing things we'd never confess were we in more stable frames of mind.
Personalities will not break up U2. Musical differences will not break up U2. We'll break up because somebody squeezed the toothpaste from the wrong end.
--Larry Mullen Jr, U2
And guess what? It also happens that we talked about toothpaste in the car! Li Ern and Kaun swear by squeezing from the bottom, while I just whack the tube from the middle. I can't remember Ai Wei's choice... :-P
We drove up Bukit Cinta in an attempt to catch the sunrise, but it was an overcast dawn. So we went down to KPS in hopes of better prospects at the lake. Ruth joined us at KPS, and though half-asleep, we were still able to reflect on the Word and pray.
Once we were done, Ann Gie passed us on the way to her class.
(One of the perks of using a super wide-angle: camwhore-style group shots... if you don't mind the inevitable distortion, that is.)
So we returned to our respective colleges to retire for awhile, before getting up for PKV Meeting at 12.00 p.m. (I had to get up earlier as I was to run through the songs with Suzanne.)
Sivin loves post-meeting makan sessions. I suppose that is why BLC always serves 'lunch' after service every Sunday. "That's where the real conversations are," he says.
(This wasn't a posed shot. It happens I pressed the shutter at that very moment; even I didn't know it at the time.)
He came to speak on Elijah, and challenged us to play our part in continuing the prophetic ministry of Jesus Christ. "Maybe this is more of a Bible Exploration than a Bible Exposition." Well said, Sivin!
Ai Wei failed to wake up for PKV Meeting and was most shocked when I called to tell her it was already 3.00 p.m. Nonetheless, we had a great evening with Tim and Li Ern at Mid Valley. (Many thanks to Kaun for sending us there; he decided not to join us as he had to work that evening.)
Tim dropped Li Ern off at college as she had an appointment with friends at Saisaki in KL (where she had seven scoops of ice-cream... dessert perfection), while Ai Wei and I watched Mamma Mia! after shopping at Carrefour (she needed supplies for the Raya break, during which she would be staying in college) and having a snack at McDonald's.
Tim later joined us for 'dinner' at the mamak restaurant opposite Starbucks. The twenty-four hours were taking their toll on me, and I fell asleep over a plate of finished ghee thosai. And so the adventure ended when Tim sent me and Ai Wei back to college.
I had barely enough rest before the next day dawned upon me: eight hours at Rimba Ilmu followed by Popo's birthday dinner.
* * * * *
Sivin, Yen and Adelene use the Canon Powershot A720 IS, which I unreservedly recommend as easily the best compact camera out there in terms of balance of performance and affordability. Those with too much money should get the Canon Powershot G9 IS.
No prizes for guessing who's most likely to upgrade to an SLR! ;-)
* * * * *
I have been reading Micah of late, and these are four verses that continue to encourage and challenge me. I firmly believe that if the first could come true, so can the other three, for I yearn for the day when I shall be free from sin.
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times."
"I will destroy your carved images
and your sacred stones from among you;
you will no longer bow down
to the work of your hands."
"Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the LORD's wrath,
until he pleads my case
and establishes my right.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness."
"You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea."
--Micah 5:2,13; 7:9,19 (NIV)
It was timely for Sivin to speak on Elijah, and to remind us that the greatest sin has always been idolatry, i.e. the sin of substituting the true God with a fake. In this present age, it gets more subtle. Few will fall for a block of wood or stone, but haven't we carved careers and manufactured dreams we worship?
Do we always strive to be made in God's image, or are we at times (or perhaps even often) found yearning after man's image, or our own image?
* * * * *
Yesterday, I read this in The Star:
Ali Rustam (Malacca's Chief Minister) is using biodegradable (even edible!) plates made from tapioca at his Hari Raya Open House. I'd really love to be there to experience this landmark moment.
I don't think we need any more proof that polystyrene and plastic packaging (especially polystyrene, which is not only non-biodegradable, but also non-recyclable) is not the way to go.
Point is, we have the intelligence, we have the expertise, we have the technology. What we don't have, and yet ironically what all of us can supply, is the demand.
Selamat Hari Raya, Malaysia!