Last year's gift from Adam Road Presbyterian Centre to fathers on Father's Day was an open letter from our Heavenly Father. This year, the church wanted to pass round a message to all fathers that was based on Jesus' famous parable on "The Prodigal Son".
We thought the idea of a house with its door ajar - always ready for the son to enter - captured the father's love and forgiveness. And like the returning son, open the CD cover and you will see the bright warm yellow of the cover's inner folds.
Here's the text on the CD sleeve:
WHEN WILL WE GET IT RIGHT?
I watched a heart-wrenching Chinese movie called Aftershock. It was set during the Tangshan Earthquake in 1976 where almost 240,000 died. A totally shocking death toll, unmatched by the total casualties of the recent quakes in Japan that jolted our world.
Aftershock tells the story of a mother who has to choose between her 7-year-old twins (a boy and girl) who are buried under the same slab of concrete in the aftermath of the earthquake. The slab cannot be lifted outright – which would have saved both children. It can only be tilted aside to save one child.
The mother is forced to choose that one child. Expectedly, in a China setting, she painfully chooses her son. She then lives with the guilt of her painful decision which haunts her for the rest of her life. Miraculously, the girl who’s left behind is saved by rescue workers later but is traumatised forever by her mother’s decision to “forsake her” in preference for her brother.
A poignant lesson? Here is the pain of losing loved ones.
Sometimes, the unpredictable tragedies of life leave us no choice. We are compelled by uncontrollable circumstances to “choose” to lose our loved ones. Often times, though, in the routine of life, we foolishly choose to lose the most valuable people whom God graciously gave us to love.
And the loss of loved ones can happen in so many ways.
More and more Singaporeans are allowing gadgets to kill our relationships – slowly but surely. Our handphones ring at the dinner table, we check messages while on holiday and reply to SMS-es during that rare family outing which we have promised our spouses or kids. Nothing seems to be sacred about our sacred family time anymore. That’s one sure way to lose our loved ones in our modern world.
At other times, it’s the success culture – seen most clearly with the annual Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE), O and A Levels exams – which make us lose loved ones. We rejoice with children and parents who do well. Praise God! Please enjoy our God-given moments of shared labour and “attainment”.
Yet, my heart goes out to children and parents who may be disappointed. May we not carelessly turn against one another at home, pointing the finger to blame spouses and children when exam grades are not up to scratch. It is a sure way to lose our loved ones.
Let us, instead, turn humbly upwards to God in prayer. We must learn that life is more than grades and children more than exams. What’s a failed exam in the light of the Cross and eternity? Please note that God has a way of working out His salvation purposes in unthinkable ways.
God’s invincible message is carried by very vulnerable messengers like us. We are, indeed, jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4). The sooner we learn that true vulnerability – not pretended invincibility or false security – is the mark of the follower of Jesus, the better it is.
And the precious lessons of false invincibility from exam results or false security from virtual connectivity may just help us to not lose our loved ones unintentionally.
So when will we get it right in this area of our lives?
Once we get that right, we are on the way to getting most things right in life. Amen. Some of us need to seriously detox ourselves from mind-numbing gadgets. Others need a detox from crippling cultural values. The gospel or Good News is about a God who would not lose His loved ones to anyone (Satan) or anything
(the world). And God paid the costly price of His Son to make it happen. Please find attached a CD of our Easter presentation which contain this simple but powerful message.
- Your brother and pastor, Pastor Christopher Chia
Project Year: 2011