For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. - Philippians 1:21
It has been a very emotional week. Time is certainly needed for me to pray through and process my own thoughts and feelings before penning some of them down, as I often try to do in this column of Vicar Writes.
So for the moment, I will just stick to the facts.
We were in UK to attend my younger daughter’s graduation. It was a joy to see the "education life-cycle stage" of our two girls - at least formally speaking - completed with Deborah's attainment of her Masters in Architecture. This stage began when they first started their schooling in kindergarten. As all parents would say, it all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. And so, they are now poised to enter life as a "worker" and at some point soon, as a wife and subsequently, a mother. The young are being prepared to contribute economically and biologically. They are being prepared to walk in their calling and destiny in Christ, aka Ephesians 2:10.
Life recycles into the next generation.
However, for others, sadly, life will come to an end. It is inevitable and this is life as God has created. Some seem to pass away "before their time", as if we can imagine what a full life is. In a sense, every death is untimely and a person departs with a mixed bag of fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams.
And so, it was also a week where we sadly bade farewell to my brother, Revd Clement Wong. I started the week with vacation excitement only to see it ending in a vacuum as a close brother and fellow-pastor departed. He was already facing some health challenges these past few years but a major stroke sent him quickly and painlessly (we think) into the arms of God, whom he had loved and served till his dying breath.
"For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." When we came to the Lord in our early teenage years, these words of St Paul were sung in a favourite chorus. The full meaning and impact of such a powerful life motto can only be comprehended to some degree when life is lived. For Clement, it was richly so. The packed and emotionally-charged wake and funeral Services attest to the fact that the local church; which only knew him as their pastor since it was planted in the 80's; is a closely knitted family who was grieving the loss of their spiritual father.
It will take a book - and time - for me to share my thoughts and feelings. I am glad for the constraints of this A5 space. Meanwhile, to my family here in MPCC, we thank you for your love, prayers and well-wishes.