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The Craft of Suffering

We bid farewell to Martin Lee this week. He has been worshipping and serving in MPCC for many years. He is known to be loving, joyful, caring and a faithful participant in the life and ministry of the church. He is survived by Lillian. I am confident that many in MPCC will continue to be a close family for her. In moments like this, we remind ourselves that church family is precious. We do have other widows and widowers in our midst. Please continue to extend your care and love. We also need to continue to be mindful of those who are homebound or involved in elderly care. Members in these situations are most helped by close friends keeping in touch and perhaps offering an advice or two if asked for. Apart from this, it will be mostly about caring presence i.e. staying connected and letting them know you are praying.

Life can be good. Life can also be hard. In this modern lifestyle, we may have lost the “the craft of suffering.” That is, our creaturely life is one where suffering is a given. Some suffering is derived directly from sin; but most times, they simply arises from the fact that we are mortal creatures. The church has been gobbled up by the culture of buffered sensibilities, where gratifications are immediate and grasped, whereas sacrifices are to be avoided and kept at arm’s length. Of course, there is no real buffer for suffering, just as there is none for death. What differs is whether a human creature is prepared for it, grows with it, knows how to let God work within it.

Churches of the past engaged these aims regularly. The daily prayer (i.e Morning Prayer, Compline) and Sunday liturgy focuses on our mortal state and in contrast, the eternal greatness of our God. Daily, we use to pray for protection. Take this familiar evening collect as an example:

Lighten our darkness,

Lord, we pray,

and in your great mercy

defend us from all perils and dangers of this night,

for the love of your only Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Without training in the “craft of suffering,” we may be ill-prepared for life. This will be especially so for those who are younger in our midst.

We caught up with Bee Ngoh recently. She has opted for a simple and sacrificial lifestyle of living for others in Cambodia for many years now. She is a committed member of MPCC. She is our missionary out there. Please continue to keep her in our thoughts and prayers.


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