New Year Prayers
It is the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year and it is the Year of the Rat.
We began the day by attending a New Year Thanksgiving Service in our family church. Rev Ling Shiang Ming reminded us with a message from Deuteronomy 11:1-12. It was a sermon about the presence of God. It has become a resounding theme lately coming from 2 different churches. The theme for me in 2007 seems to be mission, is this 2008's? Maybe it is too soon to tell.
After service, we headed off to bai nien with my in-laws. Every year, my mother-in-law would serve New Year breakfast and we will have her usual fried beehoon. We look forward to it - simple fare but it has become special as something that's sure to happen every year. Wishes were exchange and next we decided to visit one of my uncle and aunt to bai nien. SH joined them in a friendly game of mahjong, while I caught up with my cousins whom I seldom meet.
This New Year will be a year of prayers for the sick.
My father-in-law has deteriorated quite in a bit in his Parkinson's Disease. His motor capabilities has worsened - just last week, he fell while bringing the trash out, causing a deep gash on his cheek. He could not get up, could not call for help and laid there in a small pool of blood, until help thankfully came.
Both my eldest aunts on both side of my family are also not well. My dad's sister was just diagnosed of cancer, which I think is in its last stages. She has a lump at her side, which she had refused to be diagnosed. By the time it had grown to an unbearable size, it was too late for much to be done when found to be malignant. My mom's sister had suffered a stroke more than 20 years ago. She had been quite active only until last year when old age caught up with her.
We have tried to reach out to my father-in-law and my mom's sister. I am not sure about my father-in-law's faith - he was attending church for a little while last year, until he could not handle it physically and mentally anymore. He does not like being in crowds. My mom's sister did not want to listen when my mom tried to talk to her about it. It is my prayers that God's voice will still be heard by them in the stillness of their souls. I pray that his amazing grace will somehow or rather reach and received by them.
On the other hand, my dad's sister was our pillar of spiritual strength when she was healthy. She was faithful and strong in the Lord, full of joy in the Lord. Yet in her sickness and weakness, she has been refusing visitors. From what I have heard from my dad, she seem to have lost her joy. I hope I am wrong though. I pray that she will regain the joy she had in Christ, which will be her strength and have his grace which will be sufficient.
And I pray that we too will begin to learn the grace of growing old, to realise our total dependence on the Lord, to recognise that our final destiny is to be with the Lord in eternity. Pray with me.
Photo © 2005 Hobbes Yeo