It takes effort to say “thank you.” That was what my dear friend, the late Bishop Albert Vun reminded me of in his last sermon. As the year turns, I want to take some time to pause and give thanks, perhaps where it is least expected. And I hope it adequately expresses your inner thoughts too.
In 2016, I want to thank the Lord for…
Every dear brother and sister who had been promoted to glory in 2016. They have left the cares of mortal life behind as they are embraced by a loving Saviour. We want to be thankful for every day we have spent with them.
Every suffering that they and we had encountered. A broken body, a broken heart or dashed hopes. No matter how deep the pain was, we take comfort that it will be only for a “little while”, as You have always reminded us. (1 Peter 1:6). Through some, we learned from it and grew. Through others, we never knew why. There can be only tears for You to wipe when we see You face to face (Rev 21:4).
Every act of love that we have received, in small or big ways. And every act of love we can show to another. Some of us spent the year largely on care-giving. That there is someone we can love in the most mundane of ways, we are thankful.
Every person who has smiled and encouraged me. We have felt hurt - and remember - those hurtful words. Even for these words, they were moments for pause and reflections. A criticism was an opportunity for self-realisation that had led to change and growth.
Every person we have got to know in this large community in the Cathedral. We are often lost, feeling lonely though not alone. Some of us do not feel significant and hardly anyone notices when we are missing from church. Yet, there was always someone less noticed, that we were able to reach out to.
Every pastor, staff and member who has taken the time and effort to share church with those who were not able to step into the church premise at 11, St Andrew’s Road. Stuck to the bed, wheelchair and often very much home alone (yes, even when I was in an old folks home), you have brought joy, fellowship, the holy meal and His presence right into my room. Cathedral came to me and for that, I am thankful.
Every friendship that I have made. Being single had its moments of struggle. And envy, at the many happy couples that I see in church. Yet, I have made friends in church and over the course of the year, we have been family to each other. For that rich intimacy in Christ, I am thankful.
Every moment of restoration, for we are often lost, selfish and behaved like sheep gone astray. We do not feel we have deserved it but yet again and again, your grace was there. Life, broken as it sometimes was, could be renewed (made new) again.
Every moment I have been enriched in my relationship with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I could think of many things that could have shortened my life in 2016. But I do not want to rejoice that I am still in one piece. Instead, I want to rejoice that come what may, my name is written in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20).
I know Jesus and He knows me. This matters most.