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Posts Tagged ‘church’

I skipped my regular routine attending church services in the morning that Friday.  A week ago, I have already informed our pastor that I plan to attend the Industrial Area church service instead in the evening.  I also missed out our church choir practice that night, which I am so sad about. 

We braved the dusty road leading to Industrial Area. When we have arrived at the place, it was a regular accommodation building intended for company workers.  The road leading to the building is quite notorious with potholes and mountain of construction debris on the side.   We reach the worship place after winding up seven staircases worth of our stamina, of climbing the steps. The place of worship is located in the rooftop.  About 24 sq.m. approximately, capable of seating around 20 people, right there along with the clothesline of wet laundry left out to dry.

The truth is, I am not expecting it.  Of all places, to hold a church service.  A rooftop towering over other rooftops of factory buildings in the midst of desert wind and the usual darkness of the evening.  I am used to attending house of worship with the comfort of sheltering oneself against the external elements, such as rain, heat and dry wind.  That night is a wake up call.  Believers are called upon to honor the Sabbath, wherever, whenever and whatever it takes.  Be it under the shade of the tree, or under the canopy of the bridge, or an open field. 

I am deeply humbled by the fact that here in the wide stretch of the desert, away from the comforts of the homeland, people who are disciplined in faith, are braving the routinary grind of their overseas life, partially isolated to the urban centers.   This is mission’s work,  a life dedicated to the cause of bringing the Gospel to the far reaches of places.  Administering the continuous flow of the message and strengthening people’s faith in God.

I admire my pastor, who is a missionary himself, for the kind of passion he have for the lost  souls and bringing them all to Christian faith.   His silent ways are a steady yet constant reminder that complacency has no place in Christian service.  Believers are ought to steer clear of their comfort zones, sacrificing time and effort for building up Christ’s work and taking upon each the individual God’s calling in putting into action all the Christian training they have learned.

I admire my friend Grace, who chose to become a full-time missionary, while administering translation of the gospel to the native tounges of the tribes among the hinterlands of Mindanao and Luzon back home.  She already had the chance to go to India, for some introductory mission’s work as part of her trainings.

Sometimes, it is a pity, when I hear myself, complaining about being so tired to get up early in the morning to begin my morning prayers.  Sometimes, it is a pity, when I see myself, scrambling over reading best-sellers in the night rather than having a bible reading of a chapter or two. Now it occured to me, that what I am doing for the kingdom is not enough.  Christian life calls for able and willing men of faith to stand up and do the work.  Whatever the circumstances may be or a situation they are in. 

The next time, I will go to the Industrial Area to have my Friday church service there.  I need to listen to what God is saying to me, visually.

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A neighbor who lives nextdoor had a caged lovebird hanging in the hallway in our apartment.  I was awakened one morning by its relentless chirping as if I was awakened by some familiar bird songs I once heard from my hometown’s parish church.  There was a surging of long distant emotions that was laid dormant through all these years.  A sanctified feeling of saintly wonder. The innocence of a child in his first communion.

In my reverie I remember that I was walking down there on the aisle to accept God. An obedience to one of His blessed sacraments.  Dressed in white, I clasped both hands as a sign of my faith, allegiance and devotion.  I remember the reverberating sound of the church organ, the ringing of the church bells, the whispered recitation of the rosary, the faint glow of the communion candles, the gleaming chandeliers above, the nauseating fragrance of gardenias, the painted figures of saints up in the ceiling, the adorned relics at the altar, the divine light that streams through the stained glass windows, the choir’s angelic voices and that familiar bird song.  All these things had engulf this child’s frailty. 

I felt afraid. Not because of the magnanimity of that space in which a child like me could not grasp. But because of the idea that I am surrendering to a God that can’t be seen.  That can’t be touched.  How could I ever let this Unknown guard and shield me, while knowing that I am in fact, facing each day without a father and a mother by my side?

But there is this divine force that has swept over me. An assuring voice that gently whispered,  herein I will find refuge and a constant companion.  That herein, is someone who will watch over me and will listen to every word I have to say. And I think then, that the birds perched at the church’s clerestory are my divine witnesses. Like angels in their joyful throng.  Singing their sweet songs as if revelling that another has triumphed to find favor in His sight.

From then on up to this age, I have tried to chase the divine light and that familiar bird song among the many churches I have been to.  To say my silent prayers. To ask for guidance. 

But I have grown impatient over the years. Trying to recollect that innocent moments I have felt during my first communion.  But it never repeated itself.  They are just some fleeting feelings of spirituality that meant little to me.

And these feelings had grown into spiritual discontent. Discontent among spiritual wolves cloaked in the veil of fractured holiness.  Of self-proclaimed shepherds misleading their own flock. Of ministers who pretended like kings in the higher places.  Of preachers who viewed the church as their fiefdom. Of this world’s manufactured spirituality.

I fled away. Far away and shield myself from the magnanimity of this world’s hypocrisy. Even in church, that once I thought to be my refuge.

Gone are those moments of that child-like faith. Gone are those moments that God communicates so closely and the doors of heaven are open for the innocent prayers I used to say. 

And there in the hallway, by the morning light,  I pulled a chair to sit beside that lovebird in the cage and listen to its chirping. I don’t know how long I am sitting there and drifted away from this realm. But what I felt is that I am ushered back to that same place where once, my innocence had been. And I felt that God is clasping my little fragile hands into His. The divine light and the bird song has finally returned by my side.

I just hope that this lovebird be loosened and set free from this cage, someday. Like me.  And savor freedom on its wings and fly. Basking in the splendid streams of sunlight. So divine.

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The world is one big classroom, I must say.  And we are all the students learning how to figure out life’s great lessons.  Just as we are looking at that big greenboard of countless possibilities of reading, of thinking, of testing ideas, of talking and of course, communicating.

We all sit there in our own chairs and desks doing what is required by our society. Taking up life roles quite unique to us and doing what is expected of us to do. And the challenge, is for us to contribute. To open up. To understand. To question. To clarify. To accept.  To be better.

And like most of the students, we have varied approaches to learning. Some diligent, some irresponsible, some bookish, some drifters, some enthusiasts etc. Same as true as how we do in our lives. No one in the class can contend who did well or who did not, but only the teacher, who had the lesson plan. The teacher who has the pen to write down the grades.  The teacher who is in the front like a mighty warrior quelling ignorance among us. 

They say, a teacher is a great influence to your well-being, second to your parents.  If the teacher has inspired you, there you’ll get inspired.  If the teacher has empowered you, then you’ll be of power.  And if the teacher make you see wider than you are used to, I bet, you will go a long way than you could ever imagine.

And the success of the teacher is not on how many doctors, lawyers, CEO’s and government officials they had produced.  But teachers who produce another set of responsible teachers and mentors in other fields enriching and nourishing.  The workplace. The community. The church.  The government.  The society.

Even after university life, we all have mentors in our workplaces. We have elders in our churches to encourage us.  We have community leaders who prod us to be responsible. We have fathers and mothers, whose voices are still relevant. In this life, no one survives on his own. We need teachers, who can tell us the difference between right and wrong.  We need teachers, who had a definite view of what is acceptable or not. We need teachers, who have a strong moral ethic and can’t be compromised.
That is the worth of a teacher.  That was how their profession is simply the noblest.  You might say, that it seems like forever their turf is in the classroom.  Staying there as long as they have the energy to teach. But can you imagine, how their ideals travelled the world, among their students?  Can you imagine how the society at large being built by their minds among the movers and shakers of this generation?

The world may boast of its many achievements.  But these rest upon the shoulders of the teachers whose influence help shape it.  The teacher whose idea fire an imagination.  The teacher whose life becomes a beacon of hope between the present and the future. 
 

 

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