The wonder and beauty

29 01 2011

I’m sitting on the 307 bus from Central to Tai Po right now, having got out of class and walked to Immigration Tower from Wanchai Road, and the bus goes along the Eastern Corridor and Tate’s Cairn route. As we plod alongside the harbour, the unusually clear view across to Tsim Sha Tsui allows the dull amber and raw orange of the sky to give way to dusky purples and magentas along the peek of the horizon visible between buildings, and as I listen to the song “This is Love” by The Autumn Film I am deeply in love with Hong Kong, and so speechless about how God’s love suddenly becomes such a surprise.

“This is love: that You still love me… in spite of me”


A moment, please

6 12 2010

A student wrote me an email the other day asking if I was alright. I wrote back, saying that I was fine, but I was a bit down because of the generally lousy day I was having, a day on which one bad thing seemed to happen after another, with scant regard for the havoc being wreaked by each. The truth of the matter is, since that email, I’ve been reading through some of what I’ve written in the past, and I’ve been understanding afresh, as though by some sort of divine revelation, that our voices are unique, and God-given.

This may seem so commonplace as to be redundant, but it’s as though I’m looking at the whole issue with new eyes.

It’s true that some days are better than others, and it’s not always the case that I can say life has been better since I became a Christian and started teaching at a Christian school (although there was an intermission of around 6 years between the two events). Some days are better than others, but in the moment, whatever the moment may be, I have joy – in the students, in the content we’re going through, or in some aspect of conversation that is engaged in, or even overheard… it’s how we understand that there is purpose to all this. The unmanageable mess that the tangle of Everything may be could be the thing that helps us to comprehend that in spite of the grades we strive for, the friends we have, the recognition we gain, or the things we like, we are not, and cannot, be perfect.

I think anyone who says their life has miraculously become “perfect” after coming to a salvation decision for themselves is either lying, or deluded.

Life doesn’t happen that way, no matter how much we pretty-pretty-please-please-let-it-all-be-perfect want it to be. I’ve been finding encouragement in Hebrews 10:14, and the different tenses: we have been made perfect, but we’re still being made holy.

Life is tough-as-nails, and we get all kinds of junk thrown at us on a daily, hourly, constantly, basis. Anne Lamott writes, which I have quoted in my Facebook profile because I found it so relatable, and so profound, that

Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.

This is something to cling to, when all hope seems lost, and questions remain unanswered.

No matter how hard things seem to be, there is hope. There is hope in the tears, in the furrowed brows, in the hands clasped tight in prayer, and the urgent whispers of the soul. At the times when all seems lost, may we understand always, and above all things, that we have hope, and that, at the end of the time we have been allotted, all things will be made a l r i g h t.


That choking feeling

2 12 2010

Just got floored with some crappy news, and I feel like I’m to blame. It’s not a feeling that I am entirely at fault, just that I could have kept my mouth shut and then everything would be fine.

But it won’t be, because it’s actually not acceptable to keep my mouth shut when it comes to an issue like the one that had come up.

And now the familiar old lump in my throat is back, and it tastes like bitter guilt.

The only consolation there is is that “always You remain with me” as the song by Christian City Youth on iTunes is saying right now.

This morning’s God moment

22 08 2010

Okay. A little bit of too-much-information: while sitting on the toilet and reading All The Hits So Far But Don’t Expect Too Much by Bradley Hathaway this morning, I came across The Hug Poem again, and this time, more than any other, I was profoundly moved. I don’t think the touches that Jesus gave in order to heal were in any way diminished by the fact that the Bible doesn’t say they were hugs; I think He would have given hugs, and really good ones at that. I think the power of Jesus’ touch was in the sheer fact that He touched at all; we think of the very rich, recoiling from the outstretched hand of the very poor.

I was touched in a big way while reading that because I’ve been really conscious of the new back piece I got on August 13, and I don’t want to be touched in case it’s ruined or something. That’s what it was like at yesterday’s Solid Rock meeting – even though I was really excited about seeing the youth again after 3 weeks away, I was hesitant about hugging people. The physical touch does say so much more than just words though, and I found myself being enveloped by the girls I hadn’t seen in the last month, and as we caught each other up on our various activities over the summer, I was struck afresh at their joy for life, in spite of what they’re going through. They may not even know it themselves, but their very beauty is in the soul that the Creator placed in their being, and as it shines from their eyes, one can’t help but be captured by the love, and creativity, of God.

So may you, as you live each day stressed out or rushing around or doing chores or studying or whatever else you do, find little reasons, old reasons, new reasons, and surprising reasons, to love God and love what He has created. Because it is good, even when we don’t understand it.

When you have time, the poetry collection I wrote about is found here.

Something to think about?

How He Loves – David Crowder Band

4 07 2009

This is breaking my heart: “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us oh,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way…

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

Quote of the day

28 06 2009

Bertrand Russell once said,  “To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” As I grow older, I find the truth of that statement more and more obvious. But first, I believe, we need to know what our fear is. To some, just knowing what it is is already the first step to conquering it.


On a side note, and to continue this current moment of procrastination as I’m sitting at my desk having started to nut out an introduction I’m actually happy with: If you blog on WordPress, you know that there’s a bit to the side that lets you include tags to your blog posts. I have always used tags, although I don’t know why, but the size of the tag increases according to how many times it’s been mentioned on your blog.

I’m not liking the fact that “work” is the biggest one, and God is the second.

WWW trip to Tokyo

30 04 2009

Had a good meeting with 3 of the parents tonight, which was efficient and informative, then had a long chat with the mother of one of my students. The conversation renewed my hope for this school, and showed me what I felt like and anticipated when I first decided to come to this school. Why is it always so easy to criticise and lose sight of the original intention? Oh, that the people who spend time in this school would fall in love with God again, and know that his plan for the school far surpasses any hopes, fund-raising activities, or ESLR.

And may the change, may the revival, start with me.