What was that about starting my CAT? Looks like I'm back in no less than 6 hours blogging about another episode.. with Mel. Missed the bus by about a second, and then train by another second, today. All that after running as fast as our heels could take us for the train. Seriously. Whenever we're together we just make clowns out of ourselves. But it's just ridiculously funny. Not to mention the hilarious message Mel divulged on the train ride (well it was hilarious to me, but obviously not to Mel in this case ;p). I better take note of that syndrome, might need to use it next time ;p
`*Can't seem to get enough of these moments that perk up my day :))
////////Can't seem to get enough of early-morning sticky post-its either :)
Before I do up the post detailing the adelaide trip, let me just start with a simple post of the one week break. It has been absolutely fun, and a well-deserved holiday I must say. After Adelaide, the week was filled with simple joys. Spending time with the OCFers eating homecooked nasi lemak (by a Malaysian no-less!) and playing sit-in-a-circle games (weird hand signals aplenty, causing some pretty serious tummyaches). Going out for hotpot, majong-ing ..getting Mel high. Ooops. But seriously, that girl says the funniest of things when she's high. It's so amusing to watch. 'What's this! Girl getting GUYS for CHAIRS!' she comments, while pulling out chairs for her guests. And the funniest part is that she firmly believed that she wasn't high and that the rest of us were the crazy ones (as all alcoholics usually do, anyway). Thinking back still gives me the giggles. Ahh well. Now all that has come to a close, and it's time for school to start once again. Better get on the road and down to starting my CAT!
Just attended Maundy Thursday, which is not normally held in my home church, and hence I've never experienced it before. It's a Jewish practice, but my local church here embraces it anyway, as a time of remembrance and fellowship. It was definitely interesting for me, with Pastor Derek involving me in any small way he can.
On this day four events are commemorated: the washing of the Disciples' Feet by Jesus Christ, the institution of the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot.
We all sat down at the table and had a few things as a church that night:
Hard boiled egg - symbol of the suffering and oppression in Egypt. Everything else in boiling water becomes soft or disintegrates. But an egg becomes hard, like the Israelites. The more it is boiled, the harder it becomes. An egg also symbolizes New Life.
Roasted shankbone of lamb - a reminder of the Lamb that was sacrificed to save our lives.
Bitter herbs (horseradish) - a reminder that the Israelites were servants to slavery.
Greens (parsley, celery) - symbol of coming of Spring which brings hope.
Salt water - a reminder of the tears the Israelites cried in Egypt.
Haroset - nut, apple, cinnamon, wine mixture which has the appearance of straw in remembrance of the mortar used to build the Treasure Cities for Pharaoh. It is symbolic of the hope of freedom that enabled ancestors to withstand the bitterness of slavery.
Matzah - the unleavened bread symbolized the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt.
After the reading of passages from Exodus and Matthew during the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, we also performed the servantly task of cleaning each other's feet. Under no other circumstances would I have imagined myself cleaning someone else's feet, but I'm sure the person whose feet I cleaned felt really special :) I definitely did, when the pastor cleaned my feet. In addition, his words struck me as he said to me while performing the task, "Xin Yi, for someone who's going to be serving others all her life, it's wise to realise how Jesus served." That's a pretty high calling to reach, almost scary to think of. But I felt really touched when he added, "And how did He do it? By always remembering to draw strength from God." So that makes 2 things to work toward :) Hopefully I'd remember it for life, especially when I start work. If not, reminders are always welcomed :)
From the one with the message from RBC Ministries :)
Been Thinking About: The Wisdom of Motives (an article by RBC Ministries President Mart De Haan)
Is it right to consider not only whether a law was broken, but why? I’ve been wondering about this after reading how a German court handled the ticketing of a motorist caught speeding by a traffic control camera. When the court learned why the driver had broken the speed limit, charges were waived. Instead, officials sent the driver a doll of a policeman holding a traffic camera. It mattered to someone in the system that the man was speeding to get his wife to the hospital for the birth of their first child. Motives and the courts The “police doll verdict” touches on an issue of law discussed by defense lawyer and author Melvin Belli. In Everybody’s Guide to the Law, he writes, “Two things must be present for a crime to be committed: an act . . . and a particular state of mind.” Belli goes on to say, “In law, it is frequently said that an act is not a crime if done without a guilty mind.” But what is a guilty mind? Legal scholars have an ongoing debate about whether courts should weigh motive in considering guilt. Should a traffic court really be interested in why a speeding driver is breaking the law? Motives and everyday life Outside of court, motives are easier to consider even if they remain difficult to prove. If a wife sees red when her husband brings home yellow roses, her reaction is more likely to be about her suspicion of his motives than the color of the flowers. When large corporations give big money to a political campaign, we suspect an ulterior motive. In so many areas, we naturally look for the hidden agenda behind gifts, personal endorsements, and even good manners. Motives and faith Jesus talked a lot about motives. His approach, however, was to help us focus on our own hearts before going after the faults of others. Because of our inclination to do the right things for the wrong reasons, He told His disciples not to let their left hand know when their right hand was giving to the poor (Matthew 6:3-4). He also said that when they prayed they should do so in secret rather than making a self-serving public display of their spirituality (vv.6, 18). What difference do motives make?
If we are not careful, we can do some of the best things for the worst reasons. Our purposes combine with what we believe and do to shape the character of our faith, our love, and our laughter. They fuel blind ambition and feed bitter envy. They determine whether we use the knowledge of the Bible to help others, or to control, condemn, and con them out of their money.
Bad motives can put honorable actions to shame just as good motives can turn even the most menial task into something noble.
Where do good motives come from?
The wonderful thing about good motives is that their source and story is not limited to a conscience or commandment that says, “You should, you ought, or you must.” According to Jesus and the Bible, if we love well, it is because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). If we have the right kind of faith in the darkest night, it is because our God has shown Himself to be more trustworthy than our circumstances.
But thinking about where good motives come from raises another important question.
What happens when the music stops?
This was the question Job faced. According to the Bible, he was one of the wealthiest men in the world until his reasons for serving God were challenged.
As the story unfolds, Job’s name comes up in a conversation between God and the devil. The King of heaven points to Job as an example of someone who has remained loyal to Him. Satan, however, responds by attacking Job’s motives. He argues that Job sees God as a meal ticket and says that if Job weren’t getting what he wanted, the King’s model citizen would be cursing rather than praying.
So God allows Satan to test Job’s heart. In waves of terrible misfortune, Job finds himself destitute and confused by pain and grief. Why? Why was God allowing this to happen? The harder Job tried to find answers, the more bitter and angry he became.
While much of his earlier life had been spent trying to help others (Job 29), Job now finds himself in a desperate struggle to defend his own reputation. Even his friends are accusing him of hiding the scandal they believe would explain his suffering.
Only when God intervenes does Job’s terrible ordeal come to an end (38-42). Only when God opens Job’s eyes and enables him to see the wonder and wisdom of his Creator as he has never seen Him before does Job’s cloud of despair lift. Only then does Job declare, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (42:5-6).
Job’s motives for remaining loyal to God had been tested. His reasons for fearing God and hating evil (1:8) had been refined in the fires of loss. Now in stark nakedness of soul, he worshiped God because he had come to see that God alone deserves to be trusted in the dark night of our soul.
Thousands of years later, Job’s story is still helping us to see that, in a sense, Satan had a point. In the courts of heaven and on earth, motives count. If we are not careful, why we seek God can say more about our desires than about our confidence in His eternal power, wisdom, and honor (James 4:1-3).
And so we pray: Father in heaven, we are so inclined to be concerned about the motives of others, while overlooking our own. Search us, O God, and know our hearts; try us, and know our thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).
— Mart De Haan
I am inclined now to think. Now then, how good and pure are our motives? Do we let our survival instinct get the better of us, and prevent us from being altruistic and all-encompassing? Even if just a taint? Some people with the best of intentions still don't see the light of day anyway. Be horrid and evil, and people talk. Be too kind, and people talk anyway. What's worse, sometimes our conscience doesn't make up for all that gossip and it doesn't pay to be nice. It seems we're guilt-tripped either way. Can someone then explain to me the unguilty mind? On another note, I would think that in the example stated above the guy who violated the law felt guilty in that instant when he stepped on the accelerator knowing he was going past the speed limit. However I'm sure he had rationalised that he would be more than willing to pay the fine if caught for speeding with the intention of bringing his wife to the hospital asap. So I guess the unguilty mind is one where we know exactly what we're doing and the consequences we have to pay and yet would still carry it out even if we're found out anyway?