11 January 2019
1 John 5:5-13
Who can overcome the world?
Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God:
Jesus Christ who came by water and blood,
not with water only,
but with water and blood;
with the Spirit as another witness –
since the Spirit is the truth –
so that there are three witnesses,
the Spirit, the water and the blood,
and all three of them agree.
We accept the testimony of human witnesses,
but God’s testimony is much greater,
and this is God’s testimony,
given as evidence for his Son.
Everybody who believes in the Son of God
has this testimony inside him;
and anyone who will not believe God
is making God out to be a liar,
because he has not trusted
the testimony God has given about his Son.
This is the testimony:
God has given us eternal life
and this life is in his Son;
anyone who has the Son has life,
anyone who does not have the Son does not have life.
I have written all this to you
so that you who believe in the name of the Son of God
may be sure that you have eternal life.
Jesus was in one of the towns when a man appeared, covered with leprosy. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once. He ordered him to tell no one, ‘But go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering for your healing as Moses prescribed it, as evidence for them.’
His reputation continued to grow, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their sickness cured, but he would always go off to some place where he could be alone and pray.
“‘…but he would always go off to some place where he could be alone and pray.”
A friend once told me that I am still searching for my own space, my sanctuary, even though I do have a roof over my head which I share with my mum, my uncle and my nephew. He said that I feel unsettled because the house I am living in is not truly mine in the sense of its layout and décor. And while I spent 28 years living in the house (not counting the 5 years I spent abroad), it provided a refuge for me when I was younger. But lately, the need to have my own space has been gnawing at me.
I think it explains my wanderlust and nomadic nature. I have to get out of the country once in a while just to ‘live like a local’ in another city/town. This year, I have already planned three short journeys for three very different reasons. And while the first two may not be religious in nature, there is some sense of a ‘pilgrimage’ involved. Needless to say, I cannot wait (I have even applied for leave).
It is this sense of anticipation that Jesus probably felt when he always went off some place to pray. After all, he wanted to be close to the one true love – God, our Father. So I can understand how whenever the opportunity arose for him to get close to God, He would seize it. What more could anyone ask for than to bask in the warmth of His divine love and to simply be still in His presence.
Over the years, I have found a certain comfort in solitude. I know that I am more than comfortable watching a movie on my own, in an empty cinema hall (it happened recently on a Monday evening); walking a trail for 2 to 3 hours without speaking to anyone else; or just eating a simple meal in a hawker centre at lunch (I can’t understand why some colleagues find it strange that I sometimes lunch alone).
Brothers and sisters, ‘me’ time is extremely important if we are to fulfil our mission here on earth. It is time to reflect on God’s love for each and every one of us; to appreciate how He has painstakingly created us, one by one, cell by cell, in His image. It is necessary in order to renew our passion and zest for life each day so that we can get through it relatively unscathed, in order to celebrate another new day when we arise from our sleep.
Do you have a ‘go to’ spot at home, or at work when it gets too overwhelming? Wherever it is, know that you are not alone. Our Father is there too, listening to your prayer.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Dear Lord, in the silence of our own space, we pray that you be there to whisper to us and to answer our deepest, innermost questions.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for your infinite and gentle love.