By: Dn Ng Zhiwen
Earlier this evening (3 hours ago), I attended a wake. In case you are unaware, one of our church deacons, Alfred Thong (or Thong ‘ge ge’ as the cantonese brethren affectionately called him), was called home to be with our Lord on 21 Oct.
He was 84 years old.
I have had a few opportunities to exchange no more than a few words of greetings with him – the way you would greet someone who you recognize as a familiar face in church but not know as a friend or relative. However, at the wake, I heard his youngest daughter boast of his being a great father, a great grandfather, a great friend, and one who loved the Lord. I saw the cantonese choir (most of whom were at least twice my age) boldly striding up to the front and bellowing a favorite song that they must have probably shared with their late brother in Christ (who also joined the choir since he started attending Zion in 2003).
As I witnessed all this, I could not help thinking about the youth. I was impressed by the strong turnout of the cantonese brethren to be there for the bereaved, and to remember the deceased. They were a fellowship of friends. They were family.
I wonder, for each of us:
a. How many of our “facebook friends” are really friends, and not just acquaintances? Put it this way – if you had a serious problem or personal happy news that you wanted to share about, how many can you count on to rejoice with you and sorrow with you? How many can you count on to seriously pray with you – or just be there for you?
b. Of your really good friends, would at least one of them be a Christian – one who loves the Lord? Someone from Zion?
c. Now, to swing it the other way around – of those people who include you as one of their facebook friends, how many of them do you think would count you as a true friend? Someone who can rejoice and sorrow with them; Someone loyal and trustworthy. Someone who can be there for them.
Now don’t get me wrong… the idea is not to chalk up as many “true friends” as possible.
But my earnest prayer is that we, as the young people in Zion, would LIVE as a community of people who really love each other and be there for each other.
Let’s face it – we will experience trouble and suffering in our lives. But we needn’t go through it alone. That’s what it means to be in the Body of Christ.
I have written these things as a reminder and an instruction to myself as well.
Finally, let it not be assumed that friendship may only be extended to those outside your family. You can express the good things of friendship towards kin as well. Seems obvious, but the sad truth is sometimes we are meanest to those nearest to us.
May we be a true friend. Just as Jesus was a true Friend to us. He laid down His life for us.