Yan's Corner - In Touch

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Going Home

Attending Christian funerals, or Memorial Services is usually an unforgettable experience. Yes, there are tears. We grieve over those to whom we bid a temporary good-bye. The sense of loss can be overwhelming. Yet, there is a sense of great triumph. Someone has finished his course and entered into the HOME that God has prepared.

My uncle’s funeral service this morning at Masland Methodist Church was one of the funeral services that I know, is hard to come by. Yes, there are tears. Tears shed by family members and friends.

Yet, the words, the touching words shared by the Ministers are really something I could not keep them for myself without sharing with others. The Ministers, yes, with the plural “s”. The Minister or the pastor who ministered the service. The Minister who represented the Cabinet Minister to express the gratitude and appreciation to the departed for his contributions to the State and nation.

Sometimes we are so close to the details of our daily living that we cannot see our lives as a whole. Have you ever given it a thought how you would like your funeral service to be like? If you imagine yourself at your own memorial service, perhaps, living will take on a new dimension.

The first thing you might realize is – we are not going to be here forever. Therefore, the Minister or the pastor administering the funeral service, Rev Kong Chong Ling related about “Going Home”. Going home, two words that could mean a world of difference to different people. Here is how someone feels about going home expressed in words and music –

I'm Going Home
words and music by Arlo Guthrie

Like the tree that grows so tall
Leaves turn gold and then they fall
They've gone down, now they've grown
They're going home

Mountain streams may run and flow
Clean the sands on which they go
Stretching down like it had known
It's going home

Sunrise early in the dawn
Slips away, then it's gone
Leaves the night to carry on
While it's going home

Once a man he lived and died
What he said death could not hide
Even though it's often tried
But he was going home

Now my friends it's time to go
And this love will live to grow
And I want you all to know
I'm going home

Yes, going home can be exciting and joyous. It can also be fearful if you do not hold hope for the home that you are heading for. Home, whether it’s warm, whether it’s cold, whether it’s magnificent, whether it’s humble – we all need to go home.

When I get home after an exhausting day’s work I do not say, “WOW” even though home to me is a warm and protected place. I say, “Whew, home at last.” It is because it's where your heart has rest.

So, for the one remembered at the funeral service, it is “Whew, home at last.” He is “Absent from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8)

The Second Finance Minister and Minister of Urban Development and Tourism, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, was between sobs when he paraphrased Winston Churchill’s “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” into “Never has so many owed so much to one person” as his tribute to Dato Sri Lau Hui Kang.

It took the Minister quite a whole to go back to his speech as he wiped away his tears.

He added, “People of Sibu, people of Sarawak owe much to one man.”

He said Hui Kang was a man of gratitude. He was grateful to his parents, to his family members, to his teachers, to the society and most of all, to God.

Perhaps as we consider attending our own memorial services, contemplating how we wish to be remembered, we will be prompted to live well, as Mark Twain says, "that even the undertaker will be sorry."

John Holmes has said it so well in his poem, "The Green Door":

But I have lived too much to guess of dying
That death's a garden, or to rhyme its fears,
And lived so long - a twelvemonth in a minute -
I think time goes by heartbeats, not by years.

Here in my heart I hold such strong abundance,
I do not care what lies beyond that door.
Life is enough. There is always music,
Always more love, more sun, and always more.

And if the green door opens on tomorrow,
And every friend still answers to his name,
A little death makes eloquent the daylight:
It will be glory that the world's the same.

And we have all been dead, who now are living!
Speak out the secret thing we're certain of:
We're back, we've all come back, we've all been given
A longer time to look, and touch, and love.

5 comment(s):

My condolences to your family. I've been reading your blog for a while and I stop by almost every day to read your posts. I am also from Sibu and I am a Christian so I've enjoyed your writing lots. May God be with all your family in this moment of sorrow. Take heart that your uncle has gone to a better place and one day, you shall meet him again. Take care and God bless.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:08 am  

Thank you, brother or sister. (My instinct tells me you are a sister.)

Yes, he has finished his course faithfully. That'll be the encouragement for us, the living, to also finish our course faithfully.

I am honoured to have a reader from my own town stopping by almost every day! Drop by often, leave a comment or two, and I know I will be encouraged.

Thank you again.


By Blogger Yan, at 5:49 am  

hi yan and loved ones...
at this time of sorrow, yet a Victory, I can only fall back on this assurance:

You'll Never Walk Alone

When you walk through a storm
hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm is a golden sky

And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never, ever walk alone.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart

And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never, ever walk alone.

Words And Music by Oscar Hammerstein II - Richard Rogers.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn
from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
"God Bless."

By Blogger desiderata, at 10:12 am  

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.[John 17:3-4]
I only meet you uncle twice in his life here once at his house while under construction another years later while waiting to board a plane.
Indeed his life was to glorify God in his way.
Take care and in God we shall find strength.

By Blogger RedLog :), at 10:10 pm  

My condolences to your family. I'm sure your late uncle was an exceptional man.

By Blogger fishtail, at 12:54 pm  

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