the one who remembered

We studied the first two chapters of Luke last friday for bible study.

Luke describes the foretelling of the birth of John the Baptist in parallel to that of Jesus (6 months later), as well as the early years of Jesus as a boy.

One point that struck me was Mary’s emotions and thoughts that were described in detail in the first two chapter for as much as three times within the first two chapters.

The first time that Mary’s thoughts were stated was when the angel Gabriel greeted her with “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

……

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. – Luke 1:29

In chapter 2, the angels appeared to a group of shepherds, telling them the good news that a savior was born and that they could find the baby in wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. The shepherds came and truly saw what was said by the angel, and went around telling people about the child and what was told of him, and the people were amazed.

……

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19

While Mary and Joseph headed back home after their celebration of Passover in Jerusalem, they didn’t know Jesus stayed behind, and only found him missing after three days. Jesus then said “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”. But his parents didn’t actually understand what he was saying.

……

Then he (Jesus) went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. – Luke 2:51

Initially I was wondering why did she have to ponder so many times; wasn’t it obvious what Jesus was doing and what was happening around her?

But what I didn’t realise was the absurdity everything must have seemed to her at that time. An angel coming out of nowhere telling her that she would get pregnant without intercourse, and that baby was going to be the King of Kings. The pressure that she would have to face at that time being an pregnant, unmarried woman. Whether or not Joseph would be willing to marry her now.

and then when Jesus was born, the shepherd came and told people about what the angels said, and all the people were amazed. that is a lot of unexpected attention from a delivery of a child in a manger. Mary, who probably didn’t know what was going on at that time, still “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

and then her son Jesus starts teaching in synagogues together with those familiar with the old laws. and Jesus said “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” That must have left Mary perplexed too.

But against all odds, she still had faith in God. despite not understanding what was going on, despite going through this whirlwind of apparent madness.

Which made me wondered. Even when I don’t understand, will I have the faith to press on and trust in Him?

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keloid or hypertrophic?

i’ve been ITCHING to write a blog post today for no special reason. having exams tomorrow but somehow i can’t fully concentrate on revision.

i watched two videos today struck a chord: one was a video of a DJ scolding a 16-year old girl on a HK radio station. the other was Lindsay Lohan’s interview on David letterman from youtube.

In the first one, the girl called in to talk about her recent breakup with her boyfriend whom she knew through the internet. they were together for 1.5 months, met up 3 times before they had sex on the 4th time they met. when asked by the DJ, she said this was not her first sexual encounter. her first was when she was 14 years old (with another boy). she is currently working as a waitress, although she claims to have good results in school but just wants to work. (?) she says now she is just glad that the relationship is over and she knows that she will meet someone better in the future. obviously she got reprimanded by the DJ (or else people listening would think that this societal trend is acceptable?!?!) for not loving herself and dumping her own future down the drain. The DJ asked her, “how do you picture yourself 15 years from now?” and she said she would most likely be a mother. Yes, she could be a mother, but probably one with many a burden to carry. being a single parent. contracting HIV. working as a prostitute. marrying an abusive guy. etc etc etc.

and the sad thing was, by the end of the conversation, you could tell that she did not understand the DJ’s point at all. she was still blinded. literally. by what she thought she was pursuing – true love? or that having sex at a young age would mean she was very desirable? was her life’s ultimate goal was to gain instant gratification of the flesh, live life in its moment and satisfy sex-hungry men?

Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law. ~Psalm 119: 18

i have no idea if she will continue living in her own world or one day she will wake up to find how she wasted her life. and then it will be another round of heartbreak for her. like how Adam and Eve found that they were naked in the Garden of Eden after eating the forbidden fruit. and she may end up broken/unable to believe in true love/learning to manipulate people for her own purpose.

the second video was a pretty harsh and degrading interview of Lindsay Lohan. David Letterman repeatedly mentioned and drilled her about her upcoming sessions at the drug rehabilitation centre. i don’t usually follow celebrity news so i have no idea what happened to her prior to that. but just from the looks on her face when the host probed her on her past, she seemed angry, helpless yet defensive of her current situation and she was trying to put her past behind her. she was a very, very broken young lady. (and yet in Tinseltown, celebrities just get poked and pried for every single mistake they commit. but to some extent it should be expected la)

The difference in the two would probably be that the first was not aware of her own mistakes, while the second was trying to change but being put under a lot of pressure at the same time. and regardless of the differences, both of them share a brokenness that people experience some point in their lives.

broken by a breach of trust. an irresponsible act. an indulgent mistake. unintentionally hurtful comments. sin in its various forms. people hurt us. we hurt ourselves. we use the past to hurt ourselves and others.

i have scars of my own too. they come back to haunt me sometimes and sometimes the brokenness leads me to think that pure faith, hope and love is sometimes so intangible and so out of reach.

But God often reminds me.

“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.
~Ezekiel 36: 33-36

God restores. He heals.

Amazing Grace – John Newton

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.