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7 June 2020 (Pastoral Page) FACE-TO-FACE RELATIONSHIPS

By Deacon Samuel Chan

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk to you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” 2 John v.12

Owing to the circuit breaker enforcement, we are not allowed to meet other people except our family members in the same household; the government has also encouraged all of us to stay at home as much as possible. Even for me, when I can just read books with a cup of tea for a whole afternoon, I feel that it is not easy to continue like that. I realised what I have been missing is the “real” relationships with other people.

Although we still can meet our CARE Group members via Zoom to share, laugh and talk, I find it cannot replace the face-to-face meeting with one another. We cannot shake each other’s hands; we cannot have a meal together and we miss the physical relationships that really matter to us. I think that is why John said that he had much to write to them, but he did not want to use paper and ink. He wanted to visit them and talked to them face-to-face.

During this period, the staff at my workplace, an elderly day care organisation, tried to call the elderly who are forced to stay home and cannot attend our day care centres. When they heard our staff’s voices, they were very happy but at the same time, they also wanted to know when they could return to the centre. We have one dementia client who, when she heard the voice of our staff on the phone, asked her daughter where our staff is and tried to look for the person in her house. The client only realised that she has been talking to the staff on the phone when the video call is turned on. That is one of the reasons why face-to-face relationships matter to all of us.

It also reminds me that face-to-face relationships are so important to us, especially with those we loved and we all afraid to lose it. Therefore, we should treasure the face-to-face relationship with God as this is the most important relationship in our life. The most horrible judgement at the end of the day is not about the fire in hell but is having no more relationship with God. That is why Jesus Christ cried out on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. This is the most painful feeling He has experienced than all His physical pain.

Our relationship with God cannot be affected by the circuit breaker period or by any means of laws or environment. It is really dependent on how we treasure this relationship with God and how we spend our time with God. I think most of us have experienced more time to spend with our family and to do or to learn new things. But the basic question is how has our relationship with God been. Did we spend more time with Him? Did we really share all our fears and worries with Him? Did we learn how to listen to His words and trust Him? Are we ready to be a source of comfort or a witness of God when we go back to our normal routine when people ask for help with their fears and insecurities?

I think as some of us are still forced to work from home or still have more time at home, it is now the time for us to rebuild the close relationship with God. It is not about how much time we spend to study His word but is about how we treasure the time with Him and trust in Him. We need to be filled by His love before we can love one another.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.“ 1 Peter 3:15

Let us be prepared and treasure the relationship with God and let the Holy Spirit fill us with God’s word and Christ’s love so that we are ready to serve the people around us.

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