Wednesday, September 21, 2011

TBC one year on – successes and failures?

We just celebrated the first anniversary of our Togetherness in Building a caring (TBC) Community of Butterworth. The TBC as we know took its roots from the Taman Senangan BEC,after the latter was forcefully divided by the new Parish Priest Fr.Victor Louis in June 2010 with the help of some members of the BEC.

I for one was dragged into the problem as I saw what the PP and some members did was uncalled for and unjust move on their part. Since our exclusion from the BEC, we decided to go ahead with the formation of our group to prove to the PP that we are indeed a legitimate group that should be recognized as the new BEC.As the PP was not prepared to listen to us or recognize us as the legitimate BEC we decided to call ourselves the TBC, which the PP was quick to declare as an illegal group. It was shocking that he considered not just the group as illegal but even the prayers that we offered were regarded as illegal.

The way forward for us and our TBC

After much prayer and reflection we decided to continue our struggle for justice for us and our BEC in a peaceful way without anger and hate. We should continue to strongly oppose our BEC to be spilt in the manner it was done, high-handedly without consultation whatsoever. We should continue with our pressure until the PP and the leader realize their folly in dividing the BEC. We may not succeed now but I feel we must try and leave the rest to God as the truth will finally prevail.

Our struggle to build a united God’s Kingdom consisted of three aspects as follows: 
1. Prayer – asking for almighty guidance to rebuild our new group,TBC
2. Fellowship – strengthen the bonds of love among one another.
3. Charity – reaching out to those in need in our midst
We decided to continue doing what God wants of us with great love and commitment, without anger or hatred towards those who dissent, disagree with us or even hurt us. We hoped by our example we will make them realize the value of being together with us as one happy family. We placed our trust in God that He will deliver us out of this mess amicably and take us to greater heights.

Where are we one year later? 

Where are we after one year since the formation of the TBC? What have we achieved? Have we succeeded in our aims or have we failed? Do we regret choosing the path of departing from BEC recognized by the PP? Where do we go from here now that the PP continues to neglect us? These are the questions that should run through our minds on this first anniversary.
The two great Commandments
Christ’s teachings are very simple – Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with your entire mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).These were His two great Commandments which override all others before Him.
It is of utmost importance that we really understand these tow commandments in order to do the right things that Jesus wants of us.Fig.1 illustrate the relationship between the two commandments. We show our love for God by the various physical means of worship and our love for our neighbour by acts of charity and fellowship forged among ourselves in our TBC.                                                      

In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37) Jesus clearly tells us who our neighbor is. He further elaborated what he meant by ‘love your neighbor’ in his Sermon on the Mount, particularly in the Beatitudes (Mathew 5).
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Worshiping God encompasses not just the many rituals that we perform but by our acts of charity, forgiveness and humility towards our neighbour.

His words “I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”.(Mathew 25:40) clearly tells us that unless we love to our neighbor there is no way we can love God Himself. It is through our neighbor that we can reach Him. This is the greatest commandment that Jesus had given us which we often do not take it seriously. We do all sorts of things to reach Him and go all over the world to search for Him but forget that He is in the people around us and it is through our love for them can we reach Him.

Jesus commands us to reach out to others

With these words of Jesus it is very clear what we should do as His followers in the TBC – we should reach out to those in our midst as it in them resides Jesus. Are we doing that? In this respect we in the TBC had initiated many activities to build the love among ourselves. We had succeeded to forge the closeness among us, ridding of the suspicion and jealousy from our hearts. We were like strangers when we started 1 year ago but today we have become like members of a big family. This is indeed a great achievement for us that were made possible by the splitting of the BEC. We all know that God works in mysterious ways but did we realize He did so by splitting our BEC despite vehement protests from us.
With these commandments in mind, it may be time to search our conscience to see whether we are indeed in the right path as Christians and TBC members. We may have many great fellowships, outings and other such activities but are we in the path that of Jesus? Did we see Him in the fellow members of our TBC, the old folks we visited in Ai Xiang Home, the orphans of Shan Children’s Home and the sick June Chin for whom we prayed? If we have then we can be proud that we have succeeded but if we did not see Jesus in these people who came into our lives, then we would have failed in our mission and it is time that we try harder to succeed in the coming year.

Our charitable acts of visiting the sick like June Chin, the Ai Xiang old folk’s home and lending support to the children from Shan Children’s Home are all commendable. However as far as I am concerned, I  must admit that my enthusiasm for such acts of love for others was must less as compared to that I placed in the various fellowships and outings that we organized for ourselves. I feel I should strive for greater spirited commitment into helping the more unfortunate people around me in the coming year.

Results of survey done on TBC

A total of 22 people returned the answers to the 3 questions posed to the members at the recent TBC anniversary dinner. The results are as follows.

1.TBC to continue? 21 said yes,1 abstained
2.If yes,suggest 3 ways to move forward.
a.Family outing and fellowship
b.Community prayer,payer for those in need
c.Charitable deeds,visit old folks,works of mercy for those in need,visiting those I need

Others :
Everyone should take part
Team building
Fund raising including to help those need for education
Field trips
More health walks, games,Bowling,camping,
Visiting church members
Register officially,open an office
Encourage more to join
Discuss current issues,politics,educate about truth and justice
Bible study
Get together more often and do projects

3.i. Any other comments for improvement – Doing fine,continue,no comments
ii. Is the TBC doing it correctly in building God’s Kingdom among us?
      All said yes,yes,yes

Hope more will join,more talents
Do more charity
Be proud of what we are doing
Meet up with BECs in our area to offer hand of friendship but we stay together
Minimise expenses

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