Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Sivin Kit on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Sivin’s local city newspaper is The Sun of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia . Here is Sivin Kit on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS
There has been a lot of bad news in Malaysia for quite a while. Perhaps more will come. The fabric of Malaysian society in public and in private are faced with forces pulling people apart and pulling people down, crushing dreams and aspirations, and sowing seeds of distrust or destruction.

We are moving into the 6th By-election in the coming month after a roller coaster ride in Malaysian politics since the last 12th General Elections March 8, 2008. Corruption, power play, law suits, racial religious sentiments played up, political coups and turmoil occupy our newspaper every day until I have concluded subscribing to cable TV is a waste of money when reading the front page has more twists and turns.

We have had a new prime minister sworn in during April 2009. But we don’t know whether it means we are geared to a better future. That is front page news.

Out of the sight of the public eye, there battles with cancer, struggles with credit card debt, shaky marriages, children at risk, no job security, refugees on the run, the list goes on and on. Life must go on, somehow. Of course, there are those who will say it is not that bad. Maybe, but we have to tell it as it is. In all honesty, we all know it is not that good either. Let’s agree it is a mixed bag of news for now.

So, What is the Good News for our city? What is the Good News for the people living in Malaysia?

The story is not over yet.

As a Christ-follower, I do not want to and cannot slip into hopelessness, numbness or worst cynicism. On Easter Sunday, I heard the good news again – in the form of a personal reflection after meditating on the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to a young church found in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).

“Everything can change, will change, or more precisely has changed because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every change we desire, or better God desires for the good of the world and all people works through us not out of obligation but from an overflow of the grace of God in us, and working out through obedience and an ongoing re-orientation to the reality of our Living Lord.”

It is good news when after I sat and listened to my new Buddhist monk friend share about how and why she became one, the parting words were, “How did you become a pastor?” We will continue this conversation again as we work together to share strategies on Religion and Society for common good in a project directed to the government and the public.

It is good news when more than a few Muslim friends who are unhappy with the way Islam is used for political mileage in our country, have begun to sit down and work things through with respect in small steps. It begins as simple as an email exchange on a controversial topic on the use of the word “Allah” to translate “God” in the national language Bahasa Malaysia which we have done for ages.

It is good news when two car loads of people could sit with new friends who ran away from their home country and have been stuck here for the past 5 years weaving palm crosses celebrating Christ and God who has not abandoned them. There was no short term possibility yet, mere presence of people who cared enough to be there was sufficient for now.

It is good news when the life story, convictions and dreams of my 23 year old friend and fellow Christ-follower, Markus impacted almost every sphere of society that is fragmented by race, religion, national identity, economic standing, and politics. He died in his sleep on February 4, 2009.

Yes, even death cannot stop this change where glimpses of the kind of world God is dreaming of is caught by those who stop and take notice. A fresh look at Christ’s resurrection invites us to stop and take notice of the influence and ongoing impact of this person Jesus Christ – his life, his death and most of all his resurrection, who’s story is not frozen in the past but continues in the present.

There’s something good in this story of Jesus. The good news is there is something good which can and will happen here and now even in the midst of a world full of bad news, death and destruction. God is not finished with us yet. I think the good Archbishop of Canterbury says it quite well:

“Resurrection has started. How do we know? Not by working it out and adopting it as well-founded opinion, not by deciding that this idea suits us, not by getting all the arguments straight, but because we are dimly aware of something having changed around us.”

Sivin is the Husband of one wife May Chin, and Father of three children Gareth (7), Elysia (4) and Ewan (1). He’s the pastor of Bangsar Lutheran Church, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which was resurrected in 2000. He finds some time to be involved with Friends in Conversation and The Micah Mandate.  He is wondering whether he will ever finish his part-time Masters of Theology with The South East Asia Graduate School of Theology. Finally, He is addicted to Potato Chips and blogging at his garden. He needs prayer is all areas :-)


9 Responses to Sivin Kit on The Good News

  1. Yew Khuen says:

    Beautifully written, Sivin. It’s truly a posture of faith to see the good news in our midst today, when there are so many things to be cynical about. I desire such faith – Lord help my unbelief!

  2. Thank you for sharing your Malaisian environment of bad news, I could sympathize in many ways with what happens in our brazilian political, social and economical environment. Thank you for sharing how you’ve been the good news of God in your place, God is working.

  3. Jason says:

    Sivin,

    This is an extremely well crafted piece. I adore the w ay you fleshed out the good news with practical examples from your life and context. I especially liked this line, which for me represented a fulcrum point summary of the whole piece:

    “The story is not over yet.”

    Well done sir.

  4. jrwoodward says:

    Sivin,

    Thank you for allowing us to hear the good news in your context. It broadens my perspective in how God is at work. Hearing your personal stories and seeing how the life, death and resurrection of Christ is making a difference encourages me deeply. I love the line when you are talking about Jesus and you say, “whose story is not frozen in the past but continues in the present.” You two quotes were rich as well. Thanks for sharing. Shalom.

  5. Sivin Kit says:

    JR – Thanks for the chance to do this. It made me reflect deeper on some of the experiences lately in the light of our wider context and most importantly relating everything back to the “Good News”. I will be reposting this on The Micah Mandate and see what are some responses from Fellow Malaysians :-) Of course, my good friend Yew Khuen chipped in here!

    Jason – It’s amazing how HIS story can include with grace and purpose (and not dominate in a totalitarian way) all our unfinished stories in every locality. After visiting your site, I’m so encouraged by what you are doing over there!

    Luis – I wish to visit Brazil one day. I remember fondly my interaction with a fellow Lutheran Pastor from Brazil at a summer school in Germany some years ago. During the summer school, I recall how easy we could relate to each other’s context and common struggles even though a lot of the specifics were different.

    Yew Khuen – thanks for being the 1st Malaysian to leave a comment here :-) We still have lots to do. One step at a time . . .

  6. Benjamin says:

    Hi Sivin,

    Great post! Our newspaper is The Sun, huh? Couldn’t agree more.

    I would like to add that there is encouraging news from the environmental circle as well. Not the environmentalism that makes the front pages or which gets a thousand people congregated at day-long or week-long festivals. Not the popular environmentalism. But in places tucked away from the view of the world at large, there are pockets of biologists and citizen scientists who are doing their part to ensure that the Malaysians of year 2100 A.D. have something to tell and show their children.

    To me, this is a form of resurrection: where we were once dead to the cries of the creation, we are now beginning to listen and respond. Still, there is a long way to go, and there isn’t much time left, looking at the way civilisation is progressing–or regressing!

  7. brad says:

    It is always good to hear that although there are shadows in all places, the Kingdom still goes forward to shed light into the darkness. Thanks for sharing some hopeful points of light in Malaysia …

  8. Pingback: Good News For The City: Kuala Lumpur | The Micah Mandate : Mandat Mikha

  9. Sivin Kit says:

    Brad – Thanks for the encouragement. I liked what you wrote on Susan Boyle, I wonder whether My friend Jason Clark might tap on that for his post for UK :-)

    Benjamin – Good point on the environment.

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