By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Apr 14: Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia calls for devotees to determinedly stay on course in a common stand with the authorities who are doing their best in gaining the upper hand over this pandemic by continuing to comply with the required laws and instructions.
“Even as the prime minister has announced that the MCO (Movement Control Order) is extended till 28 April, we can thank the Lord that on this 27th day of the MCO, there have been encouraging positive results,” said Rev Dr Ong Hwai Teik.
He also commended and called for devotees to pray for the protection for all who are care and service providers, such as the medical professionals, the law enforcement agencies, the NGOs and others in the front-line of dealing with this fatal menace.
“We give thanks to Almighty God for enabling us and our nation to weather the Covid-19 storm, even though we are not out of it yet. On Easter our great assurance is that the risen Christ controls the sudden ‘beyond human control forces’. He commanded furious ‘out of control’ maritime forces to be ‘Be still’ in Mark 4:39,” he said in a statement issued today.
He added that the challenge of an unprecedented pandemic which has claimed more than 120,000 lives and infected over 1.9 million people may show the deficiency of the faith.
“But that does not alter the unchanging and unchallengeable authority of the risen Christ over sin, death, demons and sickness – virus not excluded.
Rev Ong also hoped that Malaysians will steadfastly continue to join in humbling themselves in seeking the face of God.
“Let us continue to ‘seek first His kingdom and righteousness’ (Matthew 6:33) and ‘let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16) – wherever you are, and however you are doing it,” he said.
Rev Ong also recorded his gratefulness for the diligent efforts and innovative ways of the Methodist’s pastors, church leaders and church staff who have laboured to make available various digital and electronic Worship Services and spiritual resources/aids to their church constituency.
“As the saying goes, ‘Home is the best place you could be’. Let us take up the challenge and opportunity to truly ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12) in this very central place. We make it a place where the Gospel call of prayer, faith, love, serving and peace abound.
“We also remember to pray for the wider church family as we walk in unity and support – sustaining one another in every way possible in spite of the ‘new normal’. The adage – ‘Prayer can go where I cannot go. Through prayers I can be with you’ is aptly to be practiced in this ‘socially distanced, spiritually close’ season. Apart from social distancing, we all need to also observe healthy ‘digital distancing’ during this time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rev Ong assured his church members that in terms of the regular administration, they would continue to comply with the MCO requirements in terms of social distancing.
“We shall remain united and resolute as the Body of Christ, to continue to observe the principle of ‘accountability in unity and appropriate consultation’ at all levels (Local, District, Annual Conference and GC) in making decisions,” he said.
Rev Ong stressed that mechanisms to implement the necessary protocols/methods of decision making may be digital or electronic in form.
“Due attention shall be given to the financial, resource area, pastoral care and the fundamental components of worship, instruction, fellowship, staying connected and outreach and service (social service and evangelism) – which are normal and expected of the Body of Christ.
“In the sovereign and victorious risen Christ – we steadfastly pray for the best, unwaveringly prepare for the worst, and proactively respond to whatever comes. He continues to work through the most unlikely and unfavourable circumstances,” added Rev Ong.—DayakDaily