A Very Special Easter


I’m a terrible Christian. My church attendance for a long time now has been reduced to only during Christmas. No amount of nagging by my parents worked to sit my ass in church on Sundays. I don’t quite see the need to go to church for sermons when the internet has made Bible study so much more accessible. Plus there’s no lack of books, videos and audio recordings of anything Christian, or anti-Christ.

With the self-study of the Bible made easy, the attraction of church is then the prospect of fellowship. From my previous participation in Christian congregations and cell groups, I encounter the un-Christian side of fellow God lovers more often than I felt that divine order of love flowing through their actions. My soul finds no consolation in Christian fellowship. And so, like the devil who cannot touch holy ground, I’ve not stepped foot in a church for quite a while.

But this Easter, since my family and I are vacationing in Spain, I thought it would be so very memorable if we spent this day that Our Lord has risen at a church. So I planned a visit to the beautiful Montserrat on Easter Sunday (24 Apr 2011) and it turned out to be a very special time for us as a family. We were a long way from home. Yet home is where the three of us are together. That’s all the fellowship I need. They are my church.


I’ll talk more about the mountain monastery of Montserrat in a blog post later but I wanted to remember this special Easter first. To some extent, it was a somewhat spiritual journey for me and an affirmation of my faith. Maybe God brought me here for a reason.

Part of the reason that the church repels me, I think, is because my faith is built on sandy grounds. I’m constantly fighting to believe… always questioning the existence of God, seeking proof of Jesus’ divinity, and perpetually asking for a revelation. For God to reveal Himself to me. I’m no big shot that I can demand God to show Himself, but I needed something of logical surety, not blind faith.


However, this Easter, on Montserrat, I had a revelation. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been fighting to believe. But instead of fighting it, doubting God, I realized that I should just start believing. When I started to believe and surrendered myself to faith, I suddenly felt I had access and was able to tap into the power that faith provides.

Here’s what happened that led to this realization about resistance… I’m wasting precious time in enjoying the things that could’ve been when one starts believing. During our visit to Montserrat, I climbed a difficult flight of steps chiseled into the mountain to reach a site where the early monks resided. The site is in the middle of a boulder that overlooks a scenery of breathtaking mountainous terrain.

The sight was majestic. Problem was, the only thing that kept people from falling off the cliff was just a wooden beam. I’ve never known myself to suffer from aerophobia but my legs were starting to turn into jelly and I felt I could never make it back down. The air was cold and thin, I was panting from the treacherous climb. My heart started to beat wildly and I could feel the frost of panic starting to spread throughout my body. I was paralysed by fear.

Out of desperation, I prayed. I asked God to give me strength and to drive the fear away. I didn’t want to lose face by being a grown man wailing in the middle of the mountain because I was too scared to move forward or turn back. As soon as I finished my split-second prayer, I felt the shroud of panic depart from me. It was just gone. And I completed my exploration free from the fear of height.


I know there could be a thousand psycho and bio-chemical explanations for what happened but I’m done with applying science and logic. I believe God is watching over me. Just as out of nowhere, He sent me two lovely angels from Belgium who gave me two chocolate Easter eggs.

I was taking photos of the long queue line to see the black Madonna and baby Jesus within the Montserrat basilica and this elderly couple was in it with their daughter and son-in-law. They did a spontaneous pose for my photo which I realized only on reviewing the shot after it was taken. So I looked up from my screen and thanked them for adding an element of fun to the photo. And we just sort of took a shining to each other.

We talked about the countries we’re from, about Spain and other banters, and the old lady gave me the two choc eggs. The photo above was taken in a small sanctuary behind the black statue of Madonna with child. After that, we went our separate ways but the old lady must’ve realized that I was there with my parents and there were three of us (when they saw me, I was alone as I was taking photos and my parents were ahead of me in the queue).


The next time we bumped into each other again at an area filled with prayer candles, she gave me a third egg. She told me that was her last one. How very sweet! She must’ve been saving the last one for herself but gave it to us instead. It’s a very small gesture from a stranger, but it added a touch of magic to this already unusual Easter for my parents and I.

We are indeed so very blessed!

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Walter
    Apr 30, 2011 @ 07:09:27

    Glad to hear that you found God again at a beautiful place far away from home with your beloved parents. Like you, I’m not a regular church goer for a multitude of reasons, but this Easter, I just felt the need to go back to attend an Easter service at my mum’s church. There was a reason for that too as my life has been overtaken by stress, health issues and burdens. It was refreshing to sing praises to the Lord and to renew my relationship with Him.

    May God continue to bless you and your family, and that you will find peace in your heart. I for one truly believe in the power of prayer as I’ve experienced it so many times before.

    Reply

    • Darren Ng
      May 01, 2011 @ 00:24:54

      hey walter… thanks for sharing ur experiences with me. i hope stress, ill health and the ties that are binding you will be unloaded in ur songs to Him. i do find singing worship songs to be very therapeutic too. may we continue to walk closer to God for i believe when we lose touch with Him, we tend to let the world get us down. u take care ya… i’ll say a prayer for u 🙂

      Reply

  2. Scot
    Apr 30, 2011 @ 10:29:49

    You repeated two paragraphs–nonetheless, believing does open your heart/soul/brain to seeing information differently.
    As usual, stunning photographs!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Scot

    Reply

    • Darren Ng
      May 01, 2011 @ 00:18:57

      thanks for reading scot! i know i repeated 2 paras but logging onto the internet onboard a cruise is really expensive. USD35 for 1 hour! i’ve just fixed it now that i’m back on land in barcelona. i guess when we open our hearts, things can start filling in… 🙂

      Reply

  3. jassy
    Apr 30, 2011 @ 15:19:36

    so happy for you…God is kind…if you seek God, He will reveal himself to you. He wants to be with you now and FOREVER 🙂

    Reply

    • Darren Ng
      May 01, 2011 @ 00:16:47

      yeah, the relationship with God is an ongoing journey. some days i feel lost, others i get little messages from Him. hopefully my faith continues to grow and move forward :o)

      Reply

  4. Jeffrey Bingham Mead
    May 03, 2011 @ 06:16:35

    Darren, yesterday was the second Sunday of Eastertide and I shared your thoughts above with my senior minister and others. He said, “Good reflections!” And I agree, they certainly are. I’ll let you know if your thoughts are referenced in one of the upcoming sermons or meditations.

    Reply

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