A PASTORAL LETTER
POST THE 13TH GENERAL ELCTION (GE 13)
Dear brothers and sisters in the Methodist family
I thank the Lord for all in our Methodist Family who have contributed in various ways in seeking the Lord for the GE 13 of our beloved nation. We are especially thankful for those of our churches that have organised prayer meetings as well as helpful forums either for their own congregations or as a combined church/ group effort. We also appreciate those who have taken every effort to be trained to play official roles in the polling stations. It is indeed most commendable that we in the Methodist Family take the process, duty and responsibility of casting our votes very seriously.
Notwithstanding the outcome of the just concluded GE 13 held on 5 May 2013, we as a community of God continue to seek the Lord for transformation of this land – which is a process that takes time, not a quick overnight “one of” event. Hitherto we do give thanks to the Sovereign God of the universe and history, for we have experienced and witnessed the growing unity, prayer, clarity of vision and voice of response in the Church of Malaysia in the build up to the GE 13. We also thank the Lord for the increased public and media space for the bringing up of matters that are of national political, economic, religious and social relevance that affect all Malaysians. Of course there is still plenty of room for improvement and breaking of new grounds in all these areas and more.
In the wake of expectations unmet for many, let us next, all the more take time to solemnly ask the Lord what He is further saying to us through this recent outcome of the GE13. This includes studying sound, fair and objectively wise analyses concerning the GE 13 outcome, rejecting the ones that come from wounded reactions that would only deepen our social fractures and alienation. Of course we do this with an accompanying serious undertaking to the Sovereign Lord - that we are committed to continuing to seek Him for His “unfinished business” of transformation for this our beloved land.
We are determined that our contributions as being awakened “salt and light” in this nation do not lose momentum but continue with greater impetus – whatever our personal feelings post the GE 13. We in the Methodist Church in Malaysia are resolute in our pursuit of – Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming the Nation.
In this light, may we faith-fully affirm:
· Circumstances may change and expectations may be dashed – but our Sovereign God, Who is the Alpha and Omega does not change. He remains omnipotently in control and immutably merciful – “ His mercies never come to an end “ (Lam 3:22);
· “The church lies at the very heart of God's eternal purpose”, says John Stott, which is a revealed truth in Scripture. This key eternal purpose of God calls for the Church to be Christ’s ambassadors and redemptive agents in which God is making His appeal of “reconciling the world to Himself in Christ” (2 Cor 5: 18-20);
· We the Church of the Lord will then continue to be advocates of reconciliation and healing grounded in truth and love - addressing all the different foundational fractures and deep-seated “alienation” in our land, be this ethnically, socially, religiously, economically and politically;
· We the Church of the Lord will also continue to do our very best to fulfil our call to be “salt and light” in this nation. At this time this means, amongst other paramount issues: to uphold the law and Constitution of this country, to proactively support good governance by the separation of the powers of the Judiciary, Parliament and Executive arms of government, to jealously guard the democratic freedoms enshrined in our Constitution notably religious freedom, and to vigilantly find ways of addressing key evils such as corruption, racism, and fraudulent practices committed by any party that decimates this beloved country of ours.
May I just share that in my prayer and reflection over the GE 13, I am reminded of the Luke 24 account of Cleopas and his companion who were over taken and absorbed with “the things that have taken place there (Jerusalem) in these days” (Luke 24: 18). Scripture also stated “that their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (v 16).Let us at this time not be so absorbed and overtaken with “things that have just taken place” (without denying their due importance) in Malaysia that we miss “recognising” the sovereign risen Lord in the journey of this land – which is still on-going and unfinished.
Let us instead remember that the One Who declared, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit” (Zechariah 4: 6) had also said, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin….” ( NLT Zechariah 4:10).
Let us unwaveringly soldier on in seeking the welfare and blessing of this our beloved nation in the name of the Christ Who is “the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”.
Sincerely in Christ our Lord
Bishop Ong Hwai Teik