Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sweet aroma

"Pastor, do you like coffee? Can I make you a cup of coffee?" Veronika came into my office with a broad smile that could melt the Arctic glacier. "This is Hainanese Coffee, very good coffee." Veron talked very fast before I could respond to her. "Pastor, give me your cup. Let me serve you." Talk about God-moment. I felt respected, honored and loved by a member of the church. I sensed God's presence. I bowed my head and gave thanks to God for Veron. It was a little act of kindness. Veron serves quietly in the youth ministry. She is also a pastor's daughter like Sarah. She must have seen servanthood in her father's life.

When I sipped the coffee, it really tasted better than 'Blue Mountain' from Jamaica. My tiredness vanished and I felt rejuvenated. Was it the effect of coffee or the feeling of being respected?

I was actually in the midst of going through my sermon script.

The sermon is about an unnamed woman gatecrashing into Simon's house party, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume for Jesus. She wanted to show her gratitude and love for Jesus. She stood behind Jesus and suddenly she was overwhelmed by a strong emotion. She began to weep and her tears began to wet Jesus' feet. She wiped Jesus' feet with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. It was really an outrageous act, something quite out of character in that culture. Who would kiss a man's feet? She couldn't be bothered by what people thought of her. She just wanted to show her love and gratitude to Jesus. That was all that matter. But her action was sneered by a Pharisee. Jesus then told a story of a moneylender who cancelled the debts of two debtors. One owed 1.5 years wages while the other 1.5 months wages. Both of their debts were cancelled. "Which of them would be more grateful?" Obviously the one who had the bigger debt cancelled.

Jesus drove home the point. The one who had been forgiven much loves the most deeply. Because the woman's sins though many and ghastly were forgiven, therefore she showed deep gratitude and love.

Veron came into my office was a good interruption. Her gesture of kindness might simply be that of showing her thankfulness to Jesus who has loved her dearly. It's her way of showing gratitude to Jesus.

Veron offered to wash my mug, served me the best coffee and wished me a good day and left my office quietly so that I could get on with my sermon. That afternoon, my room was filled with the strong aroma of sweetness. It was a sweet fragrance to Christ.


Tracy Tan said...

hi Pastor :) glad you had a pick me up in the form of Veron and coffee!

and tks for this concise sermon.

~ Jules ~ said...

Dear Uncle Fong Yang,

Thank you for the sermon this weekend. Somehow not having to scramble to jot down the powerpoint notes allowed me to listen - to really listen - to every word. In fact it allowed me to jot the observations and insights I had throughout the sermon.

For some reason I found that I was putting myself in the shoes of every character in that story: the Pharisee whose party was gatecrashed, the onlookers, the woman, the author Luke.

One thing that struck me was this: When Christ told the woman to go in peace, her hair must have still had the fragrance of that perfume with which she washed Jesus' feet. I tihnk the lingering fragrance would forever remind her of her encounter with Jesus, His loving gaze, and amazing grace.

Wong Fong Yang said...

Hi Julia,
I never thought about the lingering fragrance of the perfume. You are right that the lingering perfume would forever remind the woman of her encounter with Christ.

I am glad that you listened to God's word attentively and engagingly.

Pastor Wong

Alex Tang said...

hi Fong Yang,

hainanese coffee, jamaican blue mountain coffee, do I detect a coffee connoisseur here? *smile*

Looking forward to fellowship over coffee with you one day.

Wong Fong Yang said...

Hi Alex,
My daughter Sarah enthused me about blogging. I am novice in blogsphere. You are a veteran. Please drop in to have a cup of coffee and fellowship when you are in Subang Jaya.

Fong Yang