Sunday, October 3, 2010

Two sad news I read today: Mrs Lee Kuan Yew died. And a Miss Mingwei from Singapore also died. Both died in different ways. One had a long faithful life, living to a ripe old age, and her demise was expected due to her strokes. The other's life was so young - nipped in the bid before she could even reach 21. A gruesome death - hit-and-run is a polite term; hit-and-drag is more like it.

Just sad for both of them. And I pause to think of the other Singaporeans who also died today. Perhaps they died tragically, and we grieved for what could have been of their lives. Perhaps they lived to a ripe old age, acknowledged with a soft sigh. Let's remember them too.

But I think we do naturally grieve over these two extraordinary people. I think it's also not just the horrible way in which the young lady died, but also the brightness of the tender candle in the wind. Some candles burn brighter than others, and we would miss them more so. The other, we sigh with Mr Lee, because we feel together with him - no longer as a stern authoritarian leader, but because we saw his tender side - and a side that any other married man can understand - seeing your loved one slowly fade away into the bitter night.

Then I pause to think of beggars who die lonely deaths in hospitals, unknown and unclaimed. I remember Lazarus the beggar. Forgotten by all... Except the angels. He had no one on earth to carry his body, so the angels carried him to the arms of Father Abraham in heaven. Six mighty angels as pallbearers. An angelic procession outmatching any state funeral, for this forgotten, disease-wrecked beggar. The Forgotten Ones. But their Maker has not forgotten them, even in death.

You and I may die forgotten - perhaps in a cold prison cell, or on a battlefield, or as a shipwreck victim or buried in a landslide, or in a mass grave, or out of starvation or drought, or as an innocent bystander who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or at the hands of evil men, or wild beasts, or even in a mushroom cloud. Or you might die in a tower collapse, or in a storm or disease or act of nature. Or you may die peacefully in old age, surrounded by family and friends.

Who knows? But He who sees your bodies fall forgotten like the sparrows and mynahs on the grass remembers you. And if He remembers you, then He will bring you to be with him in paradise.

It doesn't matter how we die. But it matters how we lived before we died. How have you lived your life, no matter how lowly? Dorcas the seamstress, a first-century Christian, died, and all the poor people she had sewed clothes for wept over her. Remembered by those whom she loved and served.

But what if you have wasted your life? Dissipated, broken, helpless, hopeless? Condemned on death row? One condemned criminal - whose name has since been lost to the ages - said this to a certain condemned man, whom he certainly knew to be innocent: "Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom."

And the Bible records him as the first one to be in heaven with Jesus that day.

Remember, no matter how forgotten you are, and no matter how you die, that He who remembers every bird that dies and every star's death in the sky will not forget you too. And if you remember to ask Him to remember you... He will remember you when He comes to take His people home to be with Him.

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