Today marks our annual Thanksgiving Chapel. Bishop Julius Paul of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia was our guest speaker. Being one of the pioneers who is instrumental in securing the land on which the seminary presently stands, Bishop Julius has much to say to remind us of the history of the seminary and how we ought to be thankful for what we have today.
The land on which the seminary presently stands originally belonged to the Society of Infant Jesus of the Catholic Church. Being deeply aware of the great need of STM in securing a permanent place for it campus back in the 1990s, and being thoroughly committed to theological education, the Catholic church decided to offer the land to STM to build its permanent campus, although the Jesuits were also eyeing the property at the same time.
This is where we have much to learn from the Catholic church. The church could have been inward looking by offering the land to their own community, the Jesuits. But instead, the church recognised the importance of theological education and the role STM would play in equipping God's people for ministry not only in Malaysia but beyond. As a result of this commitment of the Catholic Church, STM becomes the pround owner of a plot of land measuring more than 5 acres located on high grounds in the suburbs of the city of Seremban.
The Catholic church is to be applauded for being so selfless and having such a kingdomic perspective. Her generosity in going beyond the denomination boundaries and theological differences is not only one that is to be modelled but also one that makes the protestant church blushed.
The protestant church has much to learn from the Catholic church - we are good in paying lips service to the unity of the body of Christ and yet we are the very ones causing divisions - just see how many churches have split over the years resulting in the mushrooming of independent churches in Malaysia; we are good in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and yet we often fail to live out the values of the very gospel we are preaching - that makes us to be a mockery of ourselves in the eyes of the unbelieving world; we are good in promoting kingdom values but yet we are inward looking and have often failed to extend our generosity to others in the body of Christ, particularly in the sharing and giving of our resources.
Today's Thanksgiving Chapel reminds us of how much we could learn from the Catholic Church and her deep commitment to theological education.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.