It has been almost a week already since I am back in my seminary office after returning from my 4-week research and writing break at Trinity Theological College, Singapore. While in Singapore, I was working on my second book in which I explored Paul's use of images in the Corinthian correspondence. The major thesis of this book is that Paul carefully and deliberately selects familiar images such as temple, building, athlete, body, etc, in his epistles to build up this community that he calls the ekklesia that is transformed by the power of the gospel, and how the same could also be said for the ekklesia in the 21st century, that we too could be the alternative assembly (to borrow the language of Horsley) for our community.
While working on this book, I was reminded that this was never intended to be a lonely journey. Neither was my attempt to look at how Paul hopes to build up the community in Corinth to be carried out by locking myself in the library all the time. I was very glad that I had the opportunity to do research and reflection within the context of community in Singapore.
I am very thankful to have met so many people in Singapore - both old friends and newly made friends. Tony Siew welcome me to Singapore by taking me out for dinner on my first day of arrival, and we had opportunity to catch up over several meals throughout the period I was in Singapore. Joshua took me out for meals, coffee and also book shopping. Soo Inn invited me, together with Vinoth Ramachandra and his lovely wife Karin, to his home for a very delicious home-cooked dinner. I also had the opportunity to have coffee with Kenny and two other friends. King, my contemporary from my undergraduate days who is now an Anglican priest at Marine Parade Christian Centre, and I had several meals together. Vincent, a new friend also made me felt at home in Singapore. It was also great meeting Alex and his family for dinner (and I am reminded that Agnes, Alex's lovely wife, is still having some problems in balancing the bill for treating my injured ankle sustained during our Greece trip in May this year). Of course, it was great meeting up with Cher and Chee Ying, Susan, Ong and Jessie, and Wang Yen.
Thank you, all of you, for being the Christ-community for me and for making my writing and reflection a deeply meaningful and unforgettable experience. All of you have made my 4-week stay at TTC a very memorable one indeed.