Lessons from Rye

Hi everyone! As some of you might know, I was away for 14 days in Rye, a scenic and quaint town along the Peninsula, on what was known as Summer Project (or Project). I was there with a group of Christian university students helping out with Schoolies Week – a week where high-school students flock down to Rye to celebrate the end of their high-school journeys. In Melbourne, Schoolies Week is seen as a rite of passage before high-schoolers hit university and the rest of their lives, therefore you can imagine that the vibes in Rye were loud, festive and excitable.

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An acute, intense love

Apparently it takes a momentous event such as a Good Friday weekend to stir me out of my blogging slumber. I had no intention to write, but was particularly moved this morning by the significance of this weekend. This significance transcends the 4-day respite we have from work, the sub-par mass production of hot-cross buns, and even the extra time we get to ourselves. This weekend concerns Christ and the cross alone. It is only under the banner of the message of Easter that you will find complete, wholesome and pure joy, life, and hope. And yet, this weekend begins with the antithesis of all of the above- it begins with death.

For on this day, our God Himself, creator of the universe, my life and yours, heaved the cross upon Himself and walked the lonesome path up the hill of Calvary. Faced not only by the ridicule of the very ones whom He came to save, He received the punishment for the evil He never committed. He made payment for debt He did not owe; for slander that never entered His mouth. As I reflect upon the portrait of my Saviour who came to die, I do not find the waffly, hyped-up, romanticized love that the world is so accustomed to throwing around. I do not see my Saviour gallantly riding a horse up the hill to shed His life for us. I do not see my Lord boasting about how he has come to serve and save. I see the acute, intense love of my God as He cried out for forgiveness of  those who drove the nails into His hands. ‘Father, forgive them! For they do not know what they are doing.’ Indeed, they had no idea. I see the serious, foreboding love that translated into the giving up of life for the sake of those He came to save. 

The love of my Saviour transcends the feel-good, self-esteem-boosting idea of love and acceptance that we are used to today. It involved torture, pain and ultimately death. It involved selflessness, sacrifice and the wrath of a Holy, Righteous God. In fact, I cannot see how someone could sing of the love of Jesus Christ without remembering the cross that demonstrated it, and the sin (our sin) that held Jesus there. If we are asking God to show us more of Himself, to give us more blessings, or if we are only remembering the cross on this Easter weekend, I wonder if we recognize the all-sufficiency of the cross in redeeming us into an eternal relationship with the Holy God who created us. In fact, I wonder if what we desire for is the eternal relationship with this God. Do we see God’s worth, faithfulness and goodness by what He has blessed us with? Or, alternatively, do we see it through the prism of the cross? The death of His Son to atone for our wrong-doings is the greatest blessing, and the most perfect demonstration of God’s love.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Don’t let the cross be a token demonstration of your faith. Rather, let it under-gird everything that you do. Let your decision to serve, honour and love God be propelled by His love as demonstrated on the cross. Let your daily walk with God be infused with the remembrance of Jesus Christ, who lived and died, and ultimately rose again. Don’t think that you can ‘graduate’ from knowing what Jesus did on the cross. It should be this very nugget that spurs you on in your faith. Let your life be based upon the character of Jesus Christ as demonstrated on the cross.

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. – Galatians 6:14

Boast in nothing but the cross. Not in wealth, nor riches, nor personality, nor worldly achievements. All we have is Christ. All we need to know about God is demonstrated and accomplished in Christ, and for that reason alone I can confidently bid you a blessed Good Friday.

What’s so good about the Good News?

It’s Christmas season, which holds significance both to Christians and the rest of the world. This season is equated to one of reconciliation, unity, cheer, merriment and joy, which are warm, fuzzy sentiments enjoyed by both the religious and non-religious. How I love this season! As a practising Christian, it holds a fond place in my heart that transcends the family reunions, beautiful gift wrappings, decked-out malls and the resurgence of Vlogmas. It is a day we set apart to remember the birth of our subject of worship, the one we call our Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ.

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Birthday Thoughts

So, I turn 20 today! I’m really not a birthday person, and I honestly squirm at anything big and fanciful, of which birthdays have the potential to be one of. A really small gathering of loved ones is my idea of meaningful. Birthdays are like a temporary spotlight, under which I feel really uncomfortable. A double-edged sword, I guess. It makes the occasion (and person) feel special, and it could also be really pressuring. These have been my experiences, anyway.

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Sydney Photo Diary II

Round two of pictures are now here! This time with more cultured pastimes (read: Art Gallery NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art and The Grounds of Alexandria). The art/creative scene in Sydney is buzzing and it was a great experience mooching around the galleries and garden grounds.

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Loads of natural light in the galleries.
Harbour view
The obsession with seafront and harbour views continues. Snapped in between aisles in the NSW gallery.

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Lights
If you look closely, those are actually household goods- rolling pins, Tupperware containers etc.
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Trying to understand contemporary art and not just see these as coloured, plastic doors.
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Indonesian protest art.
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Paintings on a straw background.

On the last day before my flight, we took advantage of the sunshine and visited the Grounds of Alexandria. Alexandria is an industrial side of town, so it was a really pleasant surprise to duck into a luscious, green setting with a selection of cafes and other eateries to choose from. The food was really decent (the berry smoothie was absolutely yummy). The vibe was cool as well. Imagine enjoying your meal and cuppa underneath hanging vines and solid timber structures. All I could think about was the maintenance fees and effort that go into the place daily… But, let the pictures speak for themselves!

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Something about eating in a greenery is just so comforting.
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Dessert selection!
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Lunch!
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Touring with the locals.
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All smiles.

It was such a good experience touring around the little nook and crannies (and those more touristy nooks) of Sydney. In the 4 day-visit, I spent just under $200 (flights excluded) for accommodation (tip: stay with locals!!), food, a couple of magazines, transport and the attractions. Such a worthwhile trip!

Currently sitting in Malaysia now. Not missing the cold weather in Australia and definitely appreciating the sunshine here. Hopefully more photo diaries are on their way! There’s nothing particularly exciting coming up in the next couple of weeks except a dear cousin’s wedding and family birthday celebrations! Always appreciate time spent with loved ones, they’re a blessing and definitely something to be thankful for. 🙂

Speak soon!

 

Sydney Photo Diary I

I just returned from a week away in Sydney. Leaving the rain and cold in Melbourne behind was a good decision, even for just four days.  I’m terribly aware of the potential friction between Sydney-siders and Melbournians, but I’m still unashamed in confessing that I’m a potential convert towards our north-eastern neighbours.

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Tea @ By Josephine

I’m going to apologize beforehand- the following feed might make you hungry. I don’t like tempting people with food, but this is important. 

This weekend we celebrate an important occasion, the 21st birthday of my sister. To commemorate, we decided to round up a few of her closest galpals for high tea. So English.

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