1st Wake at St Joseph's Church - 2 Oct
Pic borrowed from Harry SK Tan
It was a very special and meaningful evening last night as we remembered KG. We (Evangel Church) were very privilege to be given the chance to lead and the program was put together by Celia. It was to be a simple service conducted by Rev Dr Mark Chan. KG was baptised in the early 1990s at Evangel and I recalled his words said in jest, "Now you all are responsible for me..." and so indeed we are and it has been our great joy to do so.
Designed by the very talented Benny Tan - in such short notice!
We sang Great is Thy Faithfulness played so well by Ting Ting then I shared the Eulogy with my best friend Simon helping me with the reading of Psalm 6:6-9, a passage that KG shared with us before his death. It was understandably hard to read as "Wordsmith" Kenneth Tan commented, the words were too close to the heart.
I am worn out from my groaning
All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears
My eyes grow weak with sorrow
They fail because of all my foes
Away from me all who do evil
For the Lord has heard my weeping
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy
The Lord accepts my prayer.
Before playing a song tribute "Still" to this Godpa, Jeremy shared that KG was always a part of his life since birth, taking him out for meals, going for jogs and reading the Bible to him. When he left for Perth, Godpa consistently emailed him to offer words of encouragement, share interesting news esp IT developments or just simply check if he was ok. Jem added that he took his role of Godpa very seriously and he will always be grateful for his dedication.
In his eyes, KG loved the Lord with all his heart, his soul and his might. The spiritual legacy he left in Jem's heart "inspires me to deepen my walk with Jesus".
Jem gave his best and played the keyboard beautifully, with the music bringing much assurance that indeed no matter what happens around us, the oceans of grief rises or the thunders of troubles roar, our souls can find quiet rest in Christ alone. Because we know His power as we trust God through this painful moment!
We sang Hymn of Assurance - The Lord's My Shepherd which is a wonderful reminder that our God is like a loving shepherd from Psalm 23rd but I did not sing much as my teary eyes were fixed on the white casket and my mind drifted to the flood of great memories I had with KG. I got back in on the last words of the hymn that resonated, "Goodness and mercy all my life shall surely follow me, and in God's house for evermore. My dwelling place shall be".
Mark preached powerfully from Mark 4:35-41 about how the disciples were caught in the storm and how terrified they were. How that resonated as the storms of grief affected all of us! We can only imagine the storms that went through the mind of Koh Gay and we all felt deeply for him. It was amazing how God's Spirit dove-tailed the sermon and Jem's song so nicely as the story of how Jesus is in full control of any storms of our life hit home to me afresh. Indeed we can trust in the resurrected power of Christ for "even the wind and the waves obey him". Ps Seng Chor remarked how comforting and assuring Mark's homily was and indeed, our grieving hearts were filled with new hope as Jesus invites us "to go to the other side" with him, with no fear as he is with us.
We ended the last song with Amazing Grace, our chains are gone by Chris Tomlin. It was again another Spirit led choice as I prayed about what song would be a fitting close on Sunday and came up with this. Celia too had the same song and we knew God had spoken. I think the part that sprang up to me was that our chains are gone and that we have been set free as God our Saviour has ransomed me. Tears of comfort and even joy, poured out as we sang those lyrics knowing that our brother Koh Gay has finally been set free from the chains of his illness.
The service ended with Mark praying for all of us and giving the benediction. Then Cher Young had a most brilliant idea, and that was for all the ACS boys to come together to pay the most fitting tribute to our dear brother Koh Gay by singing our school anthem. I think there were 16 of us (and so proud to be singing with my son Jem) and we sang our hearts out in solidarity as we remembered God's goodness to us as school boys and to always be beacons of Truth and Light in this world just as Koh Gay had been with his life!
Fellowship after the service was warm and it felt like a celebration party. Nobody wanted to leave, at least among the people we knew. I met friends whom I have not seen for a while, some even as long as I had left school some 40 years ago. I was heartened to see former church members and friends come to say goodbye to Koh Gay. The evening was so special and we stayed till Jen Huat, Koh Gay's brother in law had to politely shoo us out for it was 1030pm.
I went home feeling blessed with a heart mixed with pain and joy. But most of all I felt gratitude to God for the life of my dear friend Koh Gay. I had hope that our service would bring some measure of comfort to his poor sister Lisa, her son Theodore and husband Jen Huat whose pain must be the deepest and greatest.
As I was going to bed, a text came through from Lisa. Her words brought peace to my heart...
"A simple thank you would be inadequate to express the comfort I felt during the service tonite. Your eulogy brought both tears and laughter. And Jem's piece "Still" was well chosen.
To God be the glory!