Friday, March 25, 2005

Remembering Dad's legacy

Many things were said in the days following Dad's passing. On Sunday evening, family and friends gathered informally to honour Dad's life and thank God for His grace. We laughed, we cried. Monday was a more formal memorial presided by Pas Keng Sen who conducted the service in English and Chinese. During the Homecoming Service on Tuesday, some family members (Sunny, Albert, myself, and May Lyn) recalled our sometimes stormy relationship with Dad, how he kept the faith, and his last hours in Sunway Medical Centre. Pas Teoh who was so much a part of our lives back in our youth later emailed this note:
Dear Tan family members,

I do not remember having ever attended a more spiritually uplifting wake or funeral service than what I experienced over the past few days, pertaining to the demise of your father, the late Mr. Tan Ewe Phuan. In all the years of ministry, I have kept to this principle: give the deceased an honourable burial but everything else we do and say at the wake and funeral services are for the living, to encourage them in their life and faith. I have been encouraged.

What particularly struck me were the testimonies so genuinely and freely shared by several of you children about how loving and caring a father and husband he was, even though things and circumstances were far from perfect. From the first evening at the funeral parlour, I was moved by the reminder that your father never tried to be what he was not but faithfully, and over a long period of time, carried out what fell on him to do. At the funeral service you spoke of his strong sense of duty toward family, church and community; I felt the Lord said to me that dutifulness from the human perspective translates into faithfulness in his eyes and I am sure your father has now received that one and only reward all of us can ever hope to receive, Well done, good and faithful servant.

If only more of us fathers, husbands and Christians will strive to be what your father exemplified and faithfully or even dutifully live how he lived, many lives and families would be a lot more blessed. I was so thrilled to hear you all talk about how his life has become a legacy, an example for us to follow, Hebrews12:1.

Lastly, I must mention how thankful I am for having come to Alor Setar and Trinity, and the Tan family home, at a very special time both as a student and young pastor and worked with your father. After the funeral service this morning, a group of us talked nostalgically and with tears about the “monkey climb” incident at Trinity; I thought that happening probably caused your father’s blood pressure to hit a record all time high. But that and many, many other episodes are fondly held today in the collective memory of the so-called “Trinity Group” and among those dearly loved ones from that period of time is your late father, the church chairman. In that tapestry of lives and events he was assigned a particular role to play and he faithfully carried his part; he was “Pak Tan.” Amen.

Ronnie Teoh
To all our friends, relatives, and colleagues who came to pay their respects, thank you. To God be the glory.

[Read Ethan's post here]

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