Tuesday, January 16, 2007


This afternoon, just before our mid-day prayer, I was doing some thinking of advertisments which can be used for sessions to explain the faith or values, when the Honda advert below came to mind. I was quite delighted with that idea when lo and behold, the Scripture reading for our mid-day prayer was:

As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit - 1Cor 12:12-13.
This kind of things can really give you a WOW! feeling of God's presence.

I was thinking about the idea of community, being many different parts AND working together, which was why I thought of this ad. But as I thought further, there is also another more subtle lesson to learn from this ad. While it was nice to see the "domino" effect of the many different parts of the car from the start to the beginning, that is all it is - nice to see but going nowhere. And my realisation was that it was because the different parts were doing things that were not their intended purpose. Why is the wiper crawling on the floor? Why is the exhaust pipe spinning around? Sure they fulfilled some function, but in the end they did not move very far. Then we look at the finished product, the car. The car is made up of all those parts, used in the correct way, each one doing what they were meant to do, and the end result is that the car moves, and all the parts move together and further.

That is SYNERGY. One of those coporate buzzwords that we try to use to make our presentations more impressive and bombastic. I still remember one of my modules in uni, where there was this student we called "Synergy guy", because at every tutorial we had, he was sure to talk about synergy. Synergy is the phenomenon that takes place when two or more things working together achieve more than the sum of their individual achievements. In english, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In maths, that means 1 + 1 = 3 or 4 or 5.5...

And maybe that is what is lacking in the Church and communities. There are many different talents, different gifts, different individuals, all moving on their own and but not moving together and thus not getting very far. Some want to move, but on their own they only move a certain distance. Others are not even moving. How do we achieve this synergy? How do we move together.

Using the ad as an example, I think it really stems from knowing one's purpose. The wheel is meant to rotate, but it needs to be connected to the engine to go fast and far. The nut on the other hand shouldn't be rolling around, it should be holding the parts of the car together. The wiper definitely shouldn't be wiping the ground, it should be cleaning the windscreen to make sure the driver can see where to go. Sadly to say, we are hampered by some parts who are standing alone and not connected, some parts who are playing roles they are not supposed to be doing, or doing it because the ones meant to do it are not doing it.

Personally, I know I am probably in one of those catergories, and that is why I know I have to continue on this road of discovery of self (who God made me to be), and purpose (what He wants me to do). And the last part of fitting myself into the bigger picture of the communities I am in and the Church as a whole. Working with other different individuals so that synergy can take place, to accomplish Christ's mission here on earth, and bring all of us together into eternal life.


Anonymous said...

WOW!! Thanks for the very very meaningful sharing...


Anonymous said...

Hi Terence,

I need to contact you, but I can't find your email address. Can you email me at danieltay[at]catholic.org.sg?

Daniel Tay