The smileless culture

The smileless culture

Jun 28, 2019

First encounter,
First impression,
First expression,
None other than a
simple humble smile.

Smiles that bring joy to the heart,
Smiles that melt down enmity,
Smiles that draw friends together,
Smiles tightening bonds.
Smiles are the spirit of God.

Alas now, gone are those smiles,
Robbed by the smileless culture.
Often I meet one face to face,
Smile I tried, but by they walked on,
No greetings, no smiles.
Even in the house of God!
Brothers and sisters in Christ?
Hypocrites? Blatant lies?
Bland stares and sullen faces,
Cold, impersonal, indifferent.

Where has the love of Jesus gone?
How to love your neighbour
if ye can’t yield a smile?
Poisoned by this modern era?
Ego-tainted pseudo-christians?
Or as the old Chinese saying goes:
“If the top roof beam is not aligned,
neither will all the lower beams.”

Take heed, clerics
and those with portfolio,
Be not stingy with your smiles.
Be the first to deliver it.

Even if unreturned, feel glad.
In the house of God,
propagate the culture of smiles.
Let it spread even outside the church.

Do not have favourites,
Forget not your other sheep.
Luke 14:11 says
“For everyone who exalts himself
will be humbled, and he who
humbles himself will be exalted.”
Working for God
is an honour and a privilege,
Not a stepping stone to get exalted,
to be masters.

Be not arrogant and proud just because
you hold some important post.
Serve with humility and love.
Shoulder responsibilities
joyfully, sacrificially.
Treat all as brothers and sisters,
Cultivate an atmosphere of love
and harmony.

Why then smiles cannot blossom?
When hearts are seeded
with love of God?
Show good examples,
you who are mature physically
and spiritually.
Seniors and elders, rich or poor,
Deliver your smiles
where ever you tread,
This simplest exhibition
of humility and love.

Spirituality courses
and seminars aplenty,
Humility courses never seen.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition
or conceit, but in humility count others
more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to
his own interests, but also to the
interests of others.” (Phil 2:3-4)
Indeed a heart full of unselfish
love can give forth a smile
anywhere anytime.

Saint Mother Teresa in
The Joy in Loving: A Guide to
Daily Living suggested a few ways
we can practise humility:
To speak as little as possible
of one’s self.
To mind one’s own business.
Not to want to manage
other people’s affairs.
To avoid curiosity.
To accept contradictions
and correction cheerfully.
To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries.
To accept being slighted,
forgotten and disliked.
To be kind and gentle
even under provocation.
Never to stand on one’s dignity.
To choose always the hardest.

John Tay,
Johor Bahru

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