Intertain: Chapter 16

This Intertain session was held on the 29th of February, using the added time offered to us by the leap year. In light of our busy lives, we welcomed an extra day to play and fellowship with friends!

Simon, my neighbour from across the street, attended for the first time. He’s in his forties now, and by his admission, used to engross himself in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series.

Theme: LIGHT

Our church, The Chapel Sydney, has set a goal this year (2020 vision) of striving to see God more clearly. Just as a good source of light is essential for our eyes to see things, we must rely on heavenly radiance to be able to achieve healthy spiritual vision — one that perceives the truth about God and his creation. Consider this quote from C. S. Lewis:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen…

Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

Well, let us get into what we played, read, and discussed on this particular evening in order to understand more about the role of light in our world and in our lives.

Are there times that you are afraid of the light?

GAMING

So Janice came on board to help with the leading of this ministry. As a debut, she introduced the group to Felix the Reaper, a puzzle game that has you working for the ministry of death, plotting fatal scenarios against prescribed targets as the titular reaper, Felix.

Since it is imperative to keep the reaper out of direct light, the player is given the ability to reposition the sun, thereby allowing Felix to stay within the shifting shadows cast by various elements in the environment while he gets on with the task at hand.

Simon and Clement each completed two levels of the game. Their combined, sinister effort led to a short-sighted hunter who “mistakenly” speared his alcoholic brother into a wall.

Dancing in the shadows.

SHARING

You don’t have to be a reaper to be afraid of the light.

KJ said that he’d be paralysed with fear if a vehicle sped toward him with the headlights aglow (related idiom: “like a deer in the headlights”). Even just being tailgated by another driver at night may prove to be quite unnerving, Angela added, especially if they’ve switched on the high beam.

Thinking further about situations of peril, May conveyed her dread of being persecuted in an increasingly hostile world. There could be a time when she’d stick to the shadows for safety.

David mentioned that when we’re used to perpetual darkness, it would be rather uncomfortable to open our eyes to a bright light. I’m not sure if he was speaking figuratively, or was describing his routine morning experience. Regardless, Janice then touched on how some people may reject the light for fear of being exposed and condemned.

And Plato (who was absent from our group because he’s been dead since 347 B.C.) once expressed:

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark…

The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

Hmm, yes. That’s some deep shit, philosopher!

What hope do you have against the plague of darkness?

GAMING

We buried ourselves into A Plague Tale: Innocence, a French title set in the 14th century when much of Europe was being ravaged by the infamous pandemic known as Black Death. Indeed, if you suffer from musophobia, please avoid this game like the plague!

We needed a veteran gamer, so KJ was our go-to guy. He assumed the identity of a noble girl who, along with her baby brother, would journey to locate a family friend while trying to flee from hostile villagers. In this segment, they traverse a gloomy crypt hidden beneath a rat-infested church.

KJ was forced to go deeper into vermin territory, but learned that these creatures were absolutely terrified of light. To keep the swarms at bay, it was down to a matter of working with blazing torches and braziers. On the side, he also picked up a lot of “fat loot” (as he called it) — I told him those items weren’t necessary… Yet if a thousand rats couldn’t stop him, then neither could I.

The rodent apocalypse is here!

WISDOM

The Wuhan coronavirus has been a major crisis of the year so far. And with it spreading to the rest of the world from China, I thought it would be helpful to do a presentation on its potential impact as examined through six key questions:

  1. How contagious is the disease?
  2. How deadly is the disease?
  3. How long does it take to show symptoms?
  4. How far have infected people travelled?
  5. How effective has the response been?
  6. How long does it take to develop a cure?

I was also prepared to answer the six questions in regard to Black Death, just to get a bit of perspective on how an outbreak can worsen when factors compound in unfortunate ways.

However, we then proceeded to talk about something far worse: the plague of darkness, otherwise known as “sin” — something that has been transmitted to all people since the first humans, degrading and killing their countless descendants (physically and spiritually), cursing the entire world and everything in it, while rendering futile any sort of response from the infected.

Nevertheless, we are not without hope. As the game demonstrated, when a horrifying plague surrounds us and tries to devour us, we must hang on to the light to survive. John 1:9-12 reads…

The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world did not recognise him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

Thank God for sending Jesus, the one true light, to overcome the suffocating plague of darkness covering this whole earth. May we recognise and receive him as the cure that humanity needs.

How would you let your light shine in the darkness?

GAMING

It was time to switch gears and enjoy some couch multiplayer action. We formed teams and competed against each other in Black & White Bushido, which a stylish 2D arena brawler where the forces of light and shadow battle to the death!

The binary colour scheme of black and white is what sets this game apart. Moving around in the levels, players can either be hidden or exposed depending on if their character colour matches or contrasts the background. Those who are skilled at blending in would find many opportunities to outsmart and ambush their foes.

Although during our session, there were times when people lost track of their own characters due to the camouflage effect. “Where am I?” was definitely heard more than a few times on this night.

A high-contrast showdown.

WISDOM

There is enmity between light and darkness. We checked out the following passages to see what happens when they clash. John 3:19-21 states:

God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

So when darkness and its inhabitants are invaded by light, people may very well attempt to escape and hide in the shadows for fear of being exposed. However, those that have a heart for truth would seize the opportunity to step into the light in order to meet with God.

Next, we took in some direct words from Jesus as recorded in Luke 8:16-17…

“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, its light seen by all who enter the house. For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.”

It would appear that no matter how small a light source may be in a dark space, its purpose remains the same: to shine brightly for people to see, and to reveal the truth. Rather than cowering away in fear, the greater reality (spiritual physics) affirms that light vanquishes darkness, and that it’s only a matter of time before everything is illuminated by rays of righteousness.

SHARING

As folks who have been ignited by the flame of Jesus, we thought about the ways in which our light may emanate into the world.

Angela, a scientific researcher, explained how some of her peers would set up casual “consultations” for one another in the midst of writing a paper so that they may all have their names attached to as many publications as possible without doing much work. The fact that she has refused to participate in this cheap tactic allows her to shine with integrity.

Janice told us that during a fasting week, her colleagues wondered why she wasn’t having any cake. She used the chance to share a bit about our faith, and that some believers may instead choose to refrain from accessing certain technology for a time in the context of practicing spiritual discipline.

May, who often leads students to grow in Christ, emphasised the importance of being transparent. She said that when we embrace being vulnerable — even to the point of exposing our own sins — people are more likely to see Jesus at work, and give him credit for shining into our darkness. After all, the ultimate goal is to let others witness God’s true light, rather than to exhibit a mere sparkle.

In light of everything, will you seek and walk in the true light?

GAMING

Toward the end of the session, I showcased the exquisite Gris, which may just as well be one of the most beautiful games ever made. The creative director of this Spanish title is an illustrator by the name of Conrad Roset. Based on his expressive vision and art style, the game plays like a painting in motion, with its story told using emotive imagery, colour, and music.

On the narrative journey, the unnamed protagonist navigates through areas of her inner world reflective of the five stages of grief. We nominated Janice to be submerged by the profound seas of depression, the fourth stage — a burden she accepted with glee.

Diving into the deep blue expanse, it became clear to us that her goal was to harvest orbs of light scattered among the darkness (metaphor for mental illness). In order to tackle this depressive state of mind, she needed to brave tremendous depths, yet must do so while reaching out for hope in the form of little stars that twinkle in the watery night… lest she be consumed in the struggle.

While wordless, the game proved to be intuitive, and its thematic exploration spoke to our hearts.

Light sustains life.

WISDOM

Dark and difficult times are unavoidable in this life. But may we, as people who have seen the glory of Jesus, be reminded from 1 John 1:5-7 to cherish the fellowship and assurance that accompany those who walk honestly in the light.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Using the P-R-A-Y method, here’s what we prayed for to conclude the eventful gathering:

  • PRAISE God for shining his light unto humanity through Jesus, giving us hope in a dark world.
  • REPENT for our love of darkness, especially after when we’ve been shown the light.
  • ASK that we may shine for Jesus and lead other people to our source of light.
  • YIELD ourselves to the light; don’t run or hide, but let it illuminate our whole being.

Attendance [10]: Angela Sun, Ayk Iano, Clement Kwok, David Ahn, Janice Lee, KJ Jang, May Chien, Robin Zhang, Simon Wong, and toddler Jordyn.

Giveaway: Gris to Janice Lee.