Intertain: Chapter 17
After a whole nine months of lockdown-related hiatus, Intertain finally made its return.
This would seem par for the course for a year like 2020, but I am thankful for old friends who travelled all the way to my abode to revitalise this fellowship.
We also welcomed two new friends: Dohee and Sung Woo!
Due to COVID lockdowns, we’ve all no doubt stayed home far more than usual this year. I thought, therefore, it would be a fitting idea to examine the spaces within which we live.
For starters, Sung Woo and Clement took a swing at What the Golf? — a funny game for people who hate golf, made by those who know nothing about golf, resulting in anything but golf!
The levels are of a comedic and experimental nature. But at the core, the gameplay doesn’t depart from guiding an object to its destination, to its home where it belongs. For this saying is true:
The best journey takes you home.
Remember that quote, as we shall return to it in due time.
What makes your residence feel like home?
May gave us a quick tour of her home island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a cute life simulation game that she played for several months earlier this year while being stuck at home.
She first showed us her landscaping work around the island, the animal residents that shared the space, as well as how to accumulate resources and craft items.
Entering her actual house, we got to witness my wife’s taste in design and furnishing: a central kotatsu placed in the middle of the room carpeted with flowery patterns; clocks, embroidery, and an electric fan hung on the walls; an old sowing machine sat next to a random lava lamp, plus a few succulent plants scattered here and there.
Then she went through a mysterious passageway leading to a lavatory-laundry hybrid area with numerous indoor plants, including a thriving garden wagon. This room felt cosy, and the options of having both a sitting and a squat toilet made an impression on many of us.
There is always a little special something that defines our own dwelling.
For Han Sol, Angela, and Janice, a familiar bed helps them find rest. Angela also mentioned her treasured security blanket… which was cut in two so she could pack half of it for travelling!
Dohee talked about gaming consoles, Clement talked about his computer, and Anthony expressed appreciation for remembering the Wi-Fi password for nowhere else except home.
KJ focused on his kitchen where he often discovers his favourite foods, while Sung Woo revealed the simple truth that nothing beats using your own bathroom.
Simon touched on a deeper point, one that echoed this quote I displayed on-screen:
What I love most about my home is who I share it with.
Indeed, the people we care about play an important part in our experience of home.
What can we expect from being invited into your home?
Goose is a female bird, while gander refers to the male counterpart. Young birds before fledging are called goslings. The collective noun for a group on the ground is a gaggle; when in flight, they are a skein, a team, or a wedge; when flying close together, they are a plump.
No matter the term you’re using, these birds can be mischievous creatures. For a live demonstration, we had KJ and Anthony waddling onto Untitled Goose Game, a humorous puzzle stealth game made by a four-person studio in Melbourne.
The two geese controlled by our boys showed up uninvited to a groundskeeper’s garden with one menacing to-do list. They turned on the hose to drench the man, snatched his keys, dislodged his plants, and dragged his rake into a lake, all the while honking incessantly like they just don’t care.
However, they struggled with the task of grabbing and running off with the groundskeeper’s hat for over ten minutes. That began to annoy even those of us observing. In any case, the anti-synergy between KJ and Anthony really captured the spirit of uncooperative, unwelcomed geese. Well done!
We gathered quite a number for this session, so there wasn’t too much space left in my living room. But it’s a good problem, as this Irish blessing conveys:
May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends.
In general, when May and I invite friends over to our place, they would be walking into an engaging conversation, in addition to the available videogames they may try.
Janice and Dohee presented food as the main attraction for visitors to their homes. KJ spoke about food too, but then one-upped them by mentioning his big backyard where folks may play volleyball.
For Angela and Robin, they stockpile a mountain of snacks for guests (and themselves) to enjoy; snacks, plus board games, but mostly snacks. Han Sol started becoming curious about those snacks.
In Sung Woo’s case, he described a comprehensive package of food, conversation, prayer, and the company of his pet dog. We do wish to be invited to his house one day.
While serving in ministry, Jesus did not have a home. The following encounter in Matthew 8 occurred while he was at Capernaum, near the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee:
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. One of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
Christ seemed to be hinting at the cost of following him: we need to be ready to give up treating this world as our home, and to instead find belonging and rest in him alone.
Practically speaking, Jesus still required shelter during his travels, and he would rely on other people’s hospitality. He was not the type to barge into someone’s house like an uncivilised goose, yet through the spirit of prophecy, there were days when he just knew what had been prepared for him by the will of the Father. Chapter 19 of the Gospel of Luke contains one of these stories:
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.
There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
The beauty of this story is seeing how eager Zacchaeus was in catering to Jesus, who actually invited himself. The tax collector didn’t expect the opportunity, but recognised what a privilege it was to be able to welcome the Messiah into his own home.
By doing so, Zacchaeus also welcomed Jesus into his heart — and that transformed his whole life!
What measures would you take to defend your home?
Ghost of Tsushima follows a samurai on a quest to protect Tsushima Island during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. With Robin at the helm, we got to see the introduction of the game.
So there were eighty samurai who stood against a vast army led by Khotun Kahn, the grandson of Genghis Kahn. Despite being outnumbered, the Japanese defenders adhered to their code and faced their enemies head-on, fair and square, without resorting to any shady tactics.
On the other hand, the Mongols were ruthless. In response to an honourable duel, the Kahn took one look at his opponent, splashed alcohol on him, and set the poor bastard aflame.
Robin fought back as hard as he could, but to no avail, as the samurai were brutally slaughtered left and right. Before long, the Kahn had captured the jito and dropped this on him…
While you were sharpening your sword, do you know how I prepared for today?
I know your language.
I know your traditions, your beliefs.
I know which villages to tame… and which to burn.
Khotun Kahn proved himself to be scarier than the average invader. His cunning, calculated approach also made him a dangerous infiltrator. What a piece of work!
There wasn’t much else we could do in the allotted time, so I wrapped up the segment by composing a haiku reflecting on the samurai’s defeat.
Home defence isn’t really something of great concern to the average Australian. Unlike Americans, we don’t have the right to bear arms, though I would love to own a shotgun.
Janice shared about having a sword in her room. Similarly, I keep a metal rod right next to my bed. When it comes down to it, Han Sol said that he would do whatever it takes to protect his family from intruders to his home. I think most of us would agree.
Scenes from Home Alone played in KJ’s head.
We read from Nehemiah 4 to look at an example of how the Israelites defended themselves in Old Testament times. In this particular case, they had returned from the Babylonian exile and were in the process of rebuilding Jerusalem — specifically, the city walls.
Faced with hostility incited by a pair of officials (Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite), builders were required to carry weapons in addition to construction tools. Safety first, I guess!
Apart from securing our residential spaces, Christians are also called by God to take care of our spiritual homes: the churches to which we belong.
There are two distinct ways in which dangerous infiltrators affect a faith community. In Matthew 7, Jesus taught us to observe people’s behaviour:
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.”
In 2 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul warned us about the doctrinally unsound:
I promised you as a pure bride to one husband — Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.
To be successful in defending our spiritual family, we must assume a watchmen mentality, asking God for biblical wisdom and vigilance. May we stand firm in this age of deception!
When would you be ready to move out of your home?
The final game we played in the evening was Moving Out. It is a party title, and hence many of us (including Han Sol, Sung Woo, Clement, and Simon) jumped in to have a go at being what they’ve called a certified “F.A.R.T.” — furniture arrangement and relocation technician.
In a nutshell, this is a couch co-op game about moving couches, as well as other furniture, appliances, and even animals from a home to a truck. Time is money, so players are encouraged to get the job done in the fastest way possible. With that in mind, we watched our guys break down doors, crash through windows, and throw stuff around for maximum efficiency!
The company insurance would cover any damages, for sure.
Sung Woo is a real estate agent. He told us that, generally speaking, most people move out when they want an upgrade. In contrast, parents whose children have grown up and left home may seek to downsize. But as COVID lockdowns persist, those working from home could also choose to leave busy hubs for quieter suburbs and perform duties remotely.
As a young adult, Clement felt that he got low-key kicked out from home after turning eighteen, though his family provided him with a little unit. Anthony revealed his intention of moving out after finishing his studies at Sydney Missionary and Bible College, if indeed he has enough money.
And then there are individuals who would continue to live in our current homes until we depart this world. For Janice, that would be in Marsfield; for me, here in Chatswood.
At the end of the day, our permanent home is with God. We concluded the session by reading about what is to come as written in Revelation 21:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne — “Behold, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
This spectacular, beautiful image shows us that God’s intention has always been to dwell with humans: a new heaven and a new earth brought together, the Creator’s home and our home combined into an eternal household; we are at home with the Father, as he is with his children.
In the meantime, may we press onward in our walk of faith, keeping in mind this unchanging truth:
The best journey takes you home.
Attendance : Angela Sun, Anthony Byun, Ayk Iano, Clement Kwok, Dohee Ahn, Han Sol Kim, Janice Lee, KJ Jang, May Chien, Robin Zhang, Simon Wong, Sung Woo Hong, and toddler Nathaniel.
Giveaway: Untitled Goose Game to Dohee Ahn.