Testimony by Revd Canon Scott Gunn
17 Sep 2022
Thank you, Pastors Martin and Calvin for the opportunity to say thanks to all of you. Sometimes maybe this happens to you when I’m reading the Bible a verse really stands out and speaks to me strongly. This happened just yesterday morning when I was praying morning prayer. And on the second day of the month, the first psalm that one prays is Psalm Nine. And the first verse of Psalm Nine is very simple. The psalmist writes I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart. I will tell of all your marvellous works. And I want to do just that to praise God and to give thanks. You see, on July 20, all this talk in the sermon about life being taken away and whether or not we live and how long we live became very real because I arrived at Changi Airport intending to change planes and go on to Vietnam on holiday. And instead, I had quite a severe heart attack. I collapsed and when I collapsed, I hit my head and had some brain injury, was taken to the hospital and was in intensive care for a week. And in the hospital for another week.
I received very excellent medical care at Changi General. They took good care of me. But still it was grim. When Sherilyn, my spouse, first spoke to them, they told her they didn’t know if I would make it. It was quite severe. I was talking with a doctor back in the USA a few days ago. He’s not a Christian. I don’t even think he’s religious of any kind. But he couldn’t quite bring himself to say miraculous. But he also couldn’t explain why I had lived through this situation and why I was healing. And I believe that it is miraculous that for whatever reason God has spared me. It’s quite humbling to think this way. I don’t know why God would do this. If God chooses to spare my life for a year or two, you can ask me after some more prayer and reflection and maybe I’ll know then. So that’s what I want to say first is that I’m grateful to God for his preservation of my life. But that’s not all. Sherilyn and I are also very grateful to St. Hilde’s and to everyone here. In my work, I spend a lot of time traveling and visiting churches, mostly in the US.
but in some other countries as well. So I think a lot about the mission of the church, what is our work and how do we know when a church is doing God’s work? Jesus, the night before he died, gave his disciples some instructions. And in the 13th chapter of John we read Jesus saying to his disciples and to us, I give you a new commandment that you love one another just as I have loved you. Jesus says you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another. This church is showing Sherilyn and me and the whole world that you are disciples of Jesus Christ. Pastor Martin came and visited me in the hospital several times and brought Holy Communion. Me a stranger. Martin and Jo took Sherilyn in when I was still quite ill in the hospital and gave her some breaks and took care of her and introduced her to good coffee places and that sort of thing. They let her stay in the Bishop’s apartment and took us in even though we weren’t parishioners, just out of love they did that. But it’s not just the pastors. St. Hilda’s has offered us the Bishop’s apartment where we’re staying until the doctors say that it’s safe to travel home and we’re very grateful to have a home away from home. People from St. Hilda’s have brought us food to enjoy. This seems to be a theme, and we are grateful for that. But one moment stands out especially. I think it was last week, we were at the 1015 service and a couple came over to introduce themselves to us. They didn’t recognize us and they very pleasantly said, oh, you’re new, I don’t think we know you. And they introduced themselves and said hello and ask our names.
And when we said, well, it’s Scott and Sherilyn, they said, oh, we know who you are and why you’re here. We’ve been praying for you.
I hope that no one in St. Hilda’s ever takes that for granted, because, that means that you as a church, have been praying for us, total strangers out of love. That means everything. Prayer means everything.
And we’re more grateful than we can say. For your prayers and all the ways that you have shown that you’re disciples by taking us in and caring for us. We come from the USA, where we’re part of the Anglican Communion in the USA. We’re grateful to be part of this same Anglican family and to get to know our sisters and brothers in Christ. But Sherilyn and I especially, are most grateful to be loved by and to get to know disciples of Jesus Christ. You have strengthened and renewed us on her journey as followers of Jesus, and for that we are immeasurably grateful. Thank you for everything.