SEP 2023 #429
CAC welcomes 2 new MOTs in 2023. They are Jason Lee Le’ En and Jonathan Huang Jingquan, appointed to Bukit Panjang Methodist Church and Ang Mo Kio Chinese Methodist Church respectively. Praise the Lord!
In Matthew 25: 31-46, Jesus speaks of how sheep and goats will be separated when He comes again. The former will be deemed righteous while the latter as those who have not acted in ways that please God.
As the book of James echos, a piety that is not accompanied by outwardly works, is false. Nobody can receive salvation unless through the Cross of Jesus Christ, before which we have been unconditionally accepted. But the faith we profess in Christ must be translated into actions and into the way we live.
Jesus exhorts in Mark 12:30-31 that “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The commandments are not to be mistaken as divided or sequential; their summation forms the foundation of all of God’s laws and are to be carried out simultaneously.
When you submit yourself to the will of God in loving others, you will also experience the grace of God coming upon you, sanctifying you.
The World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches (WFCMC) has recently created a pamphlet to educate and inspire churches to approach the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion with a deeper understanding and significance.
As I delved into the enlightening content of the pamphlet concerning Holy Communion, it immediately reminded me of Alexander Schmemann’s renowned work, For the Life of the World. In this profound piece, Schmemann dismantles the false divisions between the secular and the sacred, the natural and the supernatural. He invites us to embrace the notion that the Christian life can be lived sacramentally within the fabric of our everyday existence. The sacrament of Holy Communion stands as the pinnacle experience of encountering and enjoying the divine presence of God amid our daily lives, empowering us to live sacramentally for the betterment of the world.
But how do we go about embracing our role as sacraments for the world? I find Henri Nouwen’s insightful concept of being taken, blessed, broken, and given, beautifully depicted in his book Life of the Beloved, to be profoundly helpful in illustrating this idea.
As I write this reflection, I realise that it’s only been 6 weeks since my family returned to Singapore. My husband George and I moved to Auckland slightly more than 4 years ago as we felt God leading us there. Over the last 4 years, we experienced many unprecedented events.
Through these events, I had the privilege of witnessing and being part of what God had already started doing in the land. While New Zealand seems to be a post-Christian society, migrant churches are growing rapidly and the people are hungry for the Word of God. In faith, I see God using the displaced to reach out to those who belong, calling them back to Christ.
In my own ministerial journey, I too sensed the tension between being displaced and belonging. Yet, in the midst of the “out-of-place-ness” I very keenly felt, God used me – during a time of significant change for the local church – to bless, disciple, and shepherd both those who were out-of-place as well as those who belonged.