National Day Thanksgiving Service 2016
Live in a Studied Way, Christians Urged
By Mr Edmond Chua, Pastoral Admin Officer of St Andrew’s Cathedral
Life, as designed by God, is not meant to be led in a mindless manner, but with a deep and significant sense of calling.
Such was the exhortation to Christians of different denominations and stations in life during the National Day Thanksgiving Service organised by the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) in the week following the anniversary celebrations of the republic.
To the hundreds of attendees gathered at the New Sanctuary of the St. Andrew’s Cathedral, a landmark and historic parish of the Anglican Church in Singapore, the speaker, senior Presbyterian minister Steven Gan, had posed a simple yet profound question: “What is your purpose in life? What do you want people to remember about you when you are gone?”
Far from hearing a motivational speech – the Right Reverend Dr. Gan tied his homily in to the idea of a God-given direction in life for each believer – participants were made fully aware of the spiritual nature of the encouragement by the worshipful atmosphere facilitated by praise groups and prayer leaders who were also representatives of the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Assemblies of God, Evangelical Free Churches and The Salvation Army.
As such, the event was itself a picture and reflection of that which the preacher desired to see in the lives of his listeners.
Much like the hard-won religious and ethnic harmony amid diversity the city-state boasts that has impressed many a visitor, the inter-denominational form of the service was no mere accident of history but the fruit of a sober realisation on the part of church leaders of different stripes that unity is for the greater good.
The noble aspirations of bearing testimony to Scripture on issues of contemporary interest and fostering a sense of togetherness among Protestant churches toward ministry and service gathered churches in the formation of the Malayan Christian Council in January 1948. Today, the body is known as the NCCS, a self-described voluntary fellowship of churches embracing all denominations and church traditions, including independent churches.
After citing the inspirational examples of Christians from different epochs all of whom served the Lord’s purposes during their lifetimes, the Rt Rev. Dr Gan, who is synod moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Singapore, brought his sermon to a close with another point of consideration: “What will people say of the Christian church in Singapore 100 years from now?”
With continued participation in purposive platforms like the NCCS and the National Day Thanksgiving Service, and such self-examination and conscientiousness in religious piety as was exhorted at the event, churches and Christians stand themselves in good stead to pursue God’s direction in their own lives.
Photos courtesy of Mr Simon Ng and Mr Vincent Nghai
Items and worshippers