COVID-19 was identified in Dec 2019 in Wuhan. WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic on 11 Mar ’20. On 7 Apr ’20, Singapore government imposed a “stay-home circuit-breaker” order. Invisible to the naked eye, the menacing virus has been sweeping across the globe, like the angel of death, taking one hundred thousand lives.
This reminds me of the Passover and its commemoration in the OT, a feast kept by the Israelites when they were slaves in bondage to Egypt (and even today). A lamb was slaughtered and its blood painted on the doorframes of their homes so that the Israelites who stayed home were spared when the angel of the Lord passed over the land to strike down the firstborn of the Egyptians (Exodus 11 & 12). It was a contest of powers – between the true God and the gods worshipped by the Egyptians. The Passover points us today to our Lord Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross which we commemorate at Good Friday and every Sunday at Communion.
Many of us have never been through a crisis of this proportion. The COVID-19 pandemic is earth-shaking. For the first time in history perhaps, churches worldwide went online to meet and worship. The pandemic was a wake-up call for all. Life is no longer the same. Christians have to rethink church, mission, ministry, and outreach. As young and old, rich and poor succumb to the virus, non-believers too have to contend with their mortality and contemplate the purpose of life, if perhaps death is not the end. Will this crisis result in more turning in desperation to God? We pray so.
As a pastoral staff, I have an inside glimpse of a church in this tumultuous time that strives to do the responsible thing, by God, by the ruling authorities, and for the sheep, God’s Family. Some things that I give thanks for…
- Caring and wise pastors and leaders God has placed over YCK Chapel, who have the courage to move and innovate with the times
- Understanding and supportive members who trusted the leadership and were willing to keep meeting as a church, in small groups and then online, to encourage one another
- Members rising up to show care to health-care workers and others serving on the front-line
- Ministries like Youth and Children Ministries willing to take up new challenges, unleashing creativity and using their gifts to serve the church and community
- Many learning to move from over-using and misusing resources to better stewardship
- BCS opening up our S3P shelter to more homeless people, and church members continuing to volunteer to share Christ’s love
On the home front, the crisis has enforced and extended family time for all during the circuit breaker. For some, the isolation brings on a greater sense of loneliness and feeling of abandonment. Every situation comes with a lot of adjustments, tension and challenges. This departure from our usual environment brings with it much soul-searching and valuable lessons… It helps us prioritize what or who we really value. Have we sacrificed our loved ones and children on the altar of materialism and personal pursuits? How do we love them? How have we been investing our time and resources? How do we make them count for eternity? What have we taken for granted? How can we become more grateful? How can we contribute to enhancing someone else’s condition? How can we use technology to connect and build up one another? What can you and I thank God for?
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:9-11)
By Har Lee John, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 19 April 2020)