I must admit to feeling regret that this year I had not paid as much attention to Lent and Holy Week, particularly Good Friday and Easter. I sighed and felt drawn to some of the pictures I received on WhatsApp. These are pictures that demonstrated careful attention to aesthetics in worship. These arrangements inspires us to draw near to Jesus. They seem to draw us towards greater devotion and adoration because they point us to a pivotal turning point in salvation history. They point us to God we can relate to easily and who gives us hope: a suffering and victorious God.
The traditional churches are much better at this. There is something we can learn from them. In the liturgical calendar these would be the high points of the year, requiring much preparation and inspiring longing and anticipation. It could be viewed as an annual corporate means of grace for renewal. The repentance and prayerful devotion of Lent, leading to meditation on the passion of our Lord, will lead us to humble ourselves and renew our first love for Jesus. And Easter is when we allow the resurrection power to revive us afresh to new life.
Above are some of the beautiful arrangements of worship focal points in the main sanctuaries or other halls. They are all from the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary branch in Australia. How lovelyare Thy dwelling places!
Again my sister, Beryl, reminded me that I was the one who passed to her a book that impacted her so much it changed the course of her destiny. The title of the book was “My All For Him” by M. Basilea Schlink, the founder and leader of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. She devoured the book, which I received free together with other books from the sisterhood. She began to read her other books and even wrote to visit the sisterhood in Darmstadt, West Germany. That visit and later visits eventually saw her become a Sister of Mary.
She was here in Singapore for about 3 weeks. The last time she was here was when mother went home to be with the Lord about 5 years ago. She stayed mostly with my eldest brother, Colin. Two nights she stayed with us so we could catch up with what God is doing in our respective situations. She did quite a few things. She visited all the surviving uncles and aunties and cousins. She spent time with us her immediate family. She met up with former classmates and friends. She ate all the different foods she had missed while in Darmstadt all these years. By the time she left she virtually tasted everything Singaporean with everyone eager to ensure that she gets to eat what we thought she missed.
It was several months ago when Sister Rubina from the Sisters of Mary, Australia visited her family in Singapore. I met her at Nat and Janice’s registration of marriage, and then later she shared an exhortation about first love for Jesus in our Sunday church service, and we had lunch with her and her parents. Her parents, Derrick and Connie Jacobs, are old friends and excellent examples of godly couples who grey graciously, strong in faith, and contentment.
I have known Sister Rubina and her parents way back in the late 1970’s. They attended our church and I was sent to help the home fellowship in Derrick Jacob’s home. I remember long bus commutes from Hillview in the west to the Parbury area in the east, fellowship, prayer times and returning home very late. I cannot remember how long this went on but I do remember that I baptized Rubina in the East Coast sea. Revival fires were still burning in those early days.
Derrick Jacobs went on to start “The Christian Library” ministry and recently I visited him again and had fellowship in the office. Besides lending out books they carry a large array of messages in digital formats and they are available for sale. Take a look if you are interested: www.thechristianlibrary.com.sg