Holy Week: contemplative and charismatic

The theme of our Holy Week was The Gethsemane Journey. Can the Pentecostal and contemplative blend? Why not? Although  the practices of the Pentecostal and the contemplative seem to be incompatible opposites they actually enrich and deepen each other! I saw this in our experience of Holy Week 2017. I handed the planning to our young pastoral staff: Ethel, Tom and Sarah. I told them the parameters was that we share with the church different practices of prayer both contemplative and charismatic. This was what they came up with.

Monday: Lectio Divina

Tuesday: Praying the Psalms

Wednesday: Prophetic prayer

Thursday: Intercessory prayer

Each evening would begin with time for people to be still and wait on God in silence with background instrumentals played over the speakers. Then there would be brief explanations of the prayer practice we would be doing. Followed by an hour for people to actually enter into the practice of prayer. The last segment would be a partaking of Holy Communion.

The worship hall would be made conducive with dim lights, devotional  instrumental music (except of the last evening when we had a live band), and the hall would be cleared of the usual auditorium seating so people could sit anywhere on the floor or chairs along the edges.

Personally I enjoyed each and every evening of Holy Week. It was no chore. The Lord was present each night to impart different insights and experiences. The first night a Scripture portion lighted up and shifted my posture towards a ministry matter. The second night I felt I was crying out to the Lord on behalf of the sick. The third night, I composed and sent prophetic prayers and words to three friends. The last night, I had to facilitate the intercession evening. However I enjoyed the soaking session with the live worship band. Whether contemplative or charismatic practices are used the common element is the presence and power of God.

Some of the participants who attended the Holy Week wrote about their experiences in this article in our church website: Holy Week: The Gethsemane Journey.

The whole Lent and Holy Week can possibly be a seasonal “curriculum” for personal and church renewal. How does your church use this season for God’s glory? Share with the readers what your church has done.

My new Brompton foldable bike

The Brompton: On the Thursday I collected it, the haze had  broken and I had my first ride.

When my kids were little, I bought them bicycles. Now they bought me a Brompton foldable bike for my sixtieth birthday, several weeks in advance, before the clearance sale ended. They knew I wanted it because I had talked about it. They had also seen me searching for a pre-used Brompton at the togoparts website. The sale had gone on for several weeks but I was blessed to have a cobalt blue version which was available only in the H6R model, which was the model I had wanted. The H handle-bar enabled me to have a more comfortable upright posture when I ride. The handle bar looks like the M bar but is two inches taller.

When I ordered it the haze was thick. When I took delivery of the bicycle, it was a Thursday, 8 October 2015.  That day the sky was clear and I could ride the bike that day and the next few days. What a blessing it was, especially after almost a month of staying away from outdoor activities.

The Brompton in kneeling posture.

Compared to other foldable bikes the Brompton is not the clear winner. It is made of steel and quite heavy at over 10 kilograms. The parts are proprietary and modification is limited. The wheels are small at 16 inches. The basic body shape has remained the same and there are no other models or departures from this classic design. It is a good ride but a rather expensive one at $2,780 before discount.

A great compact fold that works for daily commute and storage.
A great compact fold that works for daily commute and storage.

What makes the Brompton a winner is the fold. The fold is the best ever for the kind of comfortable commuter or leisure ride that the average person would want. Its fold is compact with nothing sticking out. After folding it can stand stable and it can be placed in a luggage bag for travel. It is mobile and easily wheeled around. You can take it into your home or office without occupying much space. You can commute with it in the car boot, or take it into the MRT during off peak hours. You can push it around in the shopping mall too.
The marketing of Brompton is superb. It is made in Britain and nowhere else – the pride of British engineering with the bike joints skilfully welded by hand. In addition, the marketing helps the Brompton to exude the classy image of a British gentleman in his top hat.

Brompton bikes have a cult following in countries where they are sold. Brompton owners form clubs and participate regularly in cycling excursions and charity events. They have a kind of fellowship of the wheel. I have joined one such Facebook club, to trawl for pre-used accessories on their website. You don’t just buy a bike you buy an image, a fellowship and a good and highly portable ride.
The Brompton bicycle is like a good Pentecostal. He is modest the way the main body of the bike is low. However no matter how low a profile he keeps there is that bit of attention it cannot help but attract. The bike also has a kneeling position when it rests. I like this unique feature – it’s like the bike is praying on its knees, the way a good Pentecostal should. This is often a conversation starter with other cyclists and strangers. In addition, the Brompton is highly mobile and ready to go the way a good Pentecostal is ready to go with the the good news even to other cities and countries. The clearest evidence that the Brompton is pneumatically filled is the pleasant clickety-clack of the wheels in motion, a bicycle version of speaking in other tongues. I know quite a number of pastors that own a Brompton, and they are Pentecostals!

My Pentecostal heritage

Pentecost: come Holy Spirit
Pentecost: come Holy Spirit

I have always been thankful for my Pentecostal heritage. Like a river of life, it has enriched, fertilized and nourished my spirituality. I have many reasons to be grateful and here are just a few of them:

The Pentecostal experience has made the reality of God’s presence and activity in my life is undeniable and unforgettable.

It  gave me a vision of how great and alive and loving our God is.

I have a deep assurance of faith and never doubted the reality of God throughout my Christian life.

I have experienced the spiritual empowerment and abilities of God’s Spirit in diverse ways.

I am glad to be part of such a vast and enriching spiritual movement.The Pentecostal movement has resulted in the salvation of millions of unbelievers around the world as well as impacted social concerns like political oppression, poverty, racism, unemployment, and even the green movement.