Almost A Year On—It’s Time To Come Home!
Written by Ps Alby Yip
In January 2020, the then little-known disease was slowly working its way to Singapore even when life went on. We worked, studied, relaxed, played, ate out and went about going to church for worship knowing none the wiser that all these were going to be disrupted, big time!
That is how we live right? We live as if we will not die. More so in metropolitan Singapore, we live as it is like we will never get into any serious trouble. The closest in recent memory was the SARS episode. Even then Singapore got off relatively unscathed. But everything changed on 7 April 2020 when the circuit breaker was enforced.
We had only seven days to prepare for what was to be an almost total lockdown when Prime Minister Mr Lee announced the necessity for such drastic measures to combat the virus. People scrambled for necessities, masks, sanitizers, frozen food. Some others sprinted for some last moments of pleasures before all the bubble-teas and nightspots were closed as they were deemed non-essential.
Unfortunately, religious worships of all persuasions too were deemed non-essential. The Church in Singapore, for once in history, had to be closed. Only two persons were allowed in church on Sundays to “sing,” preach, record, telecast, collect offering and etc. Never was I so grieved and lost in church.
Almost a year on, has the Church appreciated the Church more after a year of spiritual deprivations and for many, even starvations. Perhaps this question is best answered by each of us individuals. While the virus may be a disruptor, it is perhaps also a revealer. It throws the spiritual canopy wide open to reveal who we truly are—on the inside.
I thank God that we are allowed up to 250 people in church each Sunday and we have created sufficient seats to allow every worshipper to return. While an 80% return rate looks good on paper and which is far better than some churches that I know of, it is of no comfort to me as a pastor. There is still 20% who have yet to return.
Even if 10% of these have legitimate reasons, there are still about 100 who may be wandering in the spiritual hinterlands. All these are precious to me. I am reminded of them each time I stand again on the pulpit. What must I do to reach out to them? I have been contacting many of these personally and was able to make some contacts.
But there are still many of you whom I wouldn’t know and am unable to reach out to. If you are one of these, whether you are a member of Zion Bishan, regular worshipper or even occasionally worship with us, please reach out to us and let us know how we can journey with you spiritually. It’s almost a year on—it’s time to come home!