Coming Back to the Lord’s Temple

Starting first Lord’s Day of November, our brothers and sisters-in-Christ could return to church for worship and Sunday school, for this we thank God! The feeling of worshipping the Lord together with our brothers and sisters-in-Christ is totally different from that of attending worship alone online in our homes. Seeing each other in church physically, exchanging greetings and praying for one another, allow us to experience first-hand the warmth of this fellowship that is found in the body of Christ and the love of God. When we worship in church, we get to hear the pianist and hymn-singing live, and sermons. Such a conducive spiritual environment allows us to quieten down before God and focus on being near to Him. During Sunday School, seeing each other face to face makes sharings and discussions more direct and natural. For the past few months, we could fellowship and worship online by God’s grace. For this we should give thanks. Being able now to return to church physically for fellowship and Sunday school is something even more beautiful.

Before the pandemic, I believe no one would have expected that, in Singapore where religion could be practised freely, worshipping in church premises would be a problem. From the beginning of March 2020 till the end of Oct 2020, which totalled 31 times of the Lord’s Day, our brothers and sisters attended worship service online at different localities. Not being able to physically meet to worship and fellowship is harmful to our spiritual life. Although we tried various means to compensate for this deficiency, some acts of caring and human interactions could only be fully expressed face to face. For me, this experience taught me to cherish every opportunity to come to church as no one could guarantee that there would not be another circuit breaker, which would prohibit physical worship. Personal health issues could also hinder physical worship. The Lord’s children must without ceasing receive spiritual nourishment from the Lord. Only then will our life be abundant and strong. And the Lord distributes His spiritual nourishments via the church. Thus, a believer who does not regularly attend or misses worship service long term would be spiritually dry. That these are end times heightens the problem. “The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as fruitful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:7-11). The Lord uses different gifts of brothers and sisters-in-Christ in church, who serve according to their gifts, to build up each other’s lives. This allows us to receive God’s gifts and allows God to use our gifts to build up one another. For the past two Lord’s Day, a large majority of our brothers and sisters-in-Christ returned to church premises to worship and attend Sunday school. Leaving home to come to church is far more inconvenient than worshipping online. I believe, however, that everyone has seen the spiritual benefits, which motivated us to make this very “inconvenient” choice. You have chosen the better things, and the Lord will bless!

I hereby also encourage all brothers and sisters-in-Christ to persevere in coming to church, unless there are special reasons. This is very important for your spiritual life. Perhaps some of you are still worried about the possibility of COVID infection, and prefer to worship online. The church, however, has gone to great lengths to ensure all safety measures comply with strict government guidelines. Then everyone can worship and attend classes in a safe environment. We have arranged sufficient space for all brothers and sisters-in-Christ to attend worship and classes. Every room is disinfected after use before the next group comes in. Every attendee’s temperature will be measured and recorded. We will also ensure everyone puts on a masks. Hand sanitizers are readily available throughout the premises.

We will put in our best effort to maintain the cleanliness of the community. We also pray that the Lord would help the government to continue to control the pandemic, “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in a godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2). As the current situation allows, I strongly urge all brothers and sisters-in-Christ to come and fellowship with us in church. “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2).

translated by Elaine Chew