Pastoral Perspectives


We are most comfortable with people who look like us and think like us. We are not very comfortable with frequent changes. I found myself a bit stressed out when we almost had to move to a new place again in May. Changes are not pleasant and most of us like to stay put.

My two children are on a long school break and I have realized that having a routine or a schedule works for children and parents too.  When there are changes, it can be disruptive if not planned well. So much of what we do entails going through the same routine and it keeps us sane. But changes can be good too.

When I think about the people who came to Singapore 140 years ago to set up The Presbyterian Church in Singapore, I cannot help but think about the changes they had to go through. It must have been tough to leave their routine, people, country and even their comfort zone to arrive in Singapore.

We remember:

Rev Benjamin Keasberry who chose to stay in Singapore in 1843;

Mr Tan See Boo who came from China to start the Chinese work in 1862;

Rev John Cook who came from Scotland and founded the Synod in 1881;

Allan Anderson and Margaret Dryburh who began Presbyterian school.

We are able to celebrate this occasion because someone dared to leave the comfort zone. If they had all remained where they were and ministered to their own kind, we won’t be where we are today.

This reminds me of the people who were at the Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. Jesus had earlier said that the gift which His Father promised would come. They were told in verse 8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The people who were gathered there dispersed to different places. When the spirit of God came upon them, they left Jerusalem with a new vision. If these people had chosen to stay where they were in Jerusalem and ministered to their own kind, the global church would not have been born. The Global Church- in which The Presbyterian Church of Singapore also belongs to, can be traced back to Jerusalem.

When God’s spirit moved, the people moved out of their comfort zones. They were willing to go to another kind, another people, another country, to share the good news with people who were different from them. These people who do not look or think like them. This is the power of the gospel. It moves people to go to new places, to embrace others who are not like us, to live and suffer among others, to leave our homes, families and even our countries for the sake of the gospel.

Today, we are able to celebrate this auspicious occasion in the comfort of this nation because the movement of people which started in Jerusalem reached our shores. We are the recipients of the work done by others who have gone before us.

What can we do today? What is the spirit of God telling us to do? We all may not be called to leave our homes, country or even our workplaces but where we are, can God use us? Christ’s great kingdom does not come in huge conquests but in little deeds. We can sow the seed wherever we are and God will do the growing. Are we willing to do it?

Psalm 105 exhorts us to praise God for His mighty acts of redemption in history. But it does not end there. After praising God, we are to tell others around us what He has done in our lives. We are not to stay silent! Sometimes we may remain silent because we are shy or too scared but when we don’t speak about it, the good news stays silent. The good news is not about us but about the saving power of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we declare that God is helping us everyday, we are telling others about God.

May the holy spirit empower us to move out of our comfort zones; embrace others who are not like us; go to a people who may be different from us and be willing to suffer and change for the sake of the gospel so that others may also have the chance to commemorate like us today.

“By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth”

Pr Loliro Sani

July 11, 2021