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8 December 2019 | Vicar Writes

The Summoning

By Terry Wong

"Summon for me the people so that I can tell them my words,
that they may learn to fear me all of the days they are alive
on the earth and so that they may teach their children.”
Deuteronomy 4:10 (Lexham English Bible)

Most Bible versions will use terms like "gather" or "assemble" for this verse. But somehow the word "summon" conveys a greater sense of urgency or obligation, a mandate that needs to be obeyed.

To equate our nation and existence with Old Testament parallels may seem audacious and self-serving. And indeed some nations (and kings and queens) have abused these ideas of divine calling to justify the idea of their supremacy over others.

It is, however, a Christian idea that a people or nation’s calling and raison d'être for existence is divine in origin, not to stamp one’s supremacy but to obligate one to serve the world. It is a self-consciousness that we are a people who were blessed with blessings that were not our own (i.e. 1 Chronicles 29:14b). And arising from this sense of humility and gratitude, we serve.
 
Therefore, we are summoned

  • Out of our self-occupation to our sense of destiny to serve His wide purpose in time and space.
  • To pause to “say grace” over the spread on our table as a nation (Psalm 23:5), whether in seasons of abundance or want.
  • That we may gather and remember, for ourselves and those coming after us.
  • To sing, for we are a people who have songs from our shared history and destiny.

This is why these milestone gatherings are always important, Sunday Worship, Easter and Christmas Services and yes, Bicentennials. Surely, our 200 years of existence as a “founded” modern nation should be a moment for deep spiritual commemoration.

I have never quite fathomed why the bells had to be restored and enhanced in 2019. Yet the winds of the Spirit led us to do it and in a way, they have a summoning role to call us to worship. The coming Bicentennial Christmas Carol Service is a unique idea in itself, celebrating the event of the birth of the Christ and that of our nation in one breath. We are acknowledging the true Architect of our nation, “from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (Ephesians 3:15).

This Thursday evening’s Service is an event not to be missed. If you have not been able to secure tickets, we will be preparing good overflow AV facilities at the CNS and Prayer Halls so that as many as possible can participate in this unique event.

My fellow brothers and sisters, whether you are a citizen, resident or visitor, join in to give Him the honour and praise!