And to the angel in the church at St. Andrew’s Road, write…
I always wonder, if God were to send a letter to the Cathedral like He did to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, what will He say? We can look at the Cathedral in different ways.
One common way is to view it as a prestigious historical church right at the heart of the city. She has some beautiful historical buildings and grounds, with a rich history. While the Nave is not as ornate or grand as other famous cathedrals, she does have an imposing presence. We can expect many visitors to drop in, and indeed, the Cathedral is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Singapore. She is a centre of arts and music, and in some ways, she is.
Another way is to see her as a church with a vibrant Christian community. This is also very visible, especially on weekends where more than 4,000 worshippers gather. There are events throughout the week: seminars, meetings, conferences, etc. The Cafe is a bustling place where members and visitors alike mingle. And many gather in our 80+ Connect Groups that meet all over the city. Cathedral is thriving in numerical terms and spiritual commitment.
Corollary to this, the Cathedral is also a “Mother Church”, supporting parishes - especially planting new ones - and an important base for missions work, given her financial resources and manpower base. This aspect is often lauded and indeed, the Cathedral is giving and seeding God’s work in many directions, here and abroad. For this, we give Him praise.
There is, however, one aspect of Cathedral life that is less seen and almost impossible to measure. And yet, no less important and closest to His heart. It is about the Cathedral out there, far away from St Andrew’s Road. It is about how we live out our faith and lives - in homes, classrooms and workplaces. It is about how we treat our domestic helpers and aged parents, how we behave behind the wheel. It is about how we treat our colleagues, whether our behaviour (as in faith in practice) glorifies our Father in heaven (Matt 5:16). It is about how we observe the principle of love (John 13:35), honour (Rom 12:10b) and justice (Micah 6:8).
I will be the first to admit that doing the church thing is a whole lot easier; the building, the ministries and missions. To live my life as a Cathedral member that will make my Lord and my fellow members proud will always be more challenging. Yet this will be the most important. I was reading with intrigue an interview of our former Head of Civil Service, Lim Siong Guan. When asked what has caused the success of Singapore, he said:
“My conclusion, as I reflected on it, was that Singapore has succeeded for two basic philosophical or ideological foundational reasons. The first is that Singapore is a brand about trustworthiness. The second is more about the multiracial, multi-religious aspect of Singapore; how, as a society, despite our differences, we honour one another, give
space to one another, and appreciate the fact that we are different. And this idea about trustworthiness and honouring your word, respecting and appreciating other people, actually applies to virtually every aspect of life. It applies to families, to leadership in companies, to the community, the way we treat our neighbours, and the way we look at the people that we interact with.”
Food for thought indeed, as we continue to wonder what our Father may say to us!