And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5
For three evenings of 5th to 7th of August, Cathedral members gathered in worship and prayer. Joined by Christians from other churches, these "solemn assemblies” were a part of the 40-day prayer organised by Love Singapore and supported by many churches.
In one of the evenings, Bishop Rennis led the gathering through a time of repentance on behalf of the Church. We prayed prayers of repentance over these:
- Loss of First Love
- Despising spiritual gifts
- Irreverence towards God
- Compromised/Distorted God’s truth
- Casual Sex & Consumeristic Christianity
- No true worship of God
We recalled that "it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God." (1 Peter 4:17)
Human frailty is a long human experience, even in the Church. The Bible itself does not conceal these realities, and the blemishes of saints are found in her pages. Our Church history is chequered with these failures, some more severe than others. In our generation, traditional values and social norms are under siege. It is harder than ever for even Christians to keep away from destructive addictive behaviours.
What we should be concerned with most is the loss of Christian conscience. It is quite possible - and perhaps already happening - for churches to alter their teachings to accommodate these new realities. And with that, we have also lost the need for and the experience of repentance. For we no longer weep over our sins or that of others. If what was reported in the Church in Pennsylvania really happened, then we should weep. If we do not care or just shrug it off, then we need to ask God to once again restore our conscience.
It may be the case that a few rotten apples do not tarnish the whole crate. However, if the rest of the crate does not deem it serious enough to take action or to preach/teach against it, our silence can be a form of complicity.
Perhaps we need to recapture a fresh vision of our Holy Lord. If we keep looking at our neighbours and culture, it is all too easy to succumb to the spirit of the age. Like the prophet of old, it is the vision of a holy God which helps us to see others and ourselves for who we really are. His light exposes the darkness of our hearts and the tragic consequences of our behaviour.
It should be our prayer that what happened during the season of Solemn Assemblies will be a continual experience in the life of the Church. "Pray that you may not enter into temptation," Jesus told Peter. He is saying the same to us today.