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24 March 2019 | Vicar Writes

Of Strangers and Sojourners

By Terry Wong

Most of those murdered in the Christchurch mosques massacre were foreigners. Our hearts bleed.

As we celebrate our bicentennial, we should be reminded of Singapore’s early beginnings as a place of hope for strangers and sojourners. Our forefathers originated from many places near and far. They came in search of a new beginning and a better life. Many of them did not have high aspirations beyond the hope of a decent job and a safe place to raise a family.

We salute the early strangers and sojourners. They toiled to build Singapura on their backs, literally. For example, some of our city’s historical buildings were the hard work of convict labourers from India. Today, strangers and sojourners are still streaming into Singapore from all directions. Like those before them, they contribute to our nation-building efforts in significant ways. As you go about Singapore, take note of how many sojourners are hard at work building and beautifying our city, keeping it clean and green. These are the unsung heroes of Singapore’s on-going development. We owe them a tribute of gratitude.

While sojourners do not share all the citizenship rights and privileges of Singaporeans, they have the same spiritual rights as every one. Remember, each sojourner is a person of intrinsic worth, created in the image of God. Each one has the right to encounter Jesus and become a born-again child of God. We owe them the Good News of God’s love. The local church should be their first port of call. In fact, according to God’s Word, we are to treat them lovingly as equals, as family, as one of us:

  • Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land. Treat them as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners… LEVITICUS 19:33-34 GNT
  • You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need. ZECHARIAH 7:9 GNT
  • I am the Lord, and I consider all people the same, whether they are Israelites or foreigners living among you. NUMBERS 15:16 GNT

Indeed, may our local churches reflect the big heart of God for all peoples. May we be havens of shalom for sojourners representing diverse creeds and cultures. May we welcome them warmly into the House of God and into our homes. Here in SAC, we have various services catering to different groups. Pray for the new Tamil Service starting on 7th April.

A vast majority have never heard the Gospel, not even once! The coming Celebration of Hope rallies present a great window of opportunity for us to engage them while they live and work here.

From one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live. He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt around for him. (ACTS 17:26-27 GNT)

Will you please pray for these rallies?

  • Saturday 18 May: Chinese Rally in Mandarin | National Stadium | 7.30pm
  • Saturday 18 May: Indian Rally in Tamil | SportsHub OCBC Arena | 7.30 pm
  • Saturday 18 May: North Indian Rally in Hindi with English interpretation | Grace AG (Tanglin) | 7.30 pm
  • Sunday 19 May: Filipino Rally in English | National Stadium | 10.30am

And more than just pray, will you also spread the word and invite a sojourner or two to the relevant rally? Perhaps a Mainland Chinese neighbour, or an Indian construction worker, or a Filipino domestic helper. Please note that there will be half an hour of cross-cultural presentations by celebrities before the starting time. Be early and join in some inter-cultural fun!