On The Wings Of Each Generation
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep… Acts 13:36
It has been an amazing run of Solemn Assemblies, held in over 30 churches across our island over 40 days. Some were very simply led while others were more elaborate and well attended. It doesn’t matter. More importantly, we are gathering to pray as the Body of Christ.
Those who attended the three evenings in the Cathedral will be encouraged and inspired by the faith, passion and sense of His presence. Both in the assemblies in SAC and elsewhere, I notice that there is a “Singaporean culture” of corporate praying. It is spontaneous, audibly loud at times, especially when there is a “wave” of audible praying as people gather in small groups. When I was in Korea visiting a variety of churches, I notice they have a similar culture of corporate praying as well, which differs from us in Singapore in some ways. This "common prayer” (notice my oblique reference to the common prayer tradition amongst Anglicans) language helps the Body of Christ to function when she gathers.
One should no longer label it as “Pentecostal” or "Charismatic.” It is just a way of praying that has come to dominate prayer gatherings. In our own assemblies, we were able to incorporate liturgy, dances and choir items. But apart from that, any non-Anglicans who have been participating in other assemblies will be at home. Prayer unites. And may the Body of Christ continue to arise in passionate prayer out of love for our Lord, his Church and our nation.
One feature which marked some assemblies is the participation and leadership of young people. I can see that young leaders are emerging and heard across many churches, including our own. The assembly led by our young people was in particular, very inspiring.
It has been my prayer that many young “vision bearers” and "peer leaders" will be found in SAC. I use the word “vision-bearer” as often the young are directed by those who are older in many local churches. The vision is given to them and the young merely do as told. A vision bearer however is one who has a passion for their generation or peers and leads them.
Some have thanked me for giving place to the young to lead. I am merely leading from my own experience. By the age of 15, I was made to lead my youth group and it has been this way of “peer leadership” since then at every phase of my life. There were always older advisors in the background, providing the needed wisdom. But make no mistake about it, we were leading and bearing the vision for our generation. We made many mistakes of course, but through them I grew. I learnt to discern His purpose for my own generation, pray, seek His will, make decisions and more importantly, and for better or worse, be a “peer model” on how to live for Christ. Peer influence is huge. As we share the same cultural milieu, naturally, we are inspired by peers who live differently. And as I lead, I strengthen my muscles to lead in the next phase.
This is one reason why we need to give a lot of space for the younger amongst us to lead and grow. We always say that they are the “future church.” I will say they are the church now! Take away this space and I will say that the local church will have a lot to lose in her mission, witness, community life and ministry. As an aside, those who attended the opening of the mini-exhibition of “The Cathedral in the War Years" will notice many younger people serving in the Heritage Committee. This is a first “mini-step” with more to come as this group is indeed passionate about heritage.
I was away on a vacation in the midst of this 40-day prayer season, something planned from last year. We celebrated our 25th anniversary and our wider family joined in later. I have to confess that I too felt the wear and tear of being here on earth for over 55 years. My joints and back were aching from the cycling, trekking, rafting (this did it) and lots of walking. I dare not complain for my young nephews and nieces took it all in good stride!
The thing about being an “elder” is that we are completed by the presence of the young. We are not truly elders if the young are missing. Or if they are present, miserable and still in need of the umbilical cord (one can almost spell it “unbiblical”!). When the young arise, the old would know they have been doing their job.
We won’t take any credit though. We serve God in our generation, they serve Him in theirs. May the church be built on the wings of each successive generation.