The weekend of 20 and 21 December 2008 was no ordinary weekend. There was no guest speaker nor was there any guest performance at City Harvest Church (CHC) but there were thousands of candles lit for this year’s candlelight services at CHC.
The service started off with a rousing medley of Christmas carols, including the upbeat “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and the solemn but touching “Away in a Manger,” putting the congregation into a festive cheer as the service went on.
The merriment carried on through the announcements and the offering message. Indeed, there was much for the church to cheer about and celebrate beyond the festivity.
David Yem and KC Gan, the church’s music director and creative director respectively, were recently interviewed by Channel NewsAsia for the program Get Rea! about the church’s contemporary-styled praise and worship, and a re-play of that interview was shown to the congregation during the service. In the interview, David and KC revealed the vision of the worship team behind their songs. On how CHC’s worship style has influenced the youth, both David and KC explained that although the music may attract people, the church goes beyond the “show part” which engages the soul, to include other aspects such as building lasting relationships, faith and character. After the screening of the interview was over, the congregation broke into a resounding applause for the glory that was given to God through the thoughtful answers that reflected the church as salt and light in the city.
Kong Hee, senior pastor, chose the theme of “light” to frame his message on this very special candlelight service weekend. He spoke from John 1:4-5, which speaks of the “Light that shines in the darkness.” Light can make us people of vision, value and compassion. Speaking from John 1, the light that shines in the darkness gives vision and shows us the steps we need to take in life. In particular, light gives us dreams and visions which have enormous power. Vision gives power to enable a person to overcome the odds, especially during a time of economic uncertainty and fear.
Light also determines the value of an object or person — the brighter and more light a diamond captures, the more valuable it is. This value emanating from objects and people is also known as ‘glory’. God is glorious and has infinite worth, price and value. In preparation for the year 2009, Kong urged the congregation not to remain stagnant in the coming year but to set goals that ensure an increase in one’s value. As God’s wonderful creation, we are not meant to be hidden but rather displayed in the full glory of God with our full array of talents, gifts and abilities for the whole world to see.
The light of Christ also helps us to become people of compassion. Isaiah 60:20 talks about a city dazzling with lights, attracting people into the kingdom of heaven. The dazzling lights would be emanating not just from God but from His people. Just like how Jesus started out His ministry by preaching good tidings and helping the afflicted, we can rise up in light as we serve the needy and broken.
|PHOTOS: Michael Chan|
Christmas is indeed a season of lights, not just with decorations on the outside but more importantly with the light of Christ inside our hearts. As thousands of candles lit up the hall, hearts were warmed to the love of God and one another. The beautiful sight of a truly candle-lit service was captured in the sight, soul and spirit of all present. As many people responded to the altar call at the end of the service, the beauty of salvation shone through the tears of everyone moved by the love of God.
Even as the candle lights have been blown out, one year ends and an exciting one begins!