With familiar greetings like 万事如意 (Wan Shi Ru Yi — “success in all things”) and 恭喜发财 (Gong Xi Fa Cai — “blessings and prosperity”), City Harvest Church (CHC) celebrated the Lunar New Year with vibrance and colors of the festive season.
For one, the usual services held on Sundays were canceled on the eve of the Lunar New Year on 25 January 2009. The eve of the New Year is a very important day for most Chinese as that is the day to prepare for the Reunion Dinner at night. For some families, this is an elaborate event where immediate and extended families “reunite” from wherever they are, to sit down and have a meal together. So on Saturday 24 January, the worship venues at Jurong West and Expo Hall 8 were bursting at the seams with both services seeing the halls jam-packed.
To complement the festive mood, the CHC Worship Team kicked off the service with timeless and upbeat Lunar New Year classics such as “恭喜恭喜你 (Gong Xi Gong Xi Ni) ” and “大地回春 (Da Di Hui Chun).” It was a sight to behold as the congregation exchanged their greetings and well-wishes with each other during the singing. In line with the festive mood, clusters of red could be seem among the congregation as some cell groups coordinated their outfits to dress in red.
Laughter filled the air as Jack Neo, our very own homegrown Singaporean film maker, actor and producer tickled the congregation with a two-minute trailer of his latest production, Love Matters. A must watch for true-blue Singaporeans everywhere, the complexities of love are addressed through simple, household relationships. The movie made its big screen debut on 22 January 2009, just in time for the Chinese New Year season.
The highlight of the service was undoubtedly Kong Hee’s powerful and mind-blowing message. Simultaneously translated into Mandarin by Fu Lulu, Kong challenged the pre-conceived stereotypical notion that Christianity is a western man’s religion and that it has no part in the Chinese culture.
Contrary to that, Kong expounded on the evidence that certain Chinese characters pictorially captures significant events in time dating back to 4,000 years of Chinese history. More specifically, the early events of Christianity; namely, the Tower of Babel, the Great Flood and Creation, were captured in the writing of these characters. Such an example would be the chinese character “福”.
|PHOTOS: Yan Juyi & Wendell Wee|
“福 (Fu)” or blessing, can be broken down into a simple sentence; “God, with one breath, gave soul to a garden” (一口: “one breath”; 田: “garden”). This is in line with Genesis 1:28, where God gave Adam and Eve to tend the garden of Eden. Other examples of Chinese characters were given and evidently drew distinct correlations between early biblical events and the Chinese Language. Furthermore, such pictorial evidence existed 2,500 years before religion was even established. What a revelation!
21-year-old Material Science and Engineering undergraduate, Rachel Tan, was thrilled to express her thoughts on the sermon. “What I have learnt in the first two weeks of Chinese Literature (a module that she is taking) made a lot of sense. This message clarified the fact that Chinese people are descendants of the son of heaven, which is similar to the creation of Adam.”
As always, Kong extended his blessings over the congregation with his signature Chinese New Year catchphrase and moniker, “Kong Hee Fatt Choy!”