City Harvest’s Dialect Church had a blast of a weekend, with an Easter drama that goes back in time, the launch of a brand new album and, most importantly, 19 decisions for Christ.
The setting: colonial Singapore, circa 1920. The message: timeless. City Harvest’s Dialect Church presented its Easter drama on Mar 24 at the church’s Jurong West premises, telling the story of a coolie who crosses paths with Jesus. It is a tale of one man’s fall and subsequent redemption through the timely intervention of Jesus Christ.
Despite the rain that Sunday afternoon, members of the Dialect Service turned up for the special celebration service, a week ahead of Good Friday on Mar. 29.
Said Jeronn Loong, who played Jesus, “The story is about families with different backgrounds encountering different situations … these people came together in a time of crisis, and Jesus touched each of their lives.”
The cast of characters included an unscrupulous towkay (boss), a servant girl working under a cruel matriarch, and a weak-willed drug addict.
“The drama really spoke to those who have yet to know God. Since some elderly visitors cannot read, it helps that such performances depict the story of Jesus so that people can understand the Bible better,” said 88-year-old member Madam Soo Lee.
“I hope I was able to impart to the audience that Jesus loves them. At the cross, God sees them as if they have never sinned and is a loving Father who welcomes them,” added Loong. “The drama shows the relevance of the Gospel for modern society regardless of one’s social status.”
Kelvin Ong, who played the towkay, highlighted the message of redemption conveyed through his character’s death and subsequent resurrection by Jesus. “Through my character, a person can see how temporal the affairs of the world are,” Ong said. “Life is important and you owe it a great deal of responsibility. To be able to emerge from death represents another opportunity to appreciate it and guard your soul.”
As the drama concluded, Dialect Church pastor Maria Tok took to the pulpit and shared the three options one can choose from at the crossroad of life: staying down and doing nothing; taking the wrong path by choosing selfishness, over-confidence or fear; and finally, choosing the right road. Nineteen attendees responded to the altar call for salvation, which was followed by a prayer for healing.
That weekend also saw the launch of the Dialect Church’s first ever commercial praise and worship album, Xian Shang: Xian Shang Shen Ming, Xian Shang Gei Shen (Dedicate: Dedicated Lives, Dedicated God), which has met with many positive reviews.
“The first album we put out was seven years ago, which was given free to the Dialect Church congregation. But this time, the Praise and Worship team decided to compile a list of songs which were written by our very own Dialect Church volunteer singers, musicians and songwriters, and produce an album to bless the Hokkien and Cantonese-speaking members,” Tok explained.
Behind each song is a story, added Tok. “For example, “Wo De Quan Bu” (“My Everything”) was written by Joyce Tan when she was going through the darkest moment of her life and how she experienced a breakthrough in her life after experiencing the presence and love of God.”
Since it was launched last weekend, more than 1,000 copies of the album have been sold. “The heartfelt lyrics express the different experiences of faith, hope and love of our lives. I hope listeners will be mightily blessed by the songs,” said Tok.
Xian Shang: Xian Shang Shen Ming, Xian Shang Gei Shen is available for S$13.90 at The Ink Room during weekend services at Singapore Expo.
Read Joyce Tan’s personal testimony and the experience of recording the album here.