Easter is upon us in three days. This is the most important day in the Christian calendar—the day of Jesus’ resurrection. In this special feature, City News writers share their reflections on Jesus’ work on the cross and why this Easter is special.
Holy Week (the week that begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday) invites a level of conflict: it is sombre as we remember the suffering of Jesus at the crucifixion, but it is also jubilant as we celebrate His victory on the cross.
This year, the conflict is made poignant by political unrest and socio-economic challenges. As Singapore, along with most the world, eases COVID-19 restrictions and slowly segues into an endemic situation, Christians can finally gather in church to worship God freely without social distancing. Yet, we do so to the background of war in Ukraine and fast-rising prices for daily needs, from petrol to eggs—a situation that sits uncomfortably at the back of our minds. But amid the tough times we live in, we choose to celebrate and worship.
Why? Because Easter reminds us that no matter what state the world is in, Jesus has won the victory. We gathered our writers and asked them to share their reflections on what Easter means to them in this present time.
JESUS’ LOVE TRIUMPHS IN A TIME OF WAR
Melissa Koh: “Jesus’ resurrection is evidence of the hope I have”
“We remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. When Jesus was resurrected, He accomplished this part of God’s redemption plan for humankind.
“The past two years have flown past in a blur. COVID-19 has changed many of our lives. For those of us living in Singapore, plans have been disrupted; but for many around the world, their loved ones have succumbed to this disease and passed away. Just as we are finally seeing what we hope will be the end of COVID-19, Russia has started a war against Ukraine, and people are suffering and perishing.
“Despite the gloom we face today, Jesus’ victorious resurrection is and always will be evidence of the hope I can have in the face of adversities. A believer’s comfort is that the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. The final victory belongs to the Lord. It is the reason I can praise the Lord in all circumstances.
“Another visual I hold close to my heart is the image of the curtain of the temple being torn in two from top to bottom, the same moment Jesus gave up His Spirit. This means we can enter the Holy of Holies and His presence without the same restrictions the worshipers used to face.
“Without this, we would not be able to enjoy the refreshing presence of God; it would be difficult to sustain a child-like faith amidst all the troubles.”
Angela Ouyang: “This Easter, I return to my first love”
“The past two years have been a dry season for many of us, with the pandemic consuming most of our lives. This year as we regain some semblance of normalcy, I feel led to move away from this season by going back to the beginning, to our foundations, and to my first love. This makes Easter especially significant, as it is a reminder of Jesus’ work on the cross. We often forget that His work on the cross is the very foundation of Christianity—for the cross is where He showed the ultimate act of love, and where we were saved.”
Chloe Lee: “Bad things happen but God’s people can still bask in His love”
“We are living in unprecedented times with many questions left unanswered even by the world’s best scientists and economists. The war between Russia and Ukraine is depressing, and the pandemic has wreaked havoc, leaving millions still on tenterhooks.
“Reflecting on this past year, I realised that when my mother fell very ill during my final exams last year, I didn’t dwell in fear. Because I’m certain that while bad things happen to us all, God’s people can still bask in His love, knowing that we will be safe. There may be dark seasons in life, but if we remain steadfast, we know that God will bring us out of our situations better and stronger.
“Easter is a time to remember that when Jesus died on the cross, all our sins were forgiven. I do not need to fear death because our names are already etched in heaven, and I know that I am God’s beloved, and he will never forsake me. Let us all remember the truth of Easter this season. His resurrection is the truth that gives us hope and revelations in times of struggle. May we continue to let our faith be deeply rooted in the spirit of gratitude and wait for the victory in the darkness. We will rise like one people in the name of Jesus for we are the Easter people, and Hallelujah is our song!”
Ernest Cheng: “This Easter marks the resurrection of my walk with God”
“I strongly feel that Easter mirrors the resurrection of my walk with God over the years. Over the years, my walk with God had been topsy-turvy, to say the least. I was not very interested in attending church services at all, and I chased an ungodly lifestyle. However, City Harvest Church and God really helped to reignite my passion for Christ. From all the cell group meetings to the intimate encounters with God, every single moment had pushed me to rediscover what it truly meant to follow Jesus. As we look back on how Jesus rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, I can’t help but think of how it falls in line with my walk with Christ—true resurrection.”
Priscilla Peck: “Easter is a season of renewed hope for me”
“As I reflect on Easter every year, it speaks of the season of renewed hope for me, personally. Jesus’ death and resurrection mean He lives, and because He lives, we can hope for greater things ahead. Hope is what gives us the strength to continue on days when we struggle to even get out of bed. Proverbs 29:18 says that ‘without vision, the people perish’. To have a vision is to have hope. Without it, we would be walking down a road of darkness but because of God’s love on the Cross, we know that God’s with us, and we will make it through triumphantly.”
EASTER IS THE GREATEST MOMENT IN HISTORY
Clinton Dixon: “Easter is not a timestamp, it is a living breathing reminder”
“Death. Resurrection. Ascension. If there was ever a mic drop moment in the history of the world, this is it. Led into Jerusalem on a donkey as Israel celebrated the Passover, there is no greater sight than seeing Jesus, branches laid before Him, people chanting ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ being led down the road to His destiny and ours.
“And therein lies the juxtaposition in it all. Death leads to life. Jesus overcomes our sins. Easter is not just a timestamp in history but a living, breathing reminder that we must carry with us 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Theresa Tan: “The deep impact of what Jesus endured still brings tears to my eyes”
“My first Easter as a Christian nearly 20 years ago was a very emotional one as I watched the movie, The Passion Of The Christ during Lent. The deep impact of what Jesus endured on the cross for me—the pain, the shame, the rejection—never left me. In fact, it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about that moment in the dark cinema when it hit me that His love for me was immeasurable. So, each year Easter brings me back to that same deep place where I met Him and understood His heart for me.”
Michelle Heng: “I’m reminded of God’s great and unconditional love”
“I received Jesus into my life at CHC’s 2005 Easter service, which was filled to capacity at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Whenever the Easter season draws near, I’m reminded of God’s great and unconditional love. This year, I’m so excited that more people will get to experience the Easter service in church physically, and I’m believing many will be touched by the love and presence of God, just like I was 17 years ago!”
COMING BACK TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE EASTER IN CHURCH
Barnabas Bay: “I came to Christ during Easter and I’m excited to see people respond to altar call this weekend”
“The feeling of attending service at Suntec again is surreal. For the last two years, Easter felt so distant as I had to experience it online. I did go for viewing parties, but none of the experiences felt the same as being on-site for service. Seeing people respond and go down for altar calls will feel rather special as I came to Christ during Easter as well. It would’ve been different if I had been watching online back then. The lack of human touch has been evident in the last two years, and it made the few Easter services we had, feel a little impersonal. Coming back on-site without the worry of ticketing this year is a mixture of nostalgia and a breath of fresh air.”
Neo Jie Xin: “It’s heartening to gather together physically to celebrate”
“In the past few weeks, it has been amazing to connect again with more of our cell group members as we can now gather in a larger group. We never thought we would miss getting seats! Being able to sing as a congregation, with restrictions lifted, just feels like our spirits have been lifted as well. With Easter coming, it’s heartening to know that we can gather together physically as a body of Christ to celebrate. As a cell group, we are all very excited about the Easter service, and we are praying for our friend’s and family members’ hearts to be so open as we invite them to the onsite services. Believing that it will be a powerful service!”
Destiny Goh: “Celebrating Easter away from home but with my cell group brings forth meaningful fellowship”
“Church services at home became a new norm for a short period of time. It was exciting initially—you get the whole family together to worship God. But soon, we became so comfortable worshipping God in our pyjamas and having toast bread in hand—that somehow didn’t seem right.
“When the ticketing system first started, it was one step closer toward physical on-site worship and gradually as the restrictions were lifted, being able to gather once more as a congregation with hands all lifted in the arena and voices bursting out worship is a privilege, I’ll never take for granted anymore.
“This Easter is different for me as I’m spending it away from my family in Malaysia. Being able to be with my cell group members during Easter, celebrating God’s gift of hope to mankind together with a community has brought forth meaningful fellowship.”
Shirley Chew: “Easter reminds me that God is in control of all my uncertainties”
“Going back on-site definitely hits differently from watching service online. The first on-site service I attended during the pandemic was in September 2021. It was held in Hall 605 then and I remember vividly that the presence of God was so strong that I wept throughout the service. I am very thankful for His grace and mercy towards me.
“I always had the mindset that because of my work in the service line, it is impossible to attend services on the weekend. However, my mother’s unwavering love and encouragement prompted me to request a day off on Saturday. Praise God, I was able to attend service that day.
“Sadly, I found out that my company will be closing down that Wednesday. I was devastated and plagued with uncertainties. Yet at the same time, I felt the assurance that I will be able to find another job. I am grateful l that I took a leap of faith to ask for time off to attend service that weekend. Because of that, the peace of God came and reminded me that He is in control of all my uncertainties.
“I am thankful that this year, we can celebrate Easter as a large congregation again. It is because of Him that we are able to persevere through the pandemic victoriously.”