St. Andrew’s Church is Singapore’s oldest Anglican church, a lovely building located on Beach Road, so presumably at one time it fronted the water. The way that Singapore has added to its territory through landfill means that it no longer does, but it is still surrounded by park and has a serene and peaceful atmosphere. We decided to attend the Christmas Day service there.
I was baptised and confirmed in the Anglican church, as was my brother and sister. If you were British in the time we were born, that was standard practice. So I am well familiar with the liturgy and the book of Common Prayer that Anglicans follow. Pam and I have attended mass at Lincoln Cathedral, and know all about the incense and the processionals. There certainly is a place for such ritual and tradition within the large body of diversity that is the church of Christ on earth.
But we did not expect the emphasis on salvation and a personal connectedness to Christ that we found at St. Andrews. The message was one that any evangelical would have been comfortable with. And wonder of wonders the service was going to be followed by the baptism of adults by immersion! The Christian church in Asia is full of surprises.
We had two delightful Skype calls with our children and grandkids that morning, and encouraged by a suggestion by Greg, decided to have a look at ‘the world’s largest fountain’ which happened to be close by and which turned out to be completely underwhelming. A short hop on the MRT got us back to the condo where we are staying in time for a wee kip before dinner at Su Min’s.
Su Min and his wife Sing Yu (Chinese women rarely take their husband’s name) are doctors who have retired from their practice in Singapore. Su Min is part of the leadership team in Pam’s Cambodian ministry. They were gracious enough to invite us to their family Christmas meal. There was plenty of food and lively conversation, in my case it revolved mostly about the political situation in China and Singapore since that is my particular interest, and then a time of singing Christmas carols.
It was a blessing to have celebrated the birth of Christ with Asian believers yesterday, and we are grateful for God’s good hand in our lives. Technology has allowed to remain close with our family back home. We do miss them of course, but their greetings and especially the blessing of seeing their happiness is a great and meaningful joy. Have a great Christmas Day, wherever you are.