What has this crisis revealed about us? Church leaders urge faith, not fear
Thir.st // February 8, 2020, 1:28 am
In a post that was shared even by the Deputy Prime Minister, ministry staff Timothy Weerasekera pointed out that while many of us aren’t old enough to remember what happened with SARS in 2003, we will be remembered for how we’re reacting to the novel coronavirus now.
Pastors Andre Tan and Chua Chung Kai also took to Facebook to share their thoughts on the fear that swept the nation after Singapore raised its DORSCON level to Orange. We thank them for speaking up when the time called for it.
TIMOTHY WEERASEKERA, CORNERSTONE COMMUNITY CHURCH
“The future is watching”
My fellow Singaporeans, we’ve done this before.
Some of us were just students when this happened last. Some of us were not born. Some of us paid the ultimate price. The rest of us weathered the storm.
Regardless of where you were in 2003, what matters is that you’re here now. And what we will be remembered for is how we reacted – what we did.
We will survive this, and we will look back on ourselves. When we do, what will we see?
When DORSCON escalated from Yellow to Orange, did we panic?
Did we empty the supermarket shelves? Did we avoid others like the plague and did we allow thoughtless xenophobia to fracture our peace? Did we go about life, cavalier to our responsibilities to our fellow man, and did we think only of ourselves?
Or did we defy the odds?
Did we keep our spirits up and show the world what resilience and unity look like? Did we honour the best efforts of our leaders, nurses and doctors? Did we protect one another? Did we lend a helping hand?
And were we, in our own small ways, a part of the solution?
Today we stand at the crossroads of history and we have a choice. Now is the time to prove who we are. The future is watching.
ANDRE TAN, THE CITY SINGAPORE
“Unique opportunity in time presented to the Church”
As a church, we have good, thought through, measured responses in place. All of which are in line with MOH’s recommendations and come after exercising prayerful consideration and sound wisdom.
While that is well, good and right, I am also cognizant of the unique opportunity in time presented to the Church.
The Church in its history has faced persecution, martyrdom, and unimaginable darkness. It has outlasted empires, cultures, nations, and kingdoms.
For as the Scriptures proclaim, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16: 18 ESV). Other translations use “overpower.” It is easy to forget this as we face the challenges of our day.
This is our opportunity, Church.
Let us stand resolute in hope. Let us exercise our faith by praying and believing for divine protection and healing for our land.
Let us not contribute and participate in the fear we see all around us by being governed by a “peace that surpasses all understanding”.
In a cultural climate of mass hysteria, fear and anxiety, let us be a people who exhibit resolute hope, audacious faith and unexplainable peace.
REV DR CHUA CHUNG KAI, COVENANT EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH
“We are being tested again”
Seventeen years ago, Singapore was tested with SARS. Those of us who lived through those days would remember the fear and, by God’s grace, the triumph, when it was over.
And here we are, being tested again by the current coronavirus. Have I learnt anything?
I do believe our nation has come away stronger since 17 years ago. There are more measures and preparations put in place and, in that sense, we are better prepared.
Nonetheless, we are being tested again.
I pen these thoughts as a pastor, a disciple, a husband, a father, indeed, a human being.
To say that I am not afraid would be a lie. On the other hand, to say that I am terrified would also not be true.
So what do I think about the current situation?
1. It is a reminder of my mortality
I am reminded that death stalks us all the time. The current virus outbreak merely brings that more to the fore. Do I truly believe that there is life after I die? Indeed, do I really know God and believe that this life is not all there is?
I am reminded that I will die. And that death is not the end, because of what Jesus has done for me. I am deeply grateful!
2. It is a reminder of my values
I fear death to the degree I cling on to this life. I cling on to this life perhaps because I want the things here more than heaven. I need to take a good hard look at how I live – where are my treasures?
Am I only saying I long for God and yet, at the same time, want the blessings of this life here? (This is not to call us to be ascetics and run off to a monastery.) But am I trying to serve two masters?
Is my fear a reflection that my treasures may be misplaced?
3. It is a reminder of my need
We are made to need God. That is the creature we are. We are dependent beings, contingent to our Creator.
But life in the “normal” lulls me into a sense of complacency where I can live through many days without God. Difficult situations are reminders of my need for God. It can make us more dependent on Him. And anything that makes us dependent on Him cannot be bad.
Someone once said: “Don’t waste a good crisis!”
In other words, I am being tested now. Do I really trust God? (This does not mean I do not take precautions.)
What’s really, really important to me? Am I fully a disciple of Jesus? Who is truly my Master?
Someone once said: “Don’t waste a good crisis!”
This current crisis is God’s way of revealing to me what’s on my inside. What has it revealed to you?
THINK + TALK
- Are your actions being driven by more faith or fear?
- What does faith + works look like in this current situation?
- If you’re being tested, how do you think you’re faring? What result would you like to work towards?