By: Dn Ng Zhiwen
Today is “Cooling Off Day”. I think I need it. The past few days of following the frenetic campaign trail have meant less sleep and more you-tube as I listen in on the speeches. I must confess I had often sought a good laugh (rally speeches can be quite hilarious). On other moments, I was just sheer curious. And on others, just hooked. Politics can be addictive. I have also found that it can be a very emotional affair (speaking as one who had the burden of voting in Aljunied GRC 5 years ago).
For many of you, this may be the first elections in Singapore that you are following with great interest. Some of you may even be voting for the first time (it is a tantalising prospect isn’t it), and wondering about how to make your choice. After all the campaign hype, you might even find yourself agonising over your decision on Election Day itself.
It is an important responsibility to bear. We should not make ourselves indifferent to matters of government and politics. Scripture exhorts us to submit ourselves to the earthly authorities as they are appointed by God to be His ministers (see Romans 13:1-7). We are further exhorted to pray for them (e.g. 1 Tim. 2:1-2)! We should concern ourselves with what is going on in the society around us, and to desire peace, and all the other qualities that will allow the Kingdom of God to be better reflected here on earth, and so help give speed to the proclamation of the gospel.
At the same time, we must take care not to be obsessed with political affairs, even during campaign season (no matter how entertaining). Believe me, I have to say this to myself too.
The main reason why I say we should not be obsessed with political affairs is because the hope of the world lies not in what sort of human government is placed over us. It lies in Jesus Christ. It lies in His church – yes, the community of faith that you and I are a part of in Christ. Of all institutions on earth, the church is the one that must be held most accountable, since it has been entrusted with the most important function on earth – the proclamation of the gospel, as the body of Christ. As it is with any earthly matter, an over-emphasis on politics will distract us from more urgent business.
Nonetheless, we are still exhorted to be good citizens under the law of God, and under the laws of the land (insofar as they do not contradict the law of God). And so, we must vote responsibly.
Furthermore, as the Church, we should also care about the direction that our nation seems to be taking. I have a strong belief that after the elections, things will not be the same again. In fact, it is quite obvious that there are powerful forces at work behind the scenes, and not all may be good. And my key question is this: What is its impact on the mission of the church? May the Lord frustrate any effort by the evil one to hinder the Church.
And so we await the Election Day.
Is it not also interesting that our Church’s Annual Congregational Meeting will be on the same day?
After exercising our Singaporean citizen responsibility, we will be gathering as the fellow citizens of Christ’s community for another election – the election of Church leaders. We have one pastor, one elder, and five deacons/deaconesses standing for election. Another four elders and 3 deacons will be standing for re-election.
ACM elections are quite different from parliamentary elections. The former do not involve any campaigning or competition. The ACM candidates stand on account of their character and report. They also stand on the recommendation of the Church leadership. They are standing to be servants (I hope that our political candidates will themselves as such too). Pray that we will elect the right persons into leadership.
If you are a Communicant Member of the Church, I hope that you will come for the ACM looking forward to participate in the community activity of electing our servant-leaders and understanding what lies ahead for our Church. I hope that it will be a time to look back on our past and give thanks for God’s blessings. May ACM be a time for celebration and dedication!
Even if you are not a Communicant Member, I encourage you to sit in and observe the proceedings. Even though you do not have the right to vote yet – you can still participate in the spirit of the community, and seek the wellbeing of the body of Christ. We are out of many, one.
To all of you, I hope that you will also be challenged and inspired by the testimonies of the Church leaders, heed God’s call upon your life, and step out in obedience to Him.