Sunday, August 05, 2007


I was not down to preach or celebrate at a church this weekend so I took the opportunity to attend 2 mega church services during the weekend.

By a strange coincidence both services included The Lord's Supper. The preparation before the sacred meal was short, informal and dependant on the spontaneous words of the elder who presided over the elements of bread & wine. Passages of scripture were read aloud before a brief exhortation which then led to the administering of the Lord's supper.

Both churces did not have a prayer of confession neither was there a statement which excluded non baptised persons from participating. Missing also was the aura of sacrifice in the Eucharist. Aiyaaahhh...the Anglican in me cringed. It needs to be said however that I felt at home in the midst of God's people. It took both churches roughly 10 minutes to round up the Lord's supper.

The preaching in both churches lasted for about 40 to 45 minutes. One lady preacher used used a slick power point presentation. The male preacher from the other church flashed his scripture passages on the screen. Both messages came from sincere hearts. He, an associate pastor, sounded like the Senior Pastor in that his message came across with lots of authority.

Singapore churches have been blessed with strong local leadership. Its sometimes difficult for young Singaporean christians to fully appreciate what the Lord has done in raising the current generation of local leaders. Young christians in their 20's never experienced the trials of first generation local Singaporean pastors. It was only in the 60's that the locals began to assume major leadership positions.

The highlight for me however was a time of sharing with Mr Lim at a food court after one of the services. I was eating brunch - char siew pow (buns with pork filling) and teh si (tea with evaporated milk). A man bought his coffee mug and sat opposite me; he carried a small bible on his other hand. He returned my friendly smile and before long I asked him about his church affiliation. And that got us into a free wheeling discussion which lasted for about 45 minutes; we covered a range of topics from evangelism to fallen pastors.

I was surprised when Lim said that some of his non christian friends confronted him with ideas from Richard Dawkins, the atheist philosopher. I thought that Dawkins was too high brow for the average christian. Was I wrong in my assumptions? Were Lim's friends the exception? Hmnn...I wonder.


Anonymous said...

"aura of sacrifice"? please explain to an interested novice.

Anonymous said...

The aura of sacrifice refers to the emphasis given to Christ's death on Cross as God's priestly sacrifice for our sins in Sunday services. Christ is not only God's offering He is also the High Priest who presents himself as the passover lamb. The aura of sacrifice refers to this great priestly act that is fleshed out elaborately in anglican, lutheran, catholic liturgies

Evangelical churches on the other hand view the Lord's Supper only as a memorial to what Jesus did on their behalf 2000 years ago. The elements are not consecrated but presented to the people as remembrances.

The Anglican understanding of the Lord's Supper rests on Christ's priestly act of presenting himself as God's holy sacrifice. Hence the Pastor is the Priest who consecrates the elements of bread of wine as Christs Body and Blood. More time is given to this act and the components of the service build toward the reception of the Bread and Wine.

He intercedes for fallen humanity as God's substitute on the Cross. Hence he is the Lamb Of God. The epistle to the Hebrews deepens the theology and presents Christ as our High Priest.

On a practical level therefore we would frame our services/liturgy around Christ's priestly act in the Lord's supper. The intercessions, preaching, confession of faith would lead up to the eucharist.

In the evangelical tradition the preaching is at the centre of the service and the altar call would be a response to the sermon.

In the historical tradition however the sermon prepares God's people to recieve Christ's sacrifice in the bread and wine. This is our altar call. We then become conscious of sacrifice as crucial in our walk as Christ's disciples.

Anonymous said...

aura of sacrifice refers to the enactment of christ's sacrifice in the Sunday liturgy and its implications for the believer.

evangelical churches tend to emphasise the implications of Christ's death on the cross in their understanding of the Lord's Supper.