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Watchnight 2017: All Glory Be To Christ!

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders strive
To you who boast tomorrow's gain
Tell me, What is your life?
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ! 

(Sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne)

Echoing the words of Psalm 90, the strong singing of this New Year hymn was soul-stirring for about 120 members of Grace Baptist Church who attended the Watchnight Service in 2017.

watchnight-dec-17-4The marathon service – our first to end at midnight in some time – was a sweet time of worship, reflection, sharing, and re-covenanting as a church. The evening began with a simple catered dinner and conversations, with various groups catching up at the end of the holiday season.

As other church members began to arrive, we began the service with a call to worship from Isaiah 40:27-31 considering our eternal and everlasting God, who unlike us, never grows tired or weary from year to year. We prayed the Lord’s Prayer together, and led by Lup Meng, Winnie on the piano and young Esther on violin, we sang songs that exalt His name.

In his message, Pastor Ian explained Psalm 90, the only one by Moses, and we eavesdropped on the prayer of a Mediator between God and Israel. Pastor Ian urged us to meditate on the wrath of God and His mercy towards us in Christ (Ps 90:10-11), and to number our days not backwards on days gone by, but forwards to the days we have to live for Him (Ps 90:12). Following from his morning sermon, he also invited us to ask God to show us His work in us before we ask Him to bless our work for Him (Ps 90:16).  

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After a break, we went into groups for personal reflection and sharing – though there was an audible groan when Samuel first announced the segment. That reluctance turned into warm affection as church members shared about their highs and lows in 2017, struggles with sin, and offered one another encouragement. This prompted Samuel to say that this was “one of his best moments in 2017” – watching the church experience the unity and joys of Christian love.

This was followed by a series of testimonies from church members, both live and pre-recorded, about their year. We heard from Mrs Poulson and Siang about their grief, comfort and peace in the Lord with the passing of Dr P. Charles Tan, who experienced health-related crises in 2017, and had never shared a testimony publicly in his many years at Grace, also took the mic to share about God’s provision, as did Simon Seah, who spoke about his stroke, and testified about God’s preparation for and blessing through personal adversity. By video, we heard from our missionaries Ping & Heidi, and David & Gladys Chang & family who are out in the field, giving us updates and greetings, and urging us to not be ashamed of the gospel. Closer to home, Gerald and Jo Keow Chua shared from the perspective of Children’s Ministry teachers ministering to the little ones at GBC, and as parents appreciative of our Youth Ministry team.

Finally, Auntie Poh Kin’s video testimony about her recent trip to Chiang Mai at age 97 for evangelism reminded us that “we can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Phi 4:13). We praise God for teaching us deep lessons through these lives.

The final segment of the programme included a Year in Review video of 2017 in summary of our life together. In the final few moments of 2017, we then gathered around the table of the King for the Lord’s Supper, a poignant reminder of what Christ did to make us one. Pastor Eugene also urged us to examine ourselves and reflect on sins to be confessed, and relationships to be mended as the new year looms close. We then renewed our commitments to God, His church and one another, using the updated language of our Members’ Covenant.

However, we were 5 minutes short of the new year countdown, and after singing a hymn – and one verse of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” from memory – we ushered in the new year with handshakes, hugs, and many smiles.

To close the evening, we reminded ourselves, in the song “All Glory Be To Christ”, that our lives are like a mist and grass, but the word of Christ is forever – and He is making all things new, even in this new year. All glory be to Christ our King!