Watchnight Service 2018
Four whole hours together in church to end 2018 and usher in 2019 struck many as odd, and even more as far too long. Yet as watchnight came, the hours flew by as the 100 members or so of GBC came together to share with each other how God has been so good to us the past year.
We began our time with worship in song and the preaching of God’s Word, where Pastor Eugene preached from Phi 3:12-16. It was a stirring call to reflect and build on the pictures of God’s faithfulness to us so that we may endure and “strain forward to what lies ahead”. Pastor Eugene also helpfully reminded the church that a mature Christian is a growing Christian, and exhorted us to think about how we could do that together in 2019.
The rest of the night was peppered with several members sharing their testimonies, on top of members sharing with each other in pre-assigned groups. All through the night, we looked back on the year to see how God has helped us in clear specific ways, both on a personal and a corporate level. The group sharing helped us think about the faithfulness of a personal God, and also helped us see how God worked in truly mysterious ways in the past year, both in and through His people. From stories of heartache, lost loved ones and health issues, to open struggles with sin – God's grace was so clearly evident in the lives of ordinary members. Moreover, members came alongside each other to encourage one another to stand firm and fight the good fight in their struggles with sin, and to cling to the grace of God that they had been reminded of.
As the night wound down, we also heard from members like Pearl Lee and Wen Xiu how God had been so real in their lives. Pearl shared how fellow church members opened their houses to her and cared for her in real, practical ways in a difficult year, which was truly a picture of grace and love shown through the hospitality of ordinary members. Wen Xiu also shared how God had been faithful throughout her life, bringing her through the deep valleys of bulimia and infertility and back to Him, and in this past year where she was able to deliver her daughter Johanna.
As the new year approached, we covenanted together once again by partaking in the Lord's Supper and reciting the Members' Covenant, reminding us of our common identity in Christ as children of God and our commitments to God and to each other. Singing “All Glory Be To Christ”, we ushered in the new year with the keen reminder that the Lord is in control and that we can look beyond this new year to when His kingdom comes again. All glory be to Christ our King!