ALTAR CALL: Christians ‘must display’ humility
“Joyful, joyful we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love . . . .”
THESE WORDS from the Hymn of Joy, written as a poem by Henry van Dyke in 1907, rang out in the sanctuary of St George’s Parish Church as the 10 a.m. Wednesday Mass got under way recently.
More than 60 people sang lustily, charging the atmosphere with their worship. Voices blended harmoniously to produce a seemingly spontaneous choir.
Most of those present (mainly women) were retired church members, visitors or employees who forsook their work stations to be spiritually refreshed and renewed under the ministry of rector, Reverend John Rogers.
Mass started soon after the “church bell” signalled the call to draw oneself away from the business of life, at least for an hour.
In his sermon, which followed the readings of Acts 1:1-9, Psalm 98:1-4 and Mark 6:8-9, Rogers spoke of the need for Christians to display humility in ministry, to have a heart of love and care for others, and to evangelise the world for Christ.
“Our call is to go into every nation that all may hear the Word of God. For this to happen, we must adapt a posture of humility, put on faith, and have love for one another so we may truly do the work of God and generations to come will glorify Him,” Rogers declared.
He placed significant emphasis on Jesus’ charge to His disciples to go from village to village but not to take anything for the journey (of evangelising), except a staff. They were also warned not to take bread, a bag or money; only sandals on their feet and no extra shirt.
Rogers reasoned that Jesus wanted his disciples to “go into the world” based on their preaching of the Gospel and not on what they could acquire from its preaching.
“For many people Christianity is about what I can get. Material blessings, however, are not necessarily a sign of blessing,” he stressed, adding that church growth “comes in God’s time and on His terms.
“At times we are called not to see the final product, but to lay the foundation.”
The cleric said that Jesus’ disciples did not see the real growth of the church in their time. Likewise, he noted, believers should faithfully lay the foundation of the Gospel message, set aside self, look beyond their material successes, get a glimpse of the bigger picture and “ensure God receives the glory”.
He declared: “As we are sent out, we must set aside the trappings of material things, take only that which we need and focus on glorifying God.”
The former teacher also warned his listeners: “Those to whom we are called to minister are not ours; they are God’s. We should minister genuinely to them despite any differences.
“Our call is to go into every nation that all may hear the Word. We must not be so extravagant that people are attracted to us rather than the message of the Gospel. We must go out [with humbleness of heart] and build for the sake of future generations.”
The one-hour service concluded following further worship in song, prayers and Holy Communion. Thereafter, many sought to greet Rogers as he stood at the main entrance of the church, while some hurried off to work or mingled, before setting off for home – spiritually renewed.
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