Where will you be my darling? Where will you be when the dark is rising?
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The weekend last week for me was a really enjoyable one.
On Friday, I went off with Eleanore and Jonathan to City Hall, at St Andrews Church, supposedly to practice a bit with Michelle for the cellgroup praise and worship later. We were early, so I decided to check out the church, which I've always seen from a distance, very impressed by the architecture, but never actually went in to. I stepped inside what would be considered the auditorium and instantly I felt awesome reverence for the interior. It looks like a traditional Catholic church but its Anglican. But the inside looks so much more beautiful than most churches... adorned with many plaques and traditional church antiquities, it looked really grand. There's the usual stained glass, and the crosses and depictions of Jesus and the apostles. The ceiling is really high and there's fans scattered throughout the place. The pews are just as you expect from those old churches, in front of each pew is some kind of slanted table from the pew in front, where it can be used as a place to put your books or something. Below these slanted "tables" are stacks of books, neatly arranged, for the people. Bibles (they use ESV, not NKJV like my church), common hymns (notably Catholic hymns), common praises and some Chinese Christian books are all available at the pews for anyone to use. A very practical furniture is a kind of "pouffe seat". Its a cushion on a wooden stool where it makes kneeling down much more comfortable. Honestly, that is really overlooked.
The beauty of the church struck me heavily, and I was just slowly walking around the whole auditorium, reading the memorials of people who died, the remembrance of certain people I assume were important to the church, and seeing certain verses of Scripture on gold plates. After a while I decided to take a seat and flip through the books at the pews. I skimmed through the hymns and Chinese books, but once I took the Bible, I just flipped through and read some verses that really stood out to me in this season. And I tried something I never did in an old traditional church before. Pray. I took out the cushion, kneeled on it and began speaking in tongues. Quietly of course... there's other people around, sparsely scattered around the place, doing their own prayers and devotions. Now I love my church and am proud of it. But there's no place in City Harvest like this, where I can just take my time in prayer and worship anytime I want. The advanced lightings, wow... the most powerful sound system in the world... woots, the great modern look and settings are brilliant no doubt, but its not open for the public to go in at any time. Having this quiet time in a church that's been around for hundreds of years is just different from when I pray at home. I don't know... the atmosphere just fits what I want to do... dwell in His presence. I remember Phil Pringle once mentioned that when he started praying, he went somewhere to pray. When he prayed what he felt was 2 hours, barely 5 minutes had passed. He felt discouraged but slowly began disciplining himself to pray. And some time later, when he prayed what he felt was only 5 minutes, over 2 hours had passed. I experienced this while praying at St Andrews. After reading the Bible for a short while, I prayed what felt like only 5 minutes. Once I finished praying, I stood up and went out, only to realize Michelle had already practiced with them and left, and Jonathan told me I had been in there for over an hour. I may not have had a 23 000-member strong congregation bring down the presence of God in such a powerful way to make me weep, I may not have had 23 000 members praising and shouting to create a great atmosphere of faith, but I did do what God said... "Be still, and know that I am God." I had a time of still quietness and peace with God. It's truly beautiful... dwelling in the presence of such rich history and architecture around you. And especially in His presence.