We rejoice with our youths today and adults as they get confirmed on Sunday. Most of our youths were baptised as infants and grew up in our parish community.
Confirmation is a meaningful Anglican rite in a few ways. It allows those who were baptised as infants to confess their faith. It is also a process which makes one a legal member of MPCC. While undoubtedly, a believer is already a member of the Body of Christ, this localised “membership” signals one commitment to a local church. In a society like ours, which is strictly governed by the rule of law, these legal status – even of a parish - is important. There are obligations and benefits both ways, for the individual and for the local body.
And of course, being de facto a member of the Diocesan family with links to the world-wide Communion is also meaningful in a variety of ways. This is why our Bishop or his episcopal deputies are the only one who will lay hands on the confirmands. And along with that, he will be praying that we will be filled (again) in the Holy Spirit.
Speaking about MPCC being part of a wider family, do you know that we are also overseeing the work of St Andrew’s Autism School at Elliot Road and St Andrew’s Adult Autism Home at Sengkang? At the School, chaplain Revd David Teo and members of Chapel of Christ our Hope (which is also a daughter congregation of MPCC) are deeply involved. At the Adult Home, Revd Teo is also the chaplain, but they do need a parish community to support this needed but difficult work. Here is where, we can come in.
We hope to organise a recce trip to the Home soon. Perhaps this is where some of us can consider how we may serve and support the work. Our Diocese, from many years ago, has chosen to focus on this difficult area of work.
The lectionary reading from Luke 14 on the parable of the Great Feast is a reminder that we need to invite those on the byways and highways.” In Singapore, these will be the marginalised or “hidden needy”. They do not get invited to our usual parties, dinners or social events. The various parables in this chapter which end with Jesus’s teaching on the cost of discipleship should cause us to think deeper of our commitment to follow Christ.
Community work need to go beyond brownie points collection, pity or even the rich’s sense of “guilt and need to do something” motivations. It has to plough deeper. The work is likely to last and truly make a difference if it is premise on the love and humility of Christ, with a genuine un-self compassion for everyone, the marginalised included. It is a mature Christian spirituality which we are all involved to grow into.
And may we indeed be good examples and shape the culture into which our younger confirmands can grow into and carry into future generations.