By Not Known
‘Time, Gentlemen please’ used to be the closing time cry by the landlord in English pubs. Only six months ago I was writing my introductory pastoral message, and I can scarcely believe time has flown so quickly. You may feel differently!
Time is a fascinating concept and our perceptions of time differ radically. A short amount of time may seem to be an eternity, a long period of time can seem like just a moment. If we are enjoying something, time flashes by. But if we are not enjoying something, time can really drag. Albert Einstein once commented that two hours with your girlfriend seems like two minutes, two minutes sitting on a hot surface seems like two hours! Our sense of time can be very subjective. I’d probably better not say how I feel about our time at ORPC!
The Bible is particularly rich in its understanding of time. There is the understanding of the length of time – chronological time – the time we are given here on this earth, and the sense of one generation and then another. There is the understanding of time as governing the pattern of our lives. Ecclesiastes talks of a time for everything and a season for every activity, a time to be born and a time to die… There is the understanding of time as an opportunity – opportunity time, the right time, the kairos time of the coming of Jesus. There is the understanding of time as a specific or special moment. As Jesus looks to the Cross, he sees the hour is coming and now is when the Son of man will be glorified. There are times of crisis, times for specific decision making. And there is the understanding of eternity time – timeless time. Jesus talks about being with us to the end of the age, the end of time. There is a richness of time in scripture that makes our human time management ideas and our striving to fill up our time with activity look very impoverished.
So what kind of time are we looking forward to in ORPC? Is it to the celebration of the next church anniversary and the 155 years of our existence? Is it to a pattern of church life in which there is a time for everything? Or is it to the opportunities the present time is opening out to us and the specific challenges of the hour?
We have the opportunity to be a light in Orchard Road, a Christian presence in the roar and busyness of life. Perhaps we cannot be a 24/7 church, but as we are now known as ‘The Banner church’, at least to taxi drivers, we should be able to personalise our outreach on a more daily basis.
We also have the opportunity for leadership renewal through the calling of a new senior minister not just from overseas but from Singapore and through the election of new elders and deacons.
We have the opportunity to play our part in the unity of the Presbyterian church as a whole. We have the opportunity for missions with other Asian churches.
We have the opportunity to be a church centred on the word and prayer in the centre of Singapore. Perhaps it is the ‘now’ time for ORPC.
But for me it is now the time to stop and with Lai Leng to say goodbye. To stop is easy. To say goodbye is more painful. We have been blessed in so many ways in the renewal of old friendships and the forming of new ones, that words are quite inadequate to express what we feel and the thanks we want to say. We can only pray and hope that God has ministered to you in some measure of the way you have ministered to us. Space coincidentally as well as time has run out. So goodbye and God bless.