Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Celestial Choir member, Shane Seah, shares his observations and reflections from the Living Word service that was held at KKMC on 24 June 2022.
I first heard about the Living Word in May this year, when Judith, KKMC’s choir director, started enlisting volunteers from the church’s Chancel and Celestial choirs to be a part of the worship service. The Living Word service would be a part of the celebrations for the Methodist School of Music’s (MSM) 25th anniversary, so this occasion would be especially significant for Judith, who is the school’s Director of Worship and Church Music.
I committed myself to weekly choir practices in June as well as a final rehearsal with all the participants a few days before the event. As part of my preparation, I decided to do some research about the MSM, since we were celebrating a milestone year.
The Methodist Church in Singapore established its own sacred music and educational institution, allowing lay ministry members to have access to worship training outside of theological seminaries. This became known as the Methodist School of Music and it has borne fruit for all to witness. Visiting their campus in Hillview, I have always had the impression of a music institution that helps their students, young and old, hone their craft in music; it is also a venue for lay ministry members to receive worship training. Personally, I have also had to opportunity to attend church choir retreats here on a few occasions!
We got down to the business of choir rehearsals briskly and with enthusiasm. As the choristers for the Living Word comprised members from both of KKMC’s choirs, the Chancel and Celestial Choirs, we practiced in the sanctuary as that space was big enough to accommodate all of us. I was pleased to see new faces in the choir, particularly the children of choir members, who had previously sung in KKMC’s children’s choir, the Cherubim Choir. That was a welcome sight and their youthful energy contributed wonderfully to the choir’s tone.
When seated with the choir at the front of the sanctuary, you get to see worshippers as they prepare for service. Crane your head to the left and you see people gathered under the beams of the sanctuary, perhaps to avoid the chilly gust of the air-conditioning? Tilt your head to the right and you would see people scattered randomly in the side wing after the main wing is snugly occupied. Look straight ahead and you will find people seated in the main wing, quietly waiting for the service to begin. Back when Covid meant that we had to limit the number of congregants for our worship services and worshippers had to sit apart from each other, the sanctuary would have been much emptier. I was thankful that God had brought us to this point, where we could worship Him together in this event.
My favourite hymn from this service is ALL GOOD GIFTS, which was sung during the segment called “Receive”. One recurring line stood out to me, “Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all His love.” This reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” During the service, Lynette read a verse that echoes my feelings of gratitude and peace in God, “…I do not live in anxious suspicion, nervous about what others might do to me, what others might think of me. I simply discover and receive.”
With a grateful quiet in my heart, I sang His praises with as much gusto as I could summon, read His Word with everyone at service, enjoyed the music played by the musicians and sung the soloists that night, and joined in the prayers of the worship leaders.
In this “new normal”, I am grateful for all that God has given us.
Love to hear more hymns? Join us for our annual Hymn Fest worship service. The service timings are 8am and 10am, on 28 August 2022 (Sunday), at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church Sanctuary.