Sunday, December 28, 2008
Preaching at Medan Wesley Methodist Church Christmas Eve & Day Services
I was invited by the Wesley Methodist Church in Medan to preach at their Christmas Eve & Day Services (24 & 25 Dec 2008). It was an interesting experience to sit through two more or less traditional Methodist Church Christmas services. It is quite obvious that they had put in quite some effort at rehearsing the services & the special musical presentations to make sure the services are conducted as flawlessly as possible. This is quite unlike the more spontaneous services of charismatic churches. I enjoyed the songs & dance presented at the services.
For my accommodation, I was hosted by one of their church families (Satria & Jessica). Satria made sure that I was well taken care of.
My Christmas Day Eve Service message was based on Nicky Gumbel's talk, Why Christmas? focusing on the three gifts the Magi presented to Jesus: viz., gold (describing who Jesus is), frankincense (explaining why He came) and myrrh (defining his life mission, viz., to lay down his life as a ransom for many).
For the Christmas Day message, I shared the "Good News of Great Joy" that the angels proclaimed to the shepherds based on the three key words of the angelic announcement: "Today, in the town of David is born a (1) Saviour who is (2) Christ the (3) Lord." I explained that each word tells us an aspect of the Good News:
Firstly, "Saviour" proclaims the Good News that Jesus came to save us from our sins. He did not come primarily to deliver us from hell, but from ourselves. It is our personal sins that broke our relationship with the Father and He came to offer us forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Spirit to transform us as individuals. The focus of this Good News is transformation of the individuals.
Secondly, "Christ" proclaims the Good News that Jesus came as the Messiah-King to establish His rule over human societies and nations. He came to be King of kings, to establish God's rule over the nations. God's rule is to be extended to the nations through Christians in the world in their various vocations. Ministry is not limited to the weekend but extends to the weekdays. The focus of this Good News is the transformation of society.
Thirdly, "Lord" proclaims the Good News that Jesus came as the Creator-God to renew Creation, and to usher in the New Heaven & the New Earth. Not only are "souls" worth saving, even nature and its environment is the object of God's saving grace. Therefore, Christians cannot adopt a "it's not my problem" towards environmental issues. We should take care of the environment because it is "My Father's World." The focus of this Good News is the transformation of the environment.