Another anniversary is here. What is special about this 35th year? Well, it is the first anniversary to be celebrated at Hermon’s new home in Henderson. Last year, we were still waiting for the URA approval and so we held our celebration at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.
Finally, we are celebrating our anniversary at our Henderson home. For those who have been with Hermon from the early days, the hand of divine providence is evident. God has brought us full circle, back to where we started. Hermon began in Telok Blangah, a stone’s throw from where we are today.
Not only that, where Hermon is located today, we can almost see where Mount Carmel, our mother church, started: Block 1, Redhill Close. Geographically, Hermon is situated somewhere between Telok Blangah and Redhill. We are coming back to where our pioneers laboured and made sacrifices in the 1960s and 70s.
This reminds me of Caleb who, after some 40 years, returned to where he started when he and the people of Israel crossed the river Jordan into the Promised Land. For Caleb, significant memories must have flashed across his mind. We may imagine four lines in Caleb’s lifelong journey:
Line in the Sea. At 40, he saw the armies of Pharaoh swallowed up by the sea: “…the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again” (Ex 14:13). This line means “no going back”, and represents the time we gave our lives to Jesus.
Line in the Desert. Still at 40, he desired with Joshua to enter the Promised Land, but the unbelief of the people left them wandering in the wilderness: “…the land that I swore to give to their fathers… none of those who despised me shall see it” (Num 14:23). This line means “no going in” and marks those times we forfeit God’s blessings because of our unbelief.
Line in the River. Caleb was 80, and he finally entered the Promised Land: “…arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land” (Josh 1:2). This line means “going in” and highlights times in our lives when we venture forth in faith and obedience, and enjoy God’s blessing.
Line on the Land. Caleb had entered the Promised Land but the challenge was not over: “…there remains yet very much land to possess” (Josh 13:1). This line means “going up” and calls upon us to face greater challenges still ahead.
At this last line, at the age of 85, Caleb could still declare, “I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country…” (Joshua 14:11-12).
We used to read these verses in the King James Version, which renders the last part as “give me this mountain” — the title of an original musical staged in 1983 by Carmel, and restaged by Hebron in 2012. For Hermon’s 35th anniversary, it may be time for us to ask ourselves what our “mountain” is, and then to declare by faith to God, “Give us this mountain!”
- Pastor David Wong