In the book of Psalms, there is a special group of psalms known as the Pilgrim’s Songs. These are Psalms 120 to Psalms 134. These psalms were sung and prayed by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Ray Fowler, a pastor, categorised them into five groups of three and highlighted that each group begins with trouble of some sort, followed by trust in God in the second psalm, and final triumph or victory in the third psalm.
In the first group, Psalm 120 to Psalm 122, we read in Psalm 120 that the people first began their journey surrounded by people who didn’t care about God or God’s ways. Along the way, in Psalm 121, they learned to trust in God’s providence and care. And finally, in Psalm 122, they arrived in Jerusalem and recalled the beginning of their journey, and how glad they were when they left for Jerusalem.
The 35th ACM marks a significant milestone in our history as this is the first year we are having our ACM in Henderson. As I read Psalm 120 through 122, I recalled Hermon’s journey from when we were located at Choa Chu Kang Bible Center (CCKBC) to where we are now in Henderson.
Hermon’s journey from CCKBC to Henderson can be broken down into three phases:
1. The uncertainty of Hermon’s future in CCKBC – Trouble
2. The trust in God for His providence to provide us with a place to worship – Trust
3. The gathering of His people in Henderson – Triumphant victory
As early as 2014, Hebron indicated that they did not want to continue with the existing Memorandum Of Understanding between our two churches that established our joint partnership in the full and free use of the premises of CCKBC, including the setting up of a kindergarten, after the expiry of its HDB lease in 2024. There followed several meetings between the leaders of both churches and, as expected, some of them turned out to be quite testy. We were strong in our conviction that an agreement made and signed between the elders of both churches should be honoured. Psalm 120 reminds us of the need to always pray. In Psalm 120:1, we read, “I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me”. Certainly, many leaders and members prayed that amid all that was happening, our LORD’s name would not be dishonoured. We prayed specially that our Christian witness as His children would not be tarnished by the tension between the two churches. We were also reminded that our Lord is a righteous and dependable God (Psalm 120: 3-4) and that we must leave the matter to the LORD and trust him to work. After much prayer and deliberation by the Session, the leaders decided we would resolve the issue amicably. We thank God that both churches were eventually able to come to a mutual agreement involving a monetary settlement for the annulment of the MOU. With that agreement, Hermon also transferred her half share of the kindergarten to Hebron and made plans to move out of CCKBC by 2022.
When it became clear that we were leaving CCKBC, we were faced with an uncertain future. Where would we go? Should we just rent a place and be prepared to move from place to place to worship? Or should we own a piece of land, which would then place a heavy financial burden on our church? Psalm 121:2-3 reminds us that our help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. His loving eyes are always upon us. He will not allow our foot to slip. He neither slumbers nor sleeps. His presence is always with us (Psalm 121: 8). We just need to trust God that He will provide. After many twists and turns, we finally obtained a piece of property at 219 Henderson Road.
As we look back on our journey, we see God’s marvellous hand working in our midst. God has put Hermon in a good place at Henderson, and Pastor Daniel will be sharing the reasons why at the ACM. We continue to have a good relationship with Hebron on many fronts despite the challenges of the past. Let’s pray for all unintended hurts to be placed at the feet of the cross, believing that everything has happened according to God’s sovereign will. May we continue to believe that God’s will and ways are always perfect. Psalm 122:1-2 exhorts us to go the House of the Lord together. And why shouldn’t we, after seeing how the Lord has led us thus far? Indeed, the LORD is our Ebenezer.
After all we have gone through, may all Hermonites always have a heart for God (Psalm 122:1-2), a heart of praise (Psalm 121:3-4) and a heart for prayer (Psalm 121:6-9). It is my prayer that every member will be present in such a spirit as we meet on 30th April for our ACM. God bless!
_ Elder Sim Chow Meng