I loved the fact that we were flying home from Singapore on a Monday night (see: Coldplay weekend story) as it meant that I get to attend church there on a Sunday. While it has its share of controversies, I was decided even while I was still in Manila that I’ll be visiting City Harvest Church. A church friend from Marikina who has already moved to SG goes to the church and is one of the leaders of the Filipino service. When we visited in 2011, she brought us to CHC (see: SG story) and I enjoyed my time there :) I definitely wanted to go back.
I visited alone this time, as I hurriedly excused myself from brunch with Clang, Luigi, Jo and Ate Kitch at Plain Vanilla. I hopped on an Uber and headed to Suntec–making it just in time at 10 am. I was so close to mistakenly entering the hall for the Chinese service. Thanks to some inner prodding, I checked CHC’s website again and found out that I was supposed to enter the hall on the other end. Whew. Me and my awkward moments. I grabbed a seat on the front rows of the bleachers, right beside a friendly Chinese lady and medyo mukhang masungit Singaporean tito.
I loved just sitting there and having a Mary moment–for the first time in quite while, I FINALLY did not have to worry about anything. No technical and design preps. No worrying if the hospitality team is being kind and congenial to the newcomers. No obsession over the temperature–is it too hot or too cold? No annoyance due to the terrible sound system. No pressure to get the lyrics right. No walking around to make sure that the people we need are in their right place at the right time. It was just me going to church to speak to and hear from the Lord. I loved it.
I arrived just in time for praise and worship, and I totally loved singing along with such joy and victory during the fast songs. I especially loved singing In Jesus’ Name! God is fighting for us / Pushing back the darkness / Lighting up the Kingdom / That cannot be shaken / In the Name of Jesus / Enemy’s defeated / And we will shout it out / Shout it out! What a declaration! What really got me though–and by got me, I mean I BAWLED SO HARD–is when we got to the slow songs. When I heard the first notes of the 2nd song, I was floored. It was Jesus At The Center–and the exact same song was sung when I was in the same church 6 years ago. It was my first time hearing the song then, and I remember being so moved by it that I immediately shared it with my worship leader sister upon getting home. Since then, I have also made the lyrics the only detail about me in my Facebook “Details About You” section. Hearing the song again at City Harvest was FOR SURE not just a coincidence.
While I was intensely sobbing as we sang, I also took the time to reflect about what God wanted to tell me through that moment. There was no audible voice from heaven, but in the spirit, I knew that God just wanted me to listen to the words that I sang, and actually mean them.
Nothing else matters,
Nothing in this world will do
‘Cause Jesus You’re the center,
Everything revolves around You
From my heart to the Heavens,
Jesus be the center
It’s all about You,
Yes it’s all about You
Such a simple and straightforward message. It was a call for me to re-calibrate the focus of my life–to move it from myself, from my career, from my crushes, to the REAL CENTER and the TRUE NORTH which is Jesus. I’ve spent so much time busying myself with the affairs of the world when in fact none of those matter apart from Jesus. What a revelation. All the triumphs and tribulations–if not bearing eternal significance–are just petty and temporal.
Before the trip, I wanted a restart (see: SG pre-trip post) and indeed, that is what I got. Thank you Jesus for the re-calibration.
There’s really so much joy in just basking in God’s presence. I need to have more of these Mary moments.