Today marks the 13th anniversary of BLC’s founding – we’ve come a long way since our founding on April Fools’ Day, 1 April, 2000. To mark this day, we wanted to share a story about one of the more common – yet possibly easily overlooked – sights in our church.
You might have seen this wonderful “Boat” candle stand in The Father’s House – but not many of you may have known the story behind the it. It was actually a gift from the Berry family, who have since moved back home to Australia.
We asked David and Sigrun to share a little bit about the story behind the boat and here’s what they said:
The ship is an ancient Christian symbol. It is the Church tossed on the sea of disbelief, worldliness, and persecution but finally reaching safe harbor with its cargo of human souls. Part of the imagery comes from the ark saving Noah’s family during the Flood (1 Peter 3:20-21). Jesus protecting the Peter’s boat and the apostles on the stormy Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41).
It was also a great symbol during times when Christians needed to disguise the cross, since the ship’s mast forms a cross in many of its depictions. In an illustration for Psalm 69 from the Belleville Breviary, chosen to accompany the sacrament of Confirmation, St. Peter lies in a boat on a storm-tossed sea while God blesses him from the heavens, symbolizing the soul’s refuge in time of trial in the ship of the Church which is blessed by God.
The final traditional symbolic meaning of the ship is a means of conveyance between this world and the next. In Christian tradition, in which earthly life was seen as a pilgrimage, the ship of the church transports the faithful through the seas of the world to the heavenly home. (Source: http://www.jesuswalk.com/christian-symbols/ship.htm)
I appreciated the recent blogpost by Rama Ramanathan. Rama said BLC reminded him of Adullam’s cave.
Before David became King, he was hounded by King Saul. One of David’s hiding places was called the Cave of Adullam. Those who were loyal to David, those who recognized him as a righteous man, and a man chosen by God, stayed with him. They swam against the tide: they were amongst the few who wouldn’t betray David, not even to their lawful King, Saul.
Rama writes that we know what a church is: it’s not church members who decide who should become church members. It’s God who decides.
Food for thought, thought I.
For us, BLC certainly was a sanctuary. We felt like disciples in that boat, part of the team of fellow believers, having a common goal. The single most common descriptor for me would be that BLC is non-judgmental.
I still remember the very first day we arrived at Bangsar Lutheran Church, on the day of Chinese New Year 2003. A car arrived about the same time as us and we were reassured and welcomed to the church… in that car was the Tew family (Ed Tew Wai Kin later becoming our care group leader). After church we were invited to Uncle and Aunty Long’s for fellowship – do I remember correctly that this was our first yee sang? The Longs made me appreciate how important it is to have all age groups represented in a community. Having them by our side just made us feel good.
Having to leave BLC just before Christmas 2006, was having to leave family. We yearn for heaven to play some more!
We bought the boat in Singapore. It seemed to say so much of what we felt in BLC.
I wrote this after we left:
Consider what you have. Be thankful for it. Know that the growing families are the true blessing. Do not yearn for what you do not have. Do not live for the day in the land of tomorrow- your happiness is in the everyday. If your focus is on Jesus, God will surpass your widest imagination. We are learning this. Place your true confidence in the Lord. His equations continue to amaze me. His ways are great indeed.
We need to be persistent and faithful in our walk. When things just seem shitty in our community, we are called to re-evaluate who we are ourselves. Much learning comes from facing us and ourselves. We carry much pain which requires healing, so don’t stop looking into that mirror of yours!
Support your leaders. They cannot do their jobs without your guidance, support and encouragement. Find solutions. Embrace opportunities. Be reformers for change. Dare to consider being leaders yourselves.
Your hearts are so warm! Your smiles are so bright! Your hugs are so loving! Thank you for being such an accepting community. Continue to value people as they are. Do not judge one another. Support each other through the seasons of your life. Love the children, but dare to discipline them too. Continue to live with great passion.
You are a blessed people.
The Berry’s at Kirsten’s confirmation, circa 2011. L-R: Sigrun, their current pastor, Kirsten, David and Declan