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On 9th August, Singapore will celebrate 56 years of independence. We thank God for His blessings upon our country. A thriving metropolis with one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, Singapore has come a long way indeed – from “Third World to First”. Despite the lack of natural resources and its diminutive size, Singapore has excelled economically, socially and politically. Today, our “little red dot” ranks among the world’s most successful and competitive nations.

o God’s mercies

We believe that Singapore is where it is today because of our Lord’s gracious favour: “Mercy and truth preserve the king and his throne is upholden by mercy” (Prov 20: 28). With grateful hearts, we acknowledge God’s merciful dealings upon our land and our people. The Lord has blessed us with a sound, just and equitable government. Because our leaders have ruled well, we enjoy peace, stability and safety. Most of us do not have to worry about our next meal, a roof over our heads, earning a living or education for our children. We have everything that makes for a comfortable life.

o The COVID-19 pandemic

This year, in particular, we are specially thankful for our government and the way they have handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Singapore was one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the coronavirus. Our government’s swift and efficient response – with border controls, isolation, mass testing, contact tracing and emphasis on social responsibility – has helped to contain the outbreak.

We also appreciate the clear communication channels between the government and the people during this pandemic. The COVID-19 Task Force, in particular, holds press conferences regularly to explain their latest decisions to either ease or tighten curbs. We are provided with timely updates that have helped us to adapt to, and comply with the necessary safety measures that were implemented from time to time.

Life in our tiny city state will never be the same again. Mask-wearing, social distancing, safe entry, quarantine, home-based learning, work-from-home, screening and vaccinations have now become part of the “new normal”. Like many in Singapore, we may find these new measures inconvenient and disruptive to our daily lives. However, when we understand that they are imposed for our safety and well-being, we can accept them willingly and adapt accordingly.

o Do our part

One of the safety restrictions affects places of worship, including the church. We thank God for His grace as we make adjustments based on the government’s advisories. Though we cannot sing or have fellowship, let us be thankful that we can still meet physically for worship. May we not be discouraged but continue to trust in our Lord’s providential care (Rom 8: 28).

As a church, let us comply with our government’s directives with a cheerful heart: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well” (I Pet 2: 13-14).

The Bible exhorts us to pray for our national leaders – that they will rule wisely, justly and fairly especially in these troubled and uncertain times: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim 2: 1-4).

With the raging pandemic, our leaders face real challenges in protecting the people from the virus. They need our prayers “for they have many difficulties to encounter, many snares to which their exalted stations expose them” (Matthew Henry). Such faithful supplication for our leaders brings a special blessing, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (v 2b).

May the Lord grant us grace to be good and responsible citizens of our country. May we, as a nation, continue to enjoy God’s kind favour and sustaining grace. Wishing one and all, “A Happy National Day!”

– Pastor