Rendering to God?



Luke 23:23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

"....Lastly while we can understand that Christians are obliged to "render to Caesar what is Caesar's", the in the context of Singapore, we are curious to know what you think they should "render to God" in this same context" F8 to the Archbishop, 1st June 12

Function 8 (F8), the group of former social justice church workers and ex-prisoners in Singapore is quite a survivor and despite all attempts just wouldn't die off and press the delete button to erase the events of the 70s and 80s. Perhaps the events and injustice cannot easily be deleted and the church implicated then and today.

They returned us to a time of innocense where few remembers, so different from todays' christian emphasis on prosperity and adherance to religious laws.

They have rendered themselves to God in the areas of social salvation of strong liberal leanings. They remained the innocent ones, the cross over to a suffering world.

O Lord heal the social justice workers of faith. Give them peace. Remember their faith and sacrifices. Help them to dream again and to find a place for their social justice works to continue on in the lives of many.

The setting was in the 60s and 70s where there was a strong movement of liberal, ecumenical and progressive theology in Singapore for social progress and justice. They had rendered all to God even the many years spent in prison.

The Archbishop was reminded of rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's which is odd for unlike Jesus, the church just didn't pay taxes. They are tax free.

I was at a coffee shop hawker centre in a Housing Development Board setting in Ang Mo Kio Singapore. The Coffee cost me SGD 0.90 but the waiter had to come back again to give me the change. She did 3 minutes later, quickly giving the change and leaving in a hurry. I found out why, for she had given me the wrong currency, one that I have never seen before. She had given me, an Israel coin of one shekel.

I went to eat in Ang Mo Kio, to buy lottery (i have sinned!). I didn't win but instead received a coin with the state emblem of Israel of the "lily" or Yehud in Hebrew.

One denarius was the Roman coin for the taxes to be paid. It was the common coin, the lowest denominator, the same as one shekel today. The politics of religious power, control, money, growth and following remains so much part of the church for the last two thousand years. A homage was pade to the person minted on the coin.

The 60s, 70s and 80s era was a different period of time where on one side we have the bible evangelicals, and other side liberals and the Catholics. Power, money and religious control were not much different. Then a Holy Spirit led renewal came to the young nation of Singapore.

In the early 70s, was the infancy of the Charismatic renewal (and subsequently the mega churches). The Straits Times (7 November 1972) reported “Some students who have been taking part in religious meetings after school hours have ended up either in hysterics or in a trance.” possibily referring to  student prayer meetings at the Methodist Anglo-Chinese School clock tower at Barker Road.

A new Pastor Kang Ho Soon was assigned to provide "spiritual guidance", and I would imagine till today still vary of the charismatic chorus or what some calls 7/11 (7 lines repeated 11 times) and prefers hymns.

We were supposed to stay away from such Fundamentalism opposed to by the Methodist traditions with “hysterics” akin to the cults culture, a threat to the social order. But out of it, the Rt. Rev Chiu Ban It, the then Anglican Bishop of Singapore  himself was baptised by the Holy Spirit starting a renewal and the foundation of the mega churches.

We were supposed to be thinking Christians (read "liberal"/ "progressive") to be involved in rendering ourselves in works of social justice for the poor and the marginalised. And many of the Catholic missions and priests gave up all.  Unfortunately, at the end in 1987, with the arrests, many of the Catholic social missions and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) were asked to cease their activities hence ending the liberal/progressive movement.

At this juncture, the Charismatic renewal once banned by the Methodists started to sprout independent churches which in the next two decades became the mega churches such as CHC, NCC, FCBC, Lighthouse. The mega churches slowly took over the moral imperitive for social justice with the likes of FCBC's Touch Community Services, and City Harvest's Community Services Organization.

Twenty five years later from the events of the 80s, the world has changed. Whilst the needs of the poor, sick and the stranger remains, the new social justice issue is Gay rights. The mega churches from the charismatic renewal are here with their giant cathedrals at Suntec, and One North.

The arrival of the ancient religious F8 knights of the past at the speakers corners is best kept quiet. Like ancient ghostly relics coming back to haunt us.

Can we ignore them? For we have rendered our body, soul, spirit to the mega church leaders and the arcbishops, in good entertainment, fine dining, 5 star hotel buffets, material desires, first class travels, keeping up with the latest fashions and new technology gadgets, and living in luxury.

We have done our religious duties by going to church on Sundays and paying our dues both to religion and the state. We have paid our taxes on time (yearly to the state and weekly to the church).

Surely, we have rendered to God. 

As I looked at my one shekel Israel coin coming miraculously all the way from Israel through many hands, from Jerusalem, the City of God, surely it was God sent.

The modern day one shekel with the Yehud symbol, had a predecessor in the Yehud coin of 350 BC.    The lily was a symbol of purity in Ancient Israel. The white lily was also used in the sacred religious incense.

The Yehud coin also has a symbol of a bird. Near the bird's head is "YHD" or Aramaic for Yehud, a name also used for Jerusalem, for YHD often referred to as Yehudah or Judah. It is the Holy Spirit of God coming upon Jerusalem when we receive purity and righteousness through the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ.

The lily was to be offered up as sacrifices, an incense of praise unto God as we worship God in Spirit and in truth. The Lily represents Jesus Christ, offered up to God as a sweet smelling aroma and a perfect pure sinless sacrifice pleasing to God for the atonment of our sins.

I received the smallest denomination of the Israel coin, but it has one of the greatest meanings. When we take even the least, when we put whatever little and render it to God in Jesus' name, He will exalt and magnify us, and we will be a blessing to the nations.

Lord, I render back to You, the coin Yehud, the reminder of Your Holy Spirit coming upon Jerusalem as a sacrifice of praise to the Lord.  Fill me with Your Word, Your power and Your Holy Spirit from Jerusalem that the least may become a blessing to the nations.




Locations of visitors to this page