At the end of the Chinese Methodist Church of Singapore’s Easter service, the young parents sitting next to me embraced their three-year old daughter in a group hug, and whispered a prayer. It was a beautiful moment to witness, and the best possible demonstration of the Easter message. Afterwards, the ministers and friendly congregation were very welcoming. Like Methodist’s everywhere, they served large quantities of cake and other goodies, post-sermon.
Walking back down Telok Ayer Street, I experienced some additional reminders that spirituality and prayer still exists amongst the secular world of modern Singapore which often seems fixated on sanitation, status-seeking and wealth accumulation. I passed the Thian Hock Keng Temple where families lit incense and prayed to their ancestors and to the sea goddess Matsu for whom the temple is dedicated. One block further, I stopped to watch people conducting ritual ablutions before the noon prayer at the Al-Abrar Mosque founded by Indian Muslims. You’ll also find Hindu temples just a few blocks away.
It was a much needed experience of people from different religions, color and cultures living together peacefully and respecting one another’s religious practices. And especially inspiring after witnessing just the opposite happening with the terror attacks in Brussels, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey and San Bernardino…not to mention the ignorance and hate coming from mouths of certain American political candidates.
Good on you, Singapore.
Next stop Bali. Where the spirits and Gods actually do rule.