Love Made Real

I spent a week this December in Dili with a team of COOS youth, serving Timor’s young people together with our long-term missionaries. One of the most memorable programmes we helped them with was a Christmas service for youths.

‘Christmas service’. For me, this term calls to mind a stage decorated with trees, stars, and fairy lights; the nativity scene; singing familiar carols – and perhaps even watching a full-blown musical. Could we call our meeting a ‘Christmas service’ if we weren’t planning to include any of those elements?

At 9:30am on a Sunday, our service kicked off with fifty barefooted youths – Singaporeans and Timorese – perched eagerly on plastic stools in a simple room. We went crazy playing an icebreaker, shed tears as we sang in unison about the Father’s love (no carols), listened intently to the Word (which was not about the nativity), then huddled in small circles to share about our lives and pray for one another.

One moment in the gathering stood out for me. After the last worship song about the Father’s love, many Timorese youth were in tears, perhaps missing their own earthly fathers, or being deeply moved by their heavenly one. Instead of closing off the worship time and moving straight into the Word, our preacher, Siew Lee paused and asked us all to give a hug to someone of the same gender. Singaporeans and Timorese youth offered each other long, heartfelt embraces. I pulled a Timorese friend into my arms and she began to cry. Each hug ministered the Father’s love tangibly, through the language of touch. It was as if the arms of God encircled every person we embraced.

This mission trip taught me that it is ‘love made real’ which people need. In the same way that getting a hungry man to think about food will not satisfy his hunger, merely explaining the idea or concept of God’s love to a starving heart will not satisfy it. We humans need to feel God’s love experientially, not just ponder it conceptually, for it to sink into our beings that we are loved. Someone needs to be there with us, to help make God’s love real.

I think parents already understand this concept of needing to be physically present in order to communicate love to their children. When we reached out to the Timorese kids, we intuitively knew that it would not suffice to simply say, “God loves you”. Instead, we spent hours sitting beside them on tiny stools, performing every action of their kindergarten songs with them, playing kiddy games with them, and getting our hands sticky making crafts with them at the same tiny table. In many ways, we became one of them.

At Christmas, we celebrate the heavenly Father doing just that. He became one of us, His children. He probably grew up running with other kids down dusty streets, perhaps scraping a knee or two, inevitably perspiring under the Middle Eastern sun. He didn’t feed the five thousand in a I’m-a-superior-being-so-let-me-help way, for He himself knew how human hunger felt (Matthew 4:2). He did not emotionlessly wipe away sadness, but felt troubled and wept with the weeping (John 11:33, 35).

At Christmas, the Father didn’t just send a message or a miracle to say, “I love you”. Instead, He –LOVE – became flesh and dwelt among us. He became God-with-us, and communicated His tender love in a tangible, ‘humanly-experiential’ way. At Christmas, LOVE is ‘made real’ to us.

Unlike our Christmas youth service in Dili, at this year’s Christmas service at COOS we will have our decorated stage, our lights, our carols, and our Scripture readings about the nativity. These function as signs, pointing us toward what we’re celebrating: God coming to live among His children; God making His love ‘real’ for each of us.

As we walk in Christ’s steps, why not seek to make the Father’s love real – a tangible experience – for someone near you this Christmas? Perhaps a simple hug is all it will take.

Hannah has a big heart for the youth, she loves to read and is a regular contributor to reflections on life@COOS.

WHAT'S ON IN COOS

Events on August 24, 2019

9:00 am: Korean Style Bouquet Workshop

Annyeong! Come join us for a fun DIY Korean-styled Bouquet Workshop. We will be using fresh flowers to create a korean-style wrapped bouquet. All materials and tools will be provided.

It cost $80 per participant, or $150 for 2 pax if you are bringing a friend.
As sharp tools will be used, the workshop is suitable for participants 12 years and older.

Dates: 24 & 25 August 2019
Time: 9am to 11.30am (24 Aug), Room 302
1.30pm to 4.00pm (25 Aug), Room 201
Location: Room 302
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9:30 am: An Overview of the OT (Session 2 of 4)

An Overview of the Old Testament
For more information, visit https://www.coos.org.sg/church-life/christian-education/
Location: Room 217
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2:30 pm: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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4:00 pm: COOSkidz Birthday Party - Robot

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4:30 pm: Youth Service : Guest speaker Max Jeganathan

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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5:00 pm: Waggy Walk with Your Furkids!'

Calling out to all COOS members who own a pet dog/s to join us in this gathering to walk our dogs which will take place on the 4th Saturday of each month. Invite your friends and neighbors so that we can also promote bonding which each other! Meeting point and ending point at COOS Plaza. We will be walking along the Alexander Canal for our first walk on 24/8/19. Register through this link and QR code.
Location: Meeting point and end point in COOS Plaza
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Events on August 25, 2019

8:30 am: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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10:45 am: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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Events on August 29, 2019

7:30 pm: Choir Performance

Location: Church of Our Saviour, 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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Events on August 31, 2019

9:30 am: An Overview of the OT (Session 3 of 4)

An Overview of the Old Testament
For more information, visit https://www.coos.org.sg/church-life/christian-education/
Location: Room 217
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2:30 pm: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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3:00 pm: Flea Market

Volunteers needed for outreach initiatives to our community for the Flea Market! Gather your family, church friends or cell members, go into our neighborhoods (Stirling, Dawson and Mei Ling) at your own time and invite the residents for the flea market event on 31/8 and 1/9. Every flyer has a $10 value coupon attached so that they can exchange for the items at the flea market! Contact Tan Choong Meng at 81235996 for any enquiry.
Location: Atrium
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3:00 pm: Flea Market

Looking for volunteers to set up booths to run a flea market in COOS! Gather a few friends or cell members, collect unused clothes and accessories, mend a stall at the atrium. Proceed of the sales will go towards the Geylang Ministry in COOS! If you are interested, please register at the admin counter or at this google link. Contact Tan Choon Meng at 81235996 for more information.
Location: Atrium
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4:00 pm: Alpha Parenting Teenagers Course

A course for parents with children from 11 - 18 years old. It equips carers of children with strategies and tools in building a healthy family life. It is relevant for people of all faith.

Date: 31 Aug, 7, 14, 21, 28 Sep, 5 Oct
Time: 4pm - 6pm
Venue: COOS

Register at admin desk or scan QR code or thru this link: https://bit.ly/2vq7ClL
Location: COOS
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4:45 pm: Evergreen Fellowship Talk

Evergreen Fellowship is organising a talk by Mr Benny Ong on "Understanding the difference between Advance Medical Directive (AMD), The lasting power of Attorney and The will.
Location: COOS AUDITORIUM
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Events on September 1, 2019

8:30 am: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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10:45 am: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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SERVICE DETAILS

MAIN SERVICES (ENGLISH)
Saturday | 2.30pm
Sunday | 8.30am and 10.45am
YOUTH SERVICE (ENGLISH)
Saturday | 4.30pm
*Except every 1st weekend of the month, where youth joins main services.
SERVICES & OFFICE LOCATION
130 Margaret Drive Singapore 149300
It is a 10-minute walk from the Queenstown MRT Station.The bus-stops nearest to the church are served by
SBS Bus 51, 111, 145, 186, 195 and 32 and TIBS Bus 970.

The office is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9am to 5.30pm.

Click here for more service details.