“ONE HEART, ONE VOICE, oh Church of Christ rejoice,” sang the congregation as they celebrated the 16th Anniversary of the Methodist School of Music (MSM) titled “A Joyful Eastertide”, held at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church on Apr 27, 2013.
Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup, who preached at the service, noted in his message written for the anniversary booklet: “What better way to celebrate an anniversary than to connect it to the message of the Resurrection?”
The message of Christ’s resurrection took centre stage as every element from the music to the liturgy to the Scripture readings focused on the joy of Easter.
“What is so joyful about Easter?” Bishop Dr Wee asked, noting that in the Greek Orthodox tradition, the day after Easter was devoted to telling jokes as the believers felt they were imitating the cosmic joke that God pulled on Satan in the Resurrection, and celebrating the joy of the good news. The Bishop probed further: What is so good about Jesus rising from the dead?
Jesus’ resurrection shows us that death is not the end – it is a beginning. His rising from the dead also validates all that He had said, especially about giving us eternal life that “starts now and overflows”. John 10:10 in the Amplified Bible states: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”
What would be the appropriate response to this joyful good news? “Receive it,” said the Bishop, “and live it to the full.” We are to live the life that God meant for us and enjoy it, just as the Westminster Shorter Catechism states: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
However, living an abundant life is not something that comes automatically; we have to learn how to live it, which is otherwise known as discipleship. It is only made possible with the Helper, the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to His disciples, which sets us free from our inbred sin so that we are free to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbours as ourselves.
How is the MSM living an abundant life? Dr Evelyn Lim, the Acting Principal, said: “16 years have passed, but our vision remains the same – to encourage musicians and worship leaders to have both heart and skill to serve God.
“We do this through our two departments – our students’ natural gifts are developed in General Music Education, while theological and practical applications of these gifts are honed in our Church Music Department.”
In addition, music lessons for the charges from children’s homes and the children of pastoral staff are subsidised by generous sponsors. The MSM also conducts community outreach events such as workshops or public events like “Gaudete”.
The MSM story itself has been a testament of the miracle of new life. Founding Principal Ms Mary Y. T. Gan shares: “Serving as the founding Principal of the MSM for 13 years until 2009 was the most challenging as well as fulfilling time in my life and ministry.
“It was overwhelming starting a music school from scratch! However, I felt God’s leading and confirmation when churches and individuals gave generously for the renovation and start-up costs.
“I thank God for His consistent provision, guidance and blessings over the many challenging years… what God has established, He will not abandon, but will continue to bless and build!”
Ms Judy Tay, the longest-serving teacher in the MSM and currently the Pedagogy Coordinator, adds: “God deserves only the best – our utmost for His highest; we should all strive to deliver our best in terms of musical style and technique, and to give Him our best.”
PARTICIPATE * in the MSM Worship Symposium 2013 on June 3-5 at MSM n in the Launch of Certificate of Christian Worship on June 28 at Barker Road Methodist Church n as a member of the Methodist Festival Choir starting August 2013. Details to come.
Find out more at 6767-5258 or www.msmusic.edu.sg
Pictures by Moses Goh
Grace Toh is the Assistant Editor of Methodist Message.