â€œSing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.â€ Psalm 96:1
What makes a bowl of laksa taste so good? I could wax lyrical about how you need to get the right blend of spices, â€œprawny and coconut milky goodness and what-not, but to tell you the truth, I dont know how to make laksa! All I know is that when I taste a good bowl of laksa, my senses sing.
Having migrated to Australia at a young age, I remember the many Singaporean food parties my parents and their friends would throw. We had popiah parties, char kway teow parties and of course, my favourite, laksa parties!
There was just something about the foods from home that spoke to our inner man that may be going a bit far, but you know what I mean. The need for local Singaporean food was in our DNA. Thats not to say that we didnt like our pasta or pies or fish and chips, it was just that our foods from home held a special place in our hearts and satisfied us in that special way.
Over the years, we’ve seen Singapore grow. It is no longer a sleepy fishing village but a bustling cosmopolitan city brimming with a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture. Some visitors even go so far as to say that Singapore embodies the finest of both East and West.
This is also reflected in our churches in Singapore. The songs we sing have mostly originated from great musicians and songwriters in the United States of America, Australia and the United Kingdom.
While I do love the Chris Tomlin, Hillsong and Matt Redman melodies, there is something different when I sing a locally-written song: my senses sing much like when I eat a bowl of good laksa!
Worship songs play a very valuable part in our Christian lives. They can increase our understanding of who God is and what He has done for us; they can help us poetically and eloquently express our worshipful response to Him; they can help establish important foundations in our lives that will help us in our daily living; they can powerfully articulate our prayer and intercession; they can retell Bible stories, and bring fresh insight into the great truths of the Scriptures.
When we write our own worship songs, they are pertinent to the life of a Christian here in Singapore. They reflect our struggles, our joys and our very own response to His goodness in our lives.
For several years, Truthmin has run our very own Methodist youth worship songwriting project, Even the Rocks Cry Out (ERCO). Over the years, the songs submitted have blown us away. Each songwriter has had something to say about how God has moved in their lives and their expression of love and worship of Him has been just phenomenal.
While not all of us have been gifted with the ability to write songs, we need to encourage our peers and our youths to write and sing our own locally-written songs, because worship borne out of our own local context will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Much like a good bowl of laksa.
Annabel Ang is a full-time youth worker at Trinity Annual Conference Youth Ministries (Truthmin).
For more information about Even the Rocks Cry Out (ERCO), visit http://truthmin.com