Today we attended the Church Dedication and 120th Anniversary service of Good Shepherd. It was a very moving service, with all the beautiful hymns and liturgy, and also Dr. J. I. Packer’s exhortation on the Great Commission. It was a three hour service, but it felt like a joyful hour and a half that went by quickly. I guess that’s what it feels like when truly worship happens, with the help of carefully crafted liturgy that does not get in the way, but help move the worship from one climax to the next.
Good Shepherd is actually the first Chinese church established in Vancouver, where self-sacrificing missionaries first ministered to early Chinese immigrants and railroad workers. It had a very significant role in shaping the Chinese community here in Vancouver in the late 19th century. Here is a video that recounts its brief history in the past 120 years.
I’m touched every time I watch this video. For I can see God’s grace is greater than what we can imagine. His scope of work transcends what we can see in our lifetimes. It humbles me to see that there is a long line of servants before me, ministering God’s flock faithfully throughout history, for which a lot of them still remain anonymous. So I realize that no matter how my ministry in the future come out to be, I am just a tiny point in history, participating in God’s greater redemptive work of shaping His people at Good Shepherd and of the whole world. Looking back at history, it is certain that there were good times and bad times, mountain highs and dark valleys. But the important thing is, God uses even those low times for His purposes. Man may fail, but God’s purposes do not. What good news it is and how liberating it is for ministers who feel that heavy burden on their shoulders!
History, now I realize, is the best teacher to help us turn our focus away from our own little worlds back to God’s bigger picture, and move us into thanksgiving and worship.
History is truly “His story”.