by Nicholas Goh
“The kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air can come and shelter in its branches.”
– Matthew 13: 31 – 32
When I was in university, I joined the campus Catholic community. I always had believed that a person could become sanctified alone, that God alone was enough for me and that as long as I had His help, I could one day go to heaven. How wrong I was.
In time, I slipped more and more from His loving embrace, without even realising it. However, when I was in community during university, the people there gradually brought me out from darkness and into the light. I inevitably grew closer to God in a myriad of small ways, through the constant reminders of God’s presence in my life and the retreats which I was encouraged to attend. During my student exchange experience in Spain, I grew close to a community of believers, who were as different from my community back in Singapore as a seed is to a tree. They reached out to others in various ways to bring others to Christ.
Coming back to Singapore and finally graduating, I could not remain in my university community, thus my batch mates and others from the Graduating University Retreat organised by OYP came together and formed a community. This is the place where I go every Thursday to talk about God and talk about my relationship with Him. He has proved ever faithful to us, and even guided us to come up with an amazing name which now means so much.
With the support of the community, I too became less fearful about sharing my faith, and slowly began evangelising my family and friends, talking to them about the wonderful experiences of my faith, which I did not dare talk about openly before for fear of ridicule. This courage and fortitude which comes from the understanding that the community will be there for me whenever I am apprehensive about standing up for the truth is invaluable.
This shelter which I have within the walls of the ark has kept me close to God through their support and their sharing. From the very beginning, the community has emphasized the Great Commission: To make disciples of all the nations. The culture of bringing our friends to the community has been a source of joy to me. The different backgrounds of all our members are a constant reminder that even though we might be made of many parts, we are still one body living in Christ. Regardless of our careers, we still share a special bond that brings us all closer than any other thing of this Earth – our shared faith.
Moving forward, I realise that Living Ark may not be perfect and disputes will one day shake the hull of the ark, but I am certain that as long as we stay focused on Jesus and have Him as our foundation, all we have to do is to ask and He will give us peace. No man is an island, and we are all children of God in the world, striving not to be of the world. I once was floundering in the waters of the world, but in the Living Ark where Jesus resides, I place my heart and my trust.