On the train to Woodlands this morning, I was reminded that the racial tolerance and harmony we have in Singapore should not be taken for granted.
There was a Malay family in my carriage, and they sat across each other. The youngest member of the family was a wee toddler, and he derived great joy from running across the aisle from his dad’s embrace into his elder sister’s arms. There were also 2 beautifully dressed Indian ladies seated next to this family. At one point, the train jerked just a little too hard, and our little aisle-sprinter almost lost his balance. Thankfully, one of the Indian ladies caught him in time. He gurgled then squealed, clearly having fun. Everyone smiled and chuckled – Malay, Indian, Chinese.
It’s a trivial and common occurrence on the MRT, but somehow it reminded me that in some other countries, people of different ethnicities and religious beliefs can’t even stand the mention of each other. Lives are lost over such differences. So it may be a trivial occurrence, but it is definitely not a trivial blessing.
It also struck me that I’ve never stopped to pray for the persons who occupy my seat before & after me, whether on the bus or train. Sometimes, when I witness angry phone conversations or clearly wearied and burdened faces on the bus/MRT, I say silent prayers for these persons. But not for the persons who sat in my seat before me, or will do so after me.
Since my church worships in a cinema hall, my thoughts extended to the cinema too. I realized we’ve never prayed as a congregation for the movie-goers who fill the hall once we vacate each Sunday morning. What if each of us just prayed for the first movie-goer who comes in to fill the seat we’ve sat in for church service that morning? In this sense, it is a great privilege to worship in a cinema hall – for in a formal church sanctuary, seats are mostly occupied by folks who have already heard and received the Good News.
Movie-goers go to the cinema to watch and listen to a story – one that will intrigue them, bring them beyond themselves, inspire them, shine hope, celebrate victories; even illustrate enduring truths. Why not pray that they will see and hear the greatest Story of all time? Their narrative may just begin with the prayer of a seated believer.