Pentecost 10, August 18, 2019
God give me work until my life shall end, and life until my work is done
Winifred Holtby, educator, novelist, journalist, socialist and pacifist penned this epitaph for her tombstone in Yorkshire just before WWII broke out. At funerals I often share this from her works, “the crown of life is not happiness nor annihilation, it is understanding.” It may sound rather demanding and dour, but there is wisdom and comfort in abundance.
Winifred Holtby，教育家，小说家，记者，社会主义者和和平主义者, 在第二次世界大战爆发前为自己在约克郡的墓碑写下了这个墓志铭。 在葬礼上，我常常从她的作品中分享这一点，“生命的冠冕不是幸福，也不是毁灭，而是理解。”这听起来可能相当苛刻和沉闷，却富有智慧和慰籍。
In an untypical passage from his lyrical love poem in praise of YHWH, Isaiah addresses God as his beloved, sowing and tending a vineyard, then raining down invective and destruction. What more could I have done? Why did the vines yield sour grapes? In the Hebrew there are two plays on words, viz. I looked for mishpat and found mispat, I looked for tsedaqua and found tseaqua , i.e. I looked for justice and found bloodshed, for righteousness and found the cry of suffering. Absence of justice and a vacuum of righteousness were the bitter fruits God found in the present state of Israel, so the vineyard needed stripping and re-planting. God’s judgment is severe, but never in Scripture permanent, it is always hoping for better things in the future.
在以赛亚抒情的爱情诗句中，有一段不太典型的赞美耶和华的段落，他将上帝描述为他的爱人，播种和照料葡萄园，后来却变成了谩骂和摧毁。 我还能做些什么？ 为什么葡萄藤会结出酸葡萄？ 在希伯来语中，有两个关于单词的笑话，即 我寻找mishpat却找到了mispat，我寻找tsedaqua却找到了tseaqua，意思是我寻找公平却看到了流血，寻找正义却听到了痛苦的呐喊。 公平的缺失和正义的真空是上帝在以色列现状中发现的苦果，所以葡萄园需要被铲除和重新种植。 上帝的审判是严厉的，但在圣经中它从来不是永久的，它总是期望将来会有更好的事情发生。
We’re not sure who wrote the Letter to the Hebrews, but profound wisdom colours its pages. Faith is not something we learn as a static reality, it is always a dynamic adventure on which we are embarking. Using the metaphor of athletics the person of faith is at one and the same time participating and spectating. Stripping off encumbrances, straining ever forwards, encouraged by those who have already run their race, and in turn cheering on those who are following, the Christian never looks back or even around, but looks toward Jesus who pioneers and perfects faith. That is to say, Jesus first stepped out on to this path and in his life, death and rising, perfects the journey of faith in the eternal kingdom.
我们不确定是谁写的希伯来书，但它的每一页都充满了深刻的智慧。 信仰不是我们需要认识的一些静态现实，而是我们不断开启的冒险征程。 用田径运动来做比喻，有信仰的人既是参与者，又是观众。 跨越障碍，奋力冲刺，被那些已经参加比赛的人所激励，并为那些随后比赛的人欢呼。基督徒永远不会回头看，也不会环顾周围，只会定睛耶稣，他是实现了信仰的先驱。 也就是说，耶稣首先踏上了这条道路，在他的生命，死亡和复活中，完成了永恒王国信仰的旅程。
As many of us know, for us the fight is not to overcome the best of the competition; it is to overcome the worst of ourselves. So we need to cheer on other runners - and accept their encouragement of us. More of a relay race than an out-and-out sprint, or gruelling marathon. Daily we pass the familiar obstacles and temptations and daily need to focus on Jesus and be as prepared to bear the cost as he was, even when it is cross-shaped.
正如我们许多人所知，对我们而言，斗争并不是为了打败最强的对手; 而是战胜最糟糕的自己。我们为其他选手加油呐喊--- 也接受他们对我们的鼓励。人生更像是一场接力，而非一场彻头彻尾的冲刺或艰苦的马拉松。 我们每天都会遇到类似的阻碍和诱惑，所以需要每天专注于耶稣，并准备承担和他一样的代价，即使这个代价是走上十字架。
There are beautiful words that fall from the lips of Jesus - and some dreadful ones, as in today’s gospel. If we understand that fire is an image not only of danger and destruction, but of love and rebirth, we may settle back in our pews a little more comfortably. But talk of family relationships totally collapsing and turning poisonous is discomfiting. Jesus does promise and bring peace, but it is not the peace of defending the status quo which excludes too many from any degree of peace. For us peace demands that we be or become people of redemption and restoration. And giving in to anger is for us only permissible if that anger is rooted in profound love, not encompassing rage. Can we tell when our limit is reached? As the silversmith said, “I know the silver is refined when I can see my face in it.”
就像我们今天读的福音书里的章节， 耶稣的口中既有美丽的话语， 也有可怕的话语。 如果我们明白火不仅代表危险和毁灭，同时也代表着爱和重生，我们就可以感到舒服一点，坐回到我们的长椅上。 但谈论家庭关系完全破裂和变得具有毒害性是很令人沮丧的。 耶稣确实承诺并带来了平安，但这并不是维持现状的平安，而将很多其他任何程度的平安都排除在外。 对我们而言，平安需要我们是或成为被救赎和新造的人。 对我们来说，只有当愤怒根于深刻的爱而非累积的情绪，屈服于愤怒才是可允许的。 我们知道什么时候会到达我们的极限了？ 正如银匠说的那样，“当我能看到自己的脸时，我就知道银子被提炼出来了。”
Crisis is the edge where change is possible. May change fall gently into the minds and hearts of those committed to bolstering the “have’s” at all costs to the “have-not’s”, to abusive husbands and lost teenagers, to desperate searchers and deceptive teachers, to bombastic leaders and timid followers. Let moral and holy fires burn up the dross and make room for the hidden and healthy growth prepared by God and to be tended by ourselves.
危机是可能发生变化的边缘。 愿改变能温柔地降临在那些致力于不惜一切“一无所有”的人的代价去支持“富有”的人的心上和头脑里，降临在虐待妻子的丈夫和迷失的青少年的心上和头脑里，降临在绝望的搜救者和具有欺骗性的老师的心上和头脑里，降临到夸夸其谈的领导者和胆小的追随者的心上和头脑里。 让道德和神圣的火焰烧毁糟粕，为上帝所预备的健康成长腾出空间，让我们自己成长。
Keep calm and carry on is catchy, and worked in the British psyche in wartime. God give me work until my life shall end, and life until my work is done can serve the same end in our lives, by God’s grace.
Pentecost 9, August 11, 2019
Don’t give up worship. Take up justice.
Somewhere along the line in my formation for the preaching ministry, a wise pastor said that each sermon should contain: something to learn, something to feel, something to choose, and something to do. The readings today offer ample scope to put that advice into practise.
The bulk of the Hebrew scriptures outlines the nature of worship, the most authentic and divinely inspired human activity. Rules and regulations abound, and no priest nor worshipper need be in any doubt as to what is required of them. Yet here is God detesting and ridiculing the whole endeavor, and preferring instead honest dealings in the marketplace and in the home. What is happening?
希伯来书中的大部分经文概述了崇拜的本质，这是最真实，最神圣的人类活动。 规矩和条例比比皆是，任何牧师和敬拜者都无需质疑对他们的要求。 然而，上帝憎恨和嘲笑整个事业，而宁愿看到在市场和家庭中的诚实行为。 为什么？
If you set up life as mainly choosing an Either/Or solution, it seems as though God is sitting on a branch and sawing it off between himself and the tree trunk! If, however, you construe life as mainly choosing Both/And, then God is prioritizing right relations among humans as the fundamental thing, and worship as that which serves that end. Worship, in a word, needs not only to lead towards God in piety, but towards neighbour in charity.
如果你把生活设定为在二选一的方案中做出选择，那就象上帝坐在树枝上，然后把他和树干从中间锯开！ 然而，如果你把生活解释为可以两者兼而有之，那么上帝就会优先考虑人与人之间的正确关系，并将其视为根本，而敬拜则是为那个目的而服务的。 敬拜，总而言之，不仅是将人们引向对上帝的虔诚，也将人们引向对邻舍的慈善。
And that involves doing our own laundry! As you sort through your laundry basket separate out those clothes which do not really need a washing, from those which need a delicate washing, and those which need a spot remover, agitation, spin cycle and double rinse! Glossing over our sinfulness won’t do, comparing our soiled lives with ours who are obviously worse won’t do. We must allow God’s spirit to cleanse deeply the root of our sin and the fruit of our sin in our lack of mercy and humility. And then return to worship as thanksgiving, praise and petition.
这就像我们自己洗衣服！ 当您整理洗衣篮时，将那些不需要洗涤的衣服从那些需要精细洗涤的衣服中分出来，以及把那些需要去除污渍，洗涤， 甩干和双重漂洗的衣服分开！ 掩饰我们的罪是行不通的，将我们污秽的生活与更糟糕的人相比较，也是行不通的。我们必须让上帝的灵深深洁净根除我们的罪，在我们在欠缺仁慈和谦卑的情况下，从罪中结出圣灵的果子， 然后回归敬拜，去感恩，赞美和祈求。
Faith, the writer of the book of Hebrews, asserts is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. To that point, investigating detectives know that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. The evidence has just not yet become apparent. And so with our faith - it has a substantial basis and many evidences of its existence. As one of my favourite authors - Frederick Buechner - wrote, “ Faith is stepping out into the unknown with nothing to guide us but a hand just beyond our grasp.” On this journey we do not get proof - we get signs. We must interpret these to encourage us on the journey - and in the right direction.
菲斯，希伯来书的作者，断言是对所希望事物的保证，是未见事物的证据。 对于这一点，侦探知道缺乏证据与缺席的证据不同。 证据尚未显现， 我们的信仰也是如此--- 有很显著的基础和许多的证据证明它的存在。 正如我最喜欢的作家之一 - 弗雷德里克·比施纳（Frederick Buechner）所写的那样，“信仰正带领我们走向未知世界，在这个过程中没有任何东西可以引导我们，只有超出我们掌控的手。”在这个旅程中，我们没有得到证据 – 但我们有迹可循。 我们必须理解这些，以鼓励我们走上正确的道路。
It is our heavenly Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. To help us, we need to stop clinging to our possessions, share with the needy and guard against the greedy. Be prepared, as the Boy Scout movement says, not only for what you need to do, but for what you need to accept - not a night-time thief, but a day-time party! God wants to break through into the very ordinariness of your routine with examples of his peace and justice, his delight in your life as you live it, his hope for your blossoming and blooming into life-saving and life-enriching fruitfulness.
我们的天父很高兴给我们这个王国。 为了帮助我们，我们需要停止依赖我们的财产，与有需要的人分享，并远离贪婪。 正如童子军活动中所说的，不仅要为你需要做的事做好准备，还要为做你需要接受的事做好准备- - 不是夜晚的偷窃，而是日间的派对！ 上帝希望通过他的和平与正义，通过他对你生活的喜悦，通过对你生命的绽放并结出累累硕果的希望，来打破你日常生活的平庸。
In a word, we do not need more of God. God needs more of us. We are to be conduits of his love, not containers of his love. That way our heart will be fixed in God who is nothing more nor less than the treasure of our life. God’s grace turns all that we have into all that we can desire. Thanks be to God
总之，我们不需要从上帝那里得到更多。 上帝需要更多的我们。 我们要成为他的爱的管道，而不是他的爱的容器。 这样，我们的心就会固定在上帝身上，而上帝只是我们生命中的财富。 上帝的恩典将我们拥有的一切转化为我们所想要的一切。 感谢上帝
Pentecost 8, August 4 2019
Set your mind on things that are above,
where Christ is
we presume to advise God on where his mind should be set? Where does God’s mind
rest when God is not thinking of anything in particular? Since we tremble at
our audacity at this approach, let me turn it towards ourselves. Where should
my/your/our mind be set when we are not thinking of anything in particular? A
spinning wheel rests when the valve reaches the bottom - a weight helps to
centre it. What is the weight that centres your spinning mind, what defines you
when there is no one to observe, or interact with? To my mind, these are some
questions raised by today’s readings.
我们敢告诉上帝他应该怎么想吗？ 当上帝没有什么特别的事情需要考虑时，祂会思考什么呢？在我们为自己的这种大胆的方式感到胆战心惊的同时，我们不妨转向自己。当我们没有什么特别的事情需要考虑时，我/你/我们会思考什么？ 当陀螺到达绳子的底部，飞轮会停下来 - 重力使其居中。 在没人注意或互动的情况下，你思维旋转的重心是什么？ 在我看来，这些是今天阅读中提出的一些问题。
Hosea depicts God as the father of a newborn,
full of affection, tenderness and protectiveness, even when the child grows up
and grows away from the father. While anyone would forgive God in abandoning or
punishing such a disobedient and ungrateful child, God cannot bring him/herself
to do that. Wrath and anger is
never God’s ultimate goal - and it can never be ours. God’s mind comes to rest
pointing at mercy not vengeance. God is longsuffering, ferocious and tender -
an unimaginable combination of qualities - and in being returned to such a God
defines our salvation.
何西阿将上帝描绘成一个新生儿的父亲，富有感情，温柔，具有保护性，即使在孩子长大并离开父亲后，仍然如此。 虽然任何人都会原谅上帝放弃或惩罚这样一个不听话，忘恩负义的孩子，但上帝不能让他/她自己这样去做。 愤怒和怨气永远不是上帝的终极目标 ----- 它也永远不会是我们的终极目标。 上帝的思绪会停留在怜悯上而不是报复上。 上帝是忍耐的，既凶猛又温柔 ----- 一种难以想象的不同品质的组合 ----对我们的救恩的定义就是回归到这样的一位上帝的怀抱。
indulges in the common practice of comparing and contrasting two choices or
definitions (eg compare and contrast the causes and results of WW1 and WW2).
Left to our own devices what do we think about most often, what influences
shape us the most? The things of heaven or the things of earth? Factors which
cause us to take care of ourselves at all costs or those which priorities the
needs of others? Congratulating ourselves on what we have that others don’t, or
exerting ourselves to provide
for others what they need, over what we want?
保罗喜欢比较和对比两种选择或定义的常见做法（例如，比较和对比第一次世界大战和第二次世界大战的原因和结果）。 当涉及到我们自己时，我们最常想到的是什么，影响我们最大的是什么？ 是天堂里的事还是地球上的事？ 导致我们不惜一切代价照顾自己的因素是什么？让人优先考虑他人需求的因素又是什么？ 是要庆祝自己拥有别人没有的东西？还是要越过自己所需要的去满足别人的需要？
Paul then gives some sage advice,
summarised in the familiar parallel between the gospel and a pumpkin. What! You
don’t know that one? God washes us thoroughly, scoops out all the gunk, and
puts a smile on our face! As we mature spiritually we are to discard all the
junk in our lives, to add to the growing pile of garbage this causes, and then
to encourage and be surprised and delighted by what beauty grows in its place -
all of it for the benefit of others, not ourselves. The fruit God’s grace grows
in our lives is not for us to boast about or hoard, but to be shared with our
然后保罗给出了一些圣人的建议，这在我们熟悉的福音书和南瓜的对比中有所总结。 什么！ 你不知道这个？ 上帝彻底洁净我们，舀出所有的垃圾，并在我们的脸上露出笑容！(这就像我们在刻南瓜灯一样) 当我们在灵性上成熟时，我们要抛弃我们生活中的所有垃圾，同时又在不断增长的垃圾堆中累积，被激励，并对从此处成长出的美丽感到惊讶和欣喜----- 所有这些都是为了 他人，而不是我们自己。在我们生活中所结出的上帝恩典的果实不是为了我们的自夸或积累，而是要与我们的邻居分享。
Jesus refuses to intervene in the questioner’s
desire to have another judge about a family inheritance. The story he tells is
open-ended. The wealthy farmer is held up as an unlikely hero who becomes a
derided loser. It is not so much what he does with money as it is what money
does to him. Money is a
good servant and a bad master. Jesus teaches that greed is born out of the idea
of scarcity, and scarcity is born out of anxiety. Rather than being committed
to a lifetime of accumulation, only to be devastated at its loss, we are to be
content with God’s love which turns whatever we have into everything we could ever need.
耶稣拒绝干预提问者关于家庭继承想要另一个法官的愿望。 他讲的故事没有结尾。 这位富裕的农场主不太可能被视为一个英雄，相反他成为了一个被嘲笑的失败者。 不是因为他对金钱做了什么，而是金钱对他做了什么。 金钱是一个好仆人，却是一个坏主人。 耶稣教导说，贪婪源于稀缺的观念，而稀缺的观念则源于焦虑。 我们不该一生致力于积累，而在失去时遭受毁灭性打击，我们要满足于上帝的爱，这种爱将我们拥有的一切变成我们可能需要的一切。
Where does your mind point when at rest? To
things ephemeral or things eternal? To fending off threats to your power/position,
or to defending the poor and defenseless? To contentment in God’s abundance or
to anxiety about our diminishing resources and pathetic impotence?
在休息时你的思绪指向哪里？ 短暂的事物还是永恒的事物？ 是抵御对你的权力/位置的威胁，还是为穷人和手无寸铁的人辩护？ 是满足于上帝所提供的丰盛之中，还是对我们日益减少的资源和可怜的无能为力而焦虑？
SET YOUR MIND ON THINGS ABOVE WHERE CHRIST
IS ALL IN ALL
Pentecost 4c19, June 30, 2019 (Trinity Lutheran) Luke 9:51-62 路加福音 9：51-62
Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Have you ever ‘set your face’ to go anywhere? Have you ever set your face, no matter what, to accomplish something? Might we even know what that means? To have such an urgency, to place such paramount value upon one reality that we will make major sacrifices so that thing will happens?
Some people do ‘set their face’ in such ways – some athletes, some professionals, some friends, parents, spouses. How about us? Are we willing to ‘set our face’ for something, for someone? (pause)
有些人的确决心这样做--- 比如一些运动员，专业人士，我们的朋友，父母，配偶。我们自己呢？对于某人，我们是否愿意为某些人或某些事而“出发”？ （暂停）
Jesus ‘sets his face’ for a specific reason – to go to Jerusalem. There he will embrace incomprehensible suffering and death FOR YOU, FOR ME, FOR ALL PEOPLE, EVEN FOR CREATION. He suffers this at the hands of people, people much like you and I – people doing their job, people caught up in systems that run on fear, anxiety and sometimes greed.
Jesus ‘sets his face’ to go to Jerusalem to do God’s will, to fulfill the mission given to him by God. Luke’s Gospel makes very clear what Jesus’ mission is. We hear this in his first sermon in Luke where he says, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Today many question the relevancy of Jesus. Some don’t even give Jesus or Christianity a second thought.
So I ask, “do we actually need ‘good news’? Can’t we provide good news ourselves by purchasing more, travelling more? Who among us needs release, recovery of sight? Can’t we all or at least most of us already see? And what is all this stuff about the Lord’s favor? Do we who live on the West Coast of Canada just one day before our country’s 152 birthday need any of this freedom, sight, favor? Maybe some people who have lost their way, or whose country are under siege, or have experienced the ravages of natural disasters need this, but us? (pause)
Not that long ago, a mother, young in so many ways, barely 40, and grizzled in so many other ways – the survivor of an abusive relationship, one who managed to extricate herself and her 3 children from a man caught up in a destructive web of drug abuse, contacted a Pastor whom she had known years before. She calls this Pastor because she is devastated. He can hear it in her voice, the depth of suffering that bubbles to the surface, that is so much deeper than mere words or even sobs can convey. She tells this Pastor that her oldest child, her elder daughter, barely 19 has died. She tells him that her child, so beautiful, so kind, with such a good heart, has taken her own life. She tells him that after hours of frantically searching in the wee hours of the morning, she found her daughter hanging from a tree near their home. How she agonizes – even as she cries to her Pastor. Did she miss any of the signs? Could she have done anything differently? Now she wonders, oh, my God, how she wonders – what now for her remaining daughter and son? What now for herself? Where is God in all of this? How can they go on? (pause)
就在不久之前，一位母亲，从各方面看她都很年轻，还不到40岁，在很多方面生活又是灰色的--- 一段被虐待的关系的幸存者，设法让自己和三个孩子摆脱一个深陷于药物滥用泥沼的男人。她联系了多年前认识的牧师。她打电话给这位牧师, 因为她已满目疮痍，从她的声音里他就能听出，她所受到的深深的伤害。这种伤痛超出一切语言和泪水所能表达的。她告诉牧师，她的大女儿，才19岁就死了。她告诉他，她的孩子，如此美丽，如此温柔，有着如此善良的心，她却亲手结束了自己的生命。她告诉他，经过几个小时的疯狂搜索，凌晨，她发现她的女儿吊在她家附近的一棵树上。在她向牧师哭诉时，可以感受到她的极度痛苦。她错过了任何迹象吗？她有没有做过跟其他父母不同的事情？现在，她想知道，哦，我的上帝，她很想知道---- 现在她另外的女儿和儿子会怎么样？她自己该怎么办？所有的这一切发生的时候上帝在哪里？他们如何继续下去？ （暂停）
The Pastor tries to take in all that she is saying, feeling, communicating. He remembers years ago baptizing her daughter, her child, God’s child. He realizes how profoundly she needs much more than mere pious platitudes, more than “it will be better some day”, more than “get away for awhile, maybe take a vacation”, so much more than “buy yourself and your kids something really nice and you’ll feel better”. She desperately needs help, consolation, comfort – someone with her and for her today and for the long haul...
牧师试图理解她所说的，所感觉的一切。他记得几年前给她的女儿，她的孩子，上帝的孩子施洗。他意识到她需要的远远超过那些虔诚的陈词滥调，不仅仅是“有朝一日会更好”， 不仅仅是“离开一段时间，也许去休假一段时间” 也不是“为自己和孩子买些好东西，你就会感觉好点。”她迫切地需要帮助，安慰 和慰籍--- 有人能今天及以后陪着她......
It is another time, another place. The phone rings yet again. It’s the maternity ward at the local hospital. Often that place is a place of joy. But not this time. Again a Pastor is summoned to be with a young woman, a woman he had never met before that day. She had been 9 months pregnant. Everything seemed find. But that morning she didn’t feel any movement. Tests were ordered, stat. The results had come back. Her baby had died. She is inconsolable. Her boyfriend is in the hallway yelling at a doctor who attempts to carefully hear this young man’s indescribable pain. The pastor is summoned to be with them, those two young people, kids themselves whose baby has inexplicably died.
Is there any hope – I mean real hope? Can there be new life – for their baby who has died, for that young woman and that young man?
有没有希望 ---- 我的意思是真正的希望？对于那个年轻男人和女人，对于他们死去的孩子，还会有新的生命吗？
The commercials and platitudes of our time and place, the don’t worries, be happy; the age old wisdom of time heals, this too will pass – don’t cut it for them. These slogans are exposed for what they are – ultimately empty in the face of the overarching realities of life which must include suffering and death.”
我们这个时代的广告和陈词滥调，“不要担心，要快乐”;古老的智慧“时间会治愈”，”不要为此痛苦，终将会过去” ----这些口号是为他们所处的境遇而出现的 ---而面对生活中必须经历的痛苦和死亡的现实，这些话最终都是空洞的无力的。
Dear people these stories aren’t just ‘stories’. They are not even only about 2 women and a young man or even only those women’s children. They are about God’s children – all of these people and all of us! They are about living in the midst of the reality of the power of death, of the forces of evil that attempt to suck the very life and hope from all of us – to convince us that all there is what we can see, hear, feel, taste, touch, somehow have some control over. When we allow ourselves to believe, to trust such illusory voices – well then evil is beginning to triumph. Trusting such illusory voices denies, the power of the love of God in Jesus the Christ. Trusting such illusory voices forces us to keep running at frantic paces so that we don’t ever stop to listen, to see, to feel, to think and question – what really matters. What is truth?
亲爱的人们，这些故事不仅仅是“故事”，甚至不仅仅是关于两名女性和一名年轻男性的故事，也不是仅仅有孩子的女性的故事。这是关于上帝的孩子 – 所有这些人以及我们所有人的故事！是关于生活在死亡和邪恶力量的现实中的故事，这些邪恶力量试图吸取我们所有人的生命和希望， 让我们相信我们看到，听到，感受到，品尝到，触摸到的一切不知何故有一些控制权。当我们允许自己相信，相信这种虚幻的声音时 - 那么邪恶就开始取得胜利。相信这种虚幻的声音就否认了在耶稣基督里上帝的爱的力量。相信这种虚幻的声音迫使我们继续以疯狂的速度奔跑，这样我们就不会停下来倾听，观察，感受，思考和质疑 - 真正重要的是什么。什么是真理？
To be sure – death, all the forms of evil, hatred and violence, abandonment and horrible losses occur every single day. Sometimes they even happen to us, among us. Occasionally we consciously or unconsciously contribute to the occurrence of such events. But death in all of its forms – evil, hatred, violence, abandonment, horrific losses – are not all there is. Nor are all these realities all there will ever be. Nor are these forces as overwhelming as they can be the most powerful forces in the world.
可以肯定 ----- 死亡，所有形式的邪恶，仇恨和暴力，遗弃和可怕的损失每天都会发生。有时他们甚至发生在我们中间，存在于我们中间。偶尔我们会有意识或无意识地为此类事件的发生做出贡献。但是所有形式的死亡 - 邪恶，仇恨，暴力，遗弃，可怕的损失 - 都不是全部。所有这些现实都不会永远存在。这些力量也不会是压倒性的，因为它们不是世界上最强大的力量。
May God help us to see and know this – Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem. He goes to Jerusalem for you, for me, for that young mom and her precious 19 year old daughter who has just taken her own life. Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem for the other 19 year old mom and her baby who has just died, for her angry boyfriend out in the hallway yelling at the doctor. Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem for each of us, for all of us, for whatever has happened or hasn’t happened in our lives. Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem for those of us who are here in this place and for others who wouldn’t set foot in this place for whatever reasons, for those who can’t or won’t trust God or even anyone or anything else.
愿上帝帮助我们看到并知道这一点 ---- 耶稣毅然决然下定决心去耶路撒冷。为了你，为了我，为了那个年轻的母亲和她刚刚结束自己生命的珍贵的19岁女儿，他为你而去了耶路撒冷。耶稣为了另一个19岁的母亲和她刚刚去世的婴儿，为了在走廊里对医生大喊大叫的男朋友而去耶路撒冷。耶稣为我们每一个人，为我们所有人，无论在我们的生活中发生过或者没有发生过什么，他为了我们每一个人而去耶路撒冷。对于我们这些在这里的人以及因为某种原因不会踏足这个地方的人，耶稣向耶路撒冷出发，为那些不能或不会信靠上帝或者其他人或事的人。
Jesus goes to Jerusalem. He is spat upon, berated spurned, beaten, abandoned, discounted. He is horrifically crucified. How he suffers. He dies.
He dies – for you, for me, for all people, for all creation. He dies because of us. He dies taking on all the forces of evil and death. He has set his face to Jerusalem. He will not turn back regardless of the cost. (Pause)
But then oh people, when it is the bleakest, when there is seemingly little or no light, when all seems lost – Jesus is raised by God. He lives again. He breathes His very Spirit upon all who follow him. He offers forgiveness, that is new beginnings with God, with others and even with ourselves to those near and far – especially to those who have abandoned him.
He calls all of us, including you and me to trust him, to follow him in our daily lives. We are to walk with others where they are. We are to share his love with others, in silence, in deed and sometimes when called for in word – with those nearby, with those sometimes far off with those we easily like and with those whom we find difficult to care for or about. God will show us how and who.
Sometimes we will be called to weep with those who weep, to dance with those who dance, in the midst of however they or we are feeling. In all of this, by God’s grace we too may bring good news to the poor, declare release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, allow the oppressed to go free. This is part of following a suffering, risen Saviour.
Jesus doesn’t say, “this will be easy”. It isn’t. Living with hope in the face of despair, practicing forgiveness instead of following our urges for vengeance or getting even, working at love instead of hatred in the face of death and evil will never be easy. On our own, it’s impossible.
But Jesus shows us – we are not on our own! He and the Spirit and the people and creatures God sends us, accompany us through any and all realities - to the other side.
但耶稣告诉我们 - 我们不是靠自己！他和圣灵以及上帝所赐的人和生物，会陪伴我们度过所有现实 - 到了另一边。
Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem’. He commands us to follow him. Will we? Are we?
Know this. His command is both for our well being and for the well being and life of the world God loves so much.
Oh God, help us to ‘set our faces’ to follow Jesus today, each day –for Christ’s sake and the sake of the world. Amen.
Pentecost 3c19, June 23, 2019
Luke 8:26-39 (Trinity Lutheran Church, Delta)
OUR STORY? (Luke 8:26-39) 我们的故事
I wonder if you were listening to the account from the Gospel? I wonder because it’s so easy to tune it out. The story seems so strange, so foreign to us. What can we 21st century people identify with, demons, being shackled, mutilating ourselves, being cut off from others? And what’s all this stuff about pigs rushing off a cliff to drown? It all seems so strange, so different than anything we know, anything we experience now.
After all we are sophisticated people. Many of us wouldn’t be caught anywhere with our cell phones. Some of us have instagram accounts, communicate via snap chat. And if we aren’t into those things, we may watch television, travel to near or faraway places. What does any of this story that the gospel writer Luke share with us this morning have to do with us?
However at a closer look maybe this story isn’t so far removed from us. Maybe it is so close to “home” that it will make us uncomfortable.
I remember a young woman, actually many young people, but let me tell you of one particular young woman. She is intellectually vibrant, physically beautiful. At the time of my memory she had been married less than five years, the mother of a 3 year old, amazing little boy. She had two parents who loved her, a husband who supported, encouraged and accompanied her with much love. But she also struggled, mightily. She struggled with an eating disorder. Her struggles were so significant, that periodically once every year or so, she would need to be hospitalized. I don’t know how much you know about eating disorders, but they absolutely control the person. The person may force themselves to eat very little, while later bingeing, may exercise compulsively, while perceiving themselves to be overweight while in fact they may be malnourished, even starving. The person suffering with an eating disorder may also purge, that is they force themselves to vomit after eating. This beautiful, caring, lovely young woman was caught up in all of that. As a result she would be hospitalized, sometimes tube fed for periods of time, have her exercise equipment taken away – so that she could regain some semblance of physical health. While hospitalized it would be mandatory for her to take part in a support group with others who also battled with eating disorders. How she longed for, how she and so many others struggling with her illness needed to experience freedom and deliverance– freedom from the obsessions of their lives, freedom to actually know who they are, and deliverance to be able to live free from the compulsions. (Pause)
我认识一位年轻女性，其实我认识很多年轻人，但是让我告诉你这一位特别的年轻女性。她性格开朗，相貌美丽。在我记忆中，她结婚不到五年，是一个3岁小孩的母亲。她有两个爱她的父母，一个支持，鼓励和陪伴她的丈夫。但她也有挣扎。她因饮食紊乱症而痛苦。她的病痛如此严重，以至她大约每年都有一次需要住院治疗。我不知道你对饮食紊乱症了解多少，但这个病痛绝对控制了她。患病的这个人可能会强迫自己吃得很少，有时又会暴饮暴食，可能会强迫性地锻炼，同时感觉自己超重，而实际上他们可能因饥饿而营养不良。患有饮食紊乱症的人也会呕吐，即他们在进食后会强迫自己呕吐。这个美丽，充满爱心，可爱的年轻女子倍受病痛折磨。因此，有时她需要住院治疗，接受插管喂食，她的运动器材也被没收， --- 这样她就可以重新获得健康的外表。在住院期间，她必须与其他同时与饮食紊乱症作斗争的人组成互助小组。她和许多其他与疾病作斗争的人多么渴望获得自由和被拯救----从捆绑中被解放出来，认识自己，从压迫中被拯救出来。 （暂停）
I also think of a man, a man similar to my age. For many years to those viewing his life from outside of his life, he had it all. He had a career where he made good money, where many, many others respected and looked up to him. He was married to a woman who loved and also respected him. They had been blessed with two daughters. Their daughters were blessed with a variety of talents and energy. These girls deeply loved their dad and mom. But there was an overarching problem. This man drank – too much. At first his drinking seemed to be ‘manageable’ or at least that’s the way he liked to think of it. But as time progressed, his drinking also progressed. His drinking was consuming him. His compulsion to drink eventually cost him his marriage, his career. His drinking has severely damaged his relationship with his now grown daughters. In fact when one of his daughters was married about 2 years ago, she told him that he could come to her wedding, if he wasn’t drinking. And it was her stepfather, yes this man’s wife has remarried, that walked his daughter down the aisle while he stood by and wept. Later when that young couple were blessed with their own daughter, this man’s daughter contacted him to tell him that she would love for him to see his granddaughter but only if he wasn’t drinking. And although that was over a year ago I am not sure whether this man has been able to see his own granddaughter yet, although they live within a half hour’s drive of each other. (Pause)
These are moving, real life stories. But you may ask – what do they have to do with me, with us, with we who are gathered here and now? You or I may not have an eating disorder. You or I may or may not have a problem with addiction to alcohol or other drugs. Those of you who are not caught up by those particular struggles may feel, may even believe that you are free. After all freedom is part of the assertion of our national anthem, O Canada. We sing proudly, “True north strong and free!”
这些都是令人感动的和真实的故事。但是你可能会问 – 这跟我，跟今天聚集在这里的我们又什么关系呢？你我可能没有饮食失调症，可能有或没有酒精或其他药物成瘾的问题。那些没有被这些特殊困扰所捆绑的人可能会觉得，甚至可能相信你是自由的。毕竟自由是我们国歌的主张，O Canada。我们自豪地唱着，“真正的北方，强大而自由！”
But are we free? (Pause)
When I think of that question I am reminded of the epitaph on Martin Luther King Jr’s tombstone. It reads, “FREE, FREE AT LAST, THANK GOD I’M FREE AT LAST”!
Are we free?
Are you free to love yourself, to actually accept yourself as you are, warts and all? Are you caring for yourself in ways that foster and nurture abundant life? Do you eat properly, exercise in age appropriate ways? Do you stimulate your mind by reflecting, reading, praying in ways that lift yourself and others up? Do you avail yourself of opportunities that God provides for just such wonder and growth in music, poetry, literature?
Or, do you sometimes find yourself, as I find myself eating things that are less than healthy; filling chunks of my time by bingeing on things like television, junk food or even kinds of music that just fills my time, but doesn’t nurture or nourish, stretch my soul or mind?
Do you ever find yourself judging others whom you don’t even know? I think at first glance that some of these people I don’t know may be lazy or somehow less than me. Sometimes I make judgments of others based on my own ill informed stereotypes of their culture, their religion or their lack of practise of religion... And I am then ashamed of myself. Do you ever catch yourself doing similar things?
At other times I find myself avoiding others: the man sitting cross legged on the street with his baseball cap laying in front of him. I avoid his glance. Or I walk as far away as possible to somehow not interact with him. Why is that? Do I not see that he is also God’s child? Is my avoidance of this man part of my freedom? Or does my attempt at avoiding this man point to the reality that I am not free, not free to care, to interact, to explore where God may be leading me in that moment? Am I free from or captive to fear? Am I caught up by the status quo – to consciously or unconsciously try to keep things the same, because even though the way things are is far from perfect, I have somehow learned to “live” with that?
在其他时候，我发现自己回避了一些人：那个盘腿坐在街上男人，他的棒球帽放在他面前，我避开他的目光。或者我尽可能走得远一点，以某种方式不与他互动。这是为什么？难道我没有看到他也是上帝的孩子吗？回避这个人是我的自由的一部分吗？或者，我试图避开这位男士的事实表明了这样一个现实，即我不是自由的，不能自由地关心别人，与他人互动，探索上帝在那一刻可能会带领我去的地方？我是否没有恐惧，免于捆绑？我是否拘于现状 - 有意识地或无意识地试图保持不变? 因为即使事情远非完美，我们也已经学会了将就？
How about you? Are you free to love God, others and creation with all you have, those unique abilities God has placed together in the marvelous mixture that is you? Or are you sometimes caught, stuck in ruts, unable to interact with people and the world they way you would really like to? Are you free to dream, or have you given that up as a childish delusion?
The man that meets Jesus as Jesus steps off the boat in the land of the Gerasenes, the man whose only name we hear of is of his illness called legion, that man who has no home except among the dead, that man who is compelled to mutilate himself and stalk around naked, is anything but free.
But at least he knows this. Deep within his being he is honest with himself. Those destructive forces that are controlling him recognize that Jesus is the Most High Son of God. Those destructive forces realize that they cannot control Jesus or even the Ones Jesus touches and frees. So, those destructive forces beg Jesus that if he is going to send them out of the man, that Jesus send them somewhere else. Jesus does so.
In freeing the man who once identified himself only by those destructive forces that had been controlling him for so long, Jesus restores that man to his identity. This man is one who is loved by God. This man then has the capacity to work at being in healthy relationships with others and with God. He can unashamedly and unapologetically live his life in that love, with freedom to exemplify for others one who is at peace, one who is in their right mind.
Such change isn’t always easily accepted by others. In fact those who had seen the man before are afraid. They may sense the power of God in their midst – a power that has the ability to change everything, to allow us to care for each other, for all others, for creation and ourselves. Such power disrupts the status quo. Such power will have all kinds of economic and financial implications. Sacrifices to the way things were are involved. We can’t go on the way we were. But the way we were has often been so destructive. (Pause)
其他人并不总是容易接受这种改变。事实上那些曾见过这个男人的人都感到害怕。他们可能感受到上帝在他们中间的力量 ------一种能够改变一切的力量。 这个力量使我们彼此关心，关爱他人以及其他一切创造。这种力量打破了现状，这种力量将产生各种经济和财政影响，会有牺牲。我们不能继续我们以前的方式。但我们以前的方式往往是如此具有破坏性。 （暂停）
So, what about us? Dare we see the places in our lives where we are not free? Dare we be open to God the Creator, to Jesus the Saviour, to the Holy Spirit who can breathe new life into us in so many ways? Might we be honest enough to see our vulnerability, our weakness, our own hurtful habits to others and ourselves? Are we being opened to the power that God brings to us and for us?
God knows us as we are. God loves us. That’s what God becoming flesh in Jesus of Nazareth is all about. That’s what our baptism is all about. We are children of God, loved and being forgiven. We are not perfect. We are often not free to love and forgive as God loves and forgives.
But God in Jesus approaches us. God through the Holy Spirit comes to open our eyes, our minds, our hearts – to be freed bit by bit, day by day, sometimes in massive ways. All of this is so that we can be enabled like the man in Luke’s story to get up and go back home. As imperfect, as broken, as wonderful, as unique as we are, God in Christ through the Spirit wills to， free us so that we can love, forgive and so reflect God, our Father and Mother.
Jesus comes to us today asking what’s your name? He comes to bring us new life, freedom to share who we are and whose we are with and for others?
Will we experience that freedom? Will we, are we living with it? God help us, for christ’s sake. Amen.
Holy Trinity, (also Father’s Day), June 16, 2019. Trinity Lutheran Church, Delta, BC
Texts – Psalm 8 and John 16:12-15
Sometimes Pastors are called to do different things. I have a friend Paul. He is an Anglican priest. He had served his congregation in Vernon for many, many years. In doing so he had connected with many hundreds of people, indeed conducted even hundreds of funerals. When it came time for him to leave that congregation he was faced with a bit of a dilemma. Over the years a number of people had left their loved ones ashes in urns with him. He had promised to store those ashes until they would come and pick them up. Many of these people had flown into Vernon from far-away places to have their loved ones funerals and left no forwarding contact information, or information that now was no longer applicable. So what was Paul to do now with these urns. He really didn’t want to take them to his new congregation. I mean what would people think of him, bringing ashes with him from his former parish. It’s called not getting off on the right foot. So one beautiful sunny morning Paul and his son, went down to Okanagan lake. They got in a boat – and as they motored out in the middle of the lake, they scattered many people’s ashes...
When one is a Pastor it is difficult to escape from the reality of our mortality. The phrase that we use in our Ash Wednesday service as we have ashes imposed on our foreheads is for all Pastors and priests literally true, never far from our minds. That is because we stand at the gravesides our friends and commit their bodies, their ashes to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. And sooner or later we likely do that with those closest to us – for me that was true in 2016 as I buried both my mom and my dad.
当一个人是牧师时，他很难摆脱我们死亡的现实。我们在Ash星期三的服侍中，我们把灰烬画到我们的额头上，我们所引用的话语对所有牧师和神父来说都是很真实的，从未脱离我们的思想。那是因为我们站在我们朋友的坟墓上，把他们的尸体，骨灰埋葬，尘归尘，土归土。迟早我们可能会为那些跟我们最亲近的人做这件事 - 对我而言，2016年就是如此，因为那一年我埋葬了我的父亲和母亲。
But that mortal part of our lives is always lived out against the wonder and beauty of life, the mystery and wonder of birth, new life, love that is stronger than death. I can remember being a child in northern Saskatchewan in the winter time. I had a hockey rink in my backyard. And late at night, well, late for an 8 year old, after all my friends had trundled home, I would turn off all the lights on my rink and lay down on my back. I would look up into the sky, a sky whose stars were not dimmed by the light pollution of a city and view the expanse of the stars. I was in awe at their grandeur, at their majesty – at my smallness and sometimes then at my seeming insignificance. Perhaps you may have had a similar experience sometime in your life – out on a boat, or climbing a mountain, viewing an animal's ability to run, to connect with you – or, the list can go on and on.
但是，我们生命中平凡的那一部分总是与生命的美丽和奇迹相连，生命诞生的神秘与奇妙，新的生命和爱远比死亡更强大。我还记得在萨斯喀彻温省北部的冬天我的孩提时代。我家的后院有一个冰球场。到了夜晚，当然对于一个8岁的孩子已经很晚了，在我的所有朋友都回家之后，我会关掉冰场上的所有灯，躺下仰望天空，一个没有被城市的光污染所黯淡的星空，可以看到幅员辽阔的星星，我感受到它们的威严，伟大和富丽堂皇，-- 同时也衬托出我自己的渺小，有时更看似是无足轻重的。也许你在生活中有过类似的经历 – 比如在船上时，或是在爬山时，抑或是在观察动物跑步的能力时，你会联系到自己----这种例子可以继续一直列下去。
Those thoughts and feelings continue on for me today as I realize that the stars I can see with the naked eye are less than .01 percent of the stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. And the Milky Way is only one of many galaxies in the universe, so many in fact that we can’t even count them or begin to comprehend their magnitude. It is then that I and perhaps we begin to get the drift of the Psalmist’s wonder. Can we hear the Psalmist’s wonder - O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name, your presence, your reality in all the earth. When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, what is man (literal translation adam, creatures of the earth that you are mindful of us?).
现在我的这些想法和感受一直在继续，因为我意识到我能用肉眼看到的星星不到我们银河系中星星的0.01％。而银河系只是宇宙众多星系中的一个。事实上我们甚至无法统计它们的数量，或者去理解它们有多么多。就在那时，我，也许是我们开始了解诗篇作者的敬服。我们能否听到诗人的敬拜 - 主啊，我们的君主，你的名字，你的存在，你的名在全地何其美！我观看你指头所造的天，并你所陈设的月亮星宿，便说，人算什么（字面翻译亚当，地球上的生物，你所关注的我们？）。
Indeed: there’s a question – why would or should God, the Creator, care about us, little seemingly insignificant us? (Pause)
确实：这里有一个问题 - 为什么上帝，造物主，关心我们，而我们看起来却是微不足道的？ （暂停）
AND YET, we experience, we know, we hear repeatedly, sometimes we see clearly that God does care! From Genesis, the very beginning of our Bible we are told that we human beings, we creatures of the earth are created bearing God’s own image. And this morning the Psalmist tells us that we are made by God little less than God or angels. I have to wonder, Why?
That’s another good question. It’s a question for the ages, a question so important, so profound that it’s also a question for eternity.
But the Psalmist doesn’t stop with the question. The Psalmist proceeds to wrestle with the reality of God’s gifts to us as human beings. God has placed other parts of creation, including human beings, plants, animals, birds, the fish of the sea, the sea itself in our care. WOW!
但诗篇的作者并没有停留在这个问题上。诗篇的作者继续与现实 -- 这个上帝赐给我们人类的礼物搏斗。上帝也创造了其他东西，包括人类，植物，动物，鸟类，海洋鱼类，海洋本身。哇！
Such a gift, such trust, such a calling is something we humans have labelled, VOCATION. This vocation, the call to care for others and creation is an integral part of our being. DEEP WITHIN US WE KNOW THIS IS TRUE!
We are created for relationship – relationship with God, relationship with others, relationship with the earth and all her creatures.
我们是为关系而创造的 - 与上帝的关系，与他人的关系，与地球的关系以及与地球上所有的生物的关系。
But how? How do we maintain, enter into, nurture and live in caring relationships with others, with the earth and her creatures? THIS IS ANOTHER AMAZINGLY LARGE AND DIFFICULT QUESTION... (pause)
Some say, “It’s easy. Do what you want. Do what comes naturally. If your relationships with others aren’t working for you, move on. Sometimes, we may have to. If those relationships with others or with the creation are destructive, we may have to withdraw from that relationship for awhile or for even for good.
One doesn’t walk unprotected into a lion’s enclosure. One doesn’t attempt to cross the Pacific on a surf board. One can’t live with another person who is continually abusive, physically or emotionally. But these realities do not end our calling from God to care for others and creation, including ourselves.
In our world today we face serious challenges. At home we face issues around each and every person needing a safe place to live, to be able to call home. Many parts of our province and country include people who struggle with issues of food security. They simply don’t have enough to eat, even though every day tons of food are being thrown out, wasted. We also continue to wrestle with misunderstanding our neighbors, especially those of different faiths, different cultural and religious backgrounds or no religious background whatsoever. Nor have we or do we always consider the cost of advancement on others, ourselves, wildlife or the environment. We do need to move forward – but we need to do so wisely, humbly in consultation with all others around us.
在当今的世界中，我们自己也面临着严峻的挑战。每个人都需要一个安全的居所，一个可以称为家的地方。许多省份和国家的人们都在为了食物而奔波挣扎。即便是每天都有大量的食物被扔掉，浪费掉， 他们仍然没有足够的食物。我们还继续努力解决我们对我们邻居的误解，特别是那些与我们有着不同信仰，不同文化和宗教背景的，或者是没有任何宗教背景的邻居。我们也不总会考虑到社会进步给我们自己和其他人，以及野生动植物或环境所带来的成本。我们确实需要前进 - 但我们需要明智地去做，谦卑地与我们周围的所有其他人协商。
In some ways we are beginning to wake up. As Christians we must together ask, “What is God calling us to do and be in the face of all these realities?” (pause)
I am absolutely amazed and humbled by what God entrusts to us. I remember just after our first daughter was born. She was so tiny. I wasn’t even sure how to hold her. And I thought to myself, I can’t even hammer a nail, or change my own oil. How am I going to be a role model for and take care of this incredible little human being?
Yes, God entrusts us with such huge responsibilities... To be sure, we are creatures of the earth, mortals, still evolving, still learning, still making many mistakes, too often obsessively self centered. And yet, God calls us to care for the earth, all earth’s creatures and each other.
At times we have done well. Often, we have failed. Then we have hurt, neglected, subjugated even attempted to exterminate each other and other species. We have dumped our waste into our waterways and pumped our poisonous emissions into our atmosphere, harming so much and so many. And still God entrusts us with this caring task, hoping that we will respond positively, lovingly now. Is God stupid, reckless, apathetic? (Pause)
NO! GOD DOESN’T LEAVE US ALONE TO OR IN OUR TASK. God sends God’s own breath, God’s own SON. GOD ALSO SENDS GOD’S OWN SPIRIT, AMONG US, WITHIN US. God’s living, wise breath breathes upon us.
That’s what Jesus is telling his disciples as He is trying to have them realize that He must leave them, that He is soon going to be killed. I suspect that Jesus realizes that they are going to be lost after He is killed. We must know some of that experience. When someone we deeply love dies, how lost are we? In that moment and from then on, everything changes.
How much even more so for the early disciples? They had walked, slept beside, conversed daily with Jesus. They had watched him, touch, feed, heal, argue with others and weep. They had listened to him tell them about God’s reign and seen him bring it near to them. They had just begun to realize that everyone matters, that no one is untouchable. So, they had begun to hope. But then he was killed. And they were lost...
Jesus anticipates their being lost before it happens. So he tells them and us of the wonderful gift that he and His Father, the Creator, are sending them and us. This gift is the Spirit, God’s own breath and wisdom.
There are many words that people have come up with over the years to speak of what this Spirit means to them. Among these words are COMFORTER, GUIDE, CONSOLER, ADVOCATE, BRINGER OF TRUTH.
Jesus sends the Spirit to His earliest disciples and to us to lead us into the truth. This truth is never so called fake news. Rather this truth emanates from the love of God seen in Jesus intended for the well being and new life of all people and all creation. Such truth is beyond our limited human comprehension. But such truth both grasps and embraces us, calling us, demanding, wooing us into responding to God’s love for us and all others by seeking to care for ourselves, others and all of creation with the unique gifts God showers upon us. These gifts from God to us are significant.
Think about a time when someone has said something to you or done something for you that has picked you up or even empowered you to go on with hope, or to rethink how you treat others. One of my golfing friends told me that last week he and his wife were sitting in a restaurant having lunch. After they had finished he asked for the bill. The server told him that his bill was paid. He looked around. He didn’t know another soul in that small restaurant. In fact there was only one other couple there. He inquired of them, “did you pay my bill?” The man smiled and said, “yes!”. My friend asked, “Why?” And the man replied, “Because I wanted to!” My friend thanked him. Later my friend told me, “That man has caused me to think about how I live my life.”
Think of the opportunities we have been given by God to help others, even to care for creation. Such opportunities are almost endless.
What would happen if we intentionally asked God each day, through God’s Spirit to show us what we can do today to fulfill our God given vocation of caring for others and the creation?
What would happen if our leaders in government, law enforcement agencies, teachers, doctors, nurses, mechanics, farmers, neighbors, friends, parents, siblings, pastors asked that same question and listened for God’s direction? We can only imagine! It can be, it is wonderful, it would be wonderfully good, that is, of God.
So, dear people, look around. Look around and see God’s handiwork. See the wonder and beauty. See the struggle and pain within and around us. Dear people, look around and be open to God’s call, God’s breath upon our lives. Live out of the call that comes through this mystery of God we call the trinity, the Creator, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Look around and know that we are not alone. God is more than mindful of us. God loves us. God breathes upon us and wills to direct us to care and live, bringing about new life, now and always. Amen and Amen.
Pentecost c, Narrative 19,June 9, 2019, Trinity Lutheran Church, Delta BC
Romans 8:26 -39 with Acts 2:1-4 in the background.
罗马书8：26-39 使徒行传 2：1-4
I remember being barely 17. The time had come. I was leaving my home, my parents, my friends and girlfriend. I was moving away from the city I had grown up in, to a different city, to university. Suddenly I was surrounded by over 10,000 other students. They all seemed much older, much more mature, to have their lives together, so much better than me. To top things off I lived in a dormitory where I knew no one. In my mind and heart I began to question whether or not I mattered. To the university I was merely a number, 713561. In those first days, weeks, even months of my time in university I felt as if no one there cared or even knew that I existed.
Have you ever felt that way, alone, supposedly insignificant that no one cared. Have you ever wondered if you really matter?
I wonder about that for so many people – for people who have no homes, whether they are those living on the streets in our Canadian cities, and it doesn’t matter how big our cities are – there are homeless in each and every place. I wonder about that for those who struggle to make ends meet. Oh yes, they may have a roof over their heads but by the middle or the end of the month they may need to access food from other sources – soup kitchens, community meals, the local food bank. Are these people insignificant? Does anyone really care?
我想知道很多人是不是都有这种感觉--那些没有住房的人，无论他们是住在我们加拿大哪个城市的街头，无论我们的城市有多大 - 每个地方都有无家可归者。对于那些努力维持生计的人，我想知道这一点。哦，是的，他们可能有一个居所，但在月中或月末，他们可能需要从其他来源获取食物 - 汤厨房，社区餐，当地的食物银行。这些人是微不足道的吗？ 有人真正关心他们吗？
I also wonder about that when I watch young people. They sometimes tell me that when they don’t meet the standards they feel our society or families set for them – great grades at school, success in the athletic, musical or academic fields, that they often feel insignificant, less than what really, truly could matter.
当我看到年轻人时，我也很想知道这一点。他们有时会告诉我，当他们没有达到社会或家庭给他们所定的标准时， - 比如没有在学校取得很好的成绩；没有在体育，音乐或学术领域获得成功时，他们常常会觉得自己微不足道，比那些真真正正重要的要差一些。
I also wonder about that when I watch people age, especially elderly people living alone or in care facilities. Who then comes to visit them? Who phones them? They often wonder if they are significant now that they no longer are employed, now that their mobility may be lessened, now that some of their closest friends and family members have died.
Others communicate to me that they wrestle with profound feelings of hopelessness. When they look at and allow themselves to feel what is happening to our earthly home – they begin to feel themselves sinking into despair. The polar icecap is melting, the oceans are rising. Some city’s water supplies are poisoned and people become ill and die. Numbers of species are becoming extinct. Yet so many of us continue on, either actually oblivious to the impact that our ways of living are having on our earthly home not only for us, but for so many others and for all those who will come after us. Will we, can we, are we willing to find new ways to live, new ways to get around, to house and clothe ourselves that do not so seriously gouge and damage our earthly home?
其他人告诉我，他们正在与强烈的无望感搏斗。当他们看到并让自己感受到我们的地球家园正在发生的事情时 - 他们开始觉得自己陷入到绝望之中。极地冰盖正在融化，海平面正在上升。一些城市的供水因受到污而使人们生病死亡。很多物种正在灭绝。然而，我们中的许多人仍然继续，或者实际上浑然不觉地保持着现有的生活方式，继续影响着我们的地球家园，这个家园不仅是我们的，也是其他许多人的，以及所有将来的人们的。我们能否，我们是否愿意去寻找新的生活方式，新的方法来安居乐业？而不是那么严重的凿击和破坏我们地球家园？
Hopelessness can raise its reality into our lives in many ways. When we fail at those things that are so important to us we may feel hopeless, even useless or worse yet, unloveable, not acceptable. Failure can happen in many ways. It can happen in exams. It can happen in relationships – not only when the relationship breaks down, but along the journey every day. When we say hurtful things to others, especially to those we love the most. When we aren’t attentive to others – and then later we wake up and wonder how we could not have heard or responded to their pain, to their need, to their joy. Hopelessness can arise within us when we are overwhelmed by change or even when we see our bodies or minds changing. Who are we then? What is our future? What is the future of life around us?
绝望可以通过多种方式在我们的现实生活中表现出来。当我们在那些对我们很重要的事情上失败时，我们可能会感到绝望，甚至觉得自己无用，或更糟糕地觉得自己不值得被爱，被接受。失败可能以多种方式发生。它可以在考试中发生，它可能发生在人际关系中 --不仅发生在关系破裂时，而且发生在我们生活的每一天。当我们对别人，特别是对我们最爱的人说出伤害性的话语时。当我们不关注他人时 –- 当我们醒来纳闷我们怎么没有听到或回应别人的痛苦，别人的需要，别人的快乐呢。当我们被变化所淹没，甚至当我们看到我们的身体或思想发生变化时，我们的内心就会产生绝望。我们是谁？我们的未来是什么？我们未来的生活会怎样？
In such times we may feel as if we are a tiny boat on a large body of water. For brief periods we may be getting by. For brief moments we may even be sailing on a gorgeous sunny day where life is filled with wonder and we are feeling great. But then, storm clouds gather, the wind whips up, the waves arise. Suddenly we are taking on water. Now we are fearing for our lives, and perhaps even the lives of others. Now we are simply trying so desperately not to drown. Others around us may already have died or are seemingly lost.
I suspect that St. Paul wrestled with all these experiences, with all these feelings. At one point in his life, even for a considerable amount of time he had been convinced that he was on the right course. He went about hunting other people down, seeking to ridicule and punish them. But then God encountered Paul, showing him that his life needed to be completely turned around. And, as his life was being turned around Paul encountered serious opposition, suffering, pain. He was shunned, even abandoned by many others. There must have been times when he was down in the dumps when he may well have had second and third thoughts about God loving him, about hope beyond the pain, the suffering, the sense of being cut off from others.
But, AND THIS IS SO IMPORTANT – Paul kept getting drawn back to Jesus the Christ, to God the Creator, to the work of the Holy Spirit both around and within Him. He realized that God the Creator loves us so. He became convinced that God sent God’s only Son to show us that no matter how we feel or what is happening we are not alone. God is with us and for us. God loves us.
但是，这一点非常重要 - 保罗不断被带回到耶稣基督，造物主上帝面前，归于在他周围和内里工作的圣灵。他意识到创造者上帝如此爱我们。他确信上帝派上帝唯一的儿子告诉我们，无论我们的感受如何或发生了什么，我们并不孤单。上帝与我们同在并与为我们工作。上帝爱我们。
Paul came to realize that even though sometimes he didn’t know what God’s will was or is or even how to pray for that, that God’s will, that God’s own Spirit and the risen suffering Christ prays for us, speaks on our behalf to God the Creator, so that we might become who God wills us to be now and always, so that we might live as God’s own beloved children, God’s very sons and daughters.
So it is that we get to hear the climax of Paul’s reflections on this – the work of God Creator, Son and Holy spirit for us and all people and all creation. Listen in: “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us who is against us (that is who effectively can separate us from the loving power of God?)” Paul reflects on this for a few verses and then powerfully concludes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor anything else in all of creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
因此，我们可以听到保罗对此反思的高潮部分--- 上帝创造者，圣子和圣灵对我们以及所有人和所有受造之物的工作。请听：“那么我们要对这些事情说些什么呢？如果上帝是为了我们，那谁是反对我们的（是谁能有效地将我们与上帝的爱心分开？）“保罗在这几节经文中反思这一点，然后有力地总结道：” 因为我深信无论是死、是生，是现在的事，是将来的事，是高处的，是低处的，是别的受造之物，都不能叫我们与神的爱隔绝；这爱是在我们的主基督耶稣里的。”
Let me attempt to restate this in a more contemporary way. I quote Dan Clendenin, a blogger who in his blog, ‘Journey With Jesus’ relates the following.
让我试着以更现代的方式重申这一点。我引用了一位博主Dan Clendenin，的博客“与耶稣的旅程” 中的如下内容。
This past Easter, we had a baptism in our church. After the little boy rose from his third plunge beneath the waters, our priest made the sign of the cross on his forehead. As he did so, he recited those beautiful and powerful words: "William, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ. You belong to God."
The next day, William told his mother, "I can still feel the cross. I hope it never comes off."
The oily cross wore off his forehead, but not God's unconditional promise. William belongs to God, forever, full stop. Nothing can ever change that.
This baptismal promise echoes the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist: "You are my beloved son." Writing in the Huffington Post about the baptism of Jesus, Vicki Flippin of The Church of the Village in New York City says, "I tell folks that baptism is the church declaring what has always been true, that each of us belongs to God and only to God. The child (person whatever their age) is claimed by God above all other claims."
Many malignant forces try to name and claim us. Baptism reminds us that first and foremost, above and beyond all other claims — however legitimate or oppressive — we belong to God.
We don't belong to our boss or the bank. We don't belong to an abusive spouse or our addictive impulses. We're not defined by sickness, success or failure. We don't belong to the political propagandists or the advertising industry. We're not the sum total of our poor choices, painful memories, or bad dreams.
"Even though it might feel like, look like, smell like, hurt like you belong to all these other things," says Flippin, "as sure as water is wet and God is good, I heard a voice out of the heavens say it: You belong to God. Our baptism can remind us that no one determines our worth in this world or in the next other than God."
Every person belongs to God. God created us. God cares for us. God calls us by name: "you are my beloved."
O precious people of God, wherever we are this day and in the coming days and nights, by God’s grace individually and collectively may we cling to this promise from God – we are God’s beloved. And NO THING AND NO ONE CAN EVER CHANGE THAT.
上帝的宝贵子民，无论我们今天和未来的日日夜夜，藉着上帝的恩典，我们才能既独自又联合地坚信上帝的承诺 - 我们是上帝所爱的人。没有什么事情，也没有什么人可以改变这一点。
By God’s grace and the Spirit’s ongoing work may we help each other to remember this, to live from this, to love and forgive others and this world – to live more caringly in the world. We are God’s beloved. Amen and Amen.
通过上帝的恩典和圣灵正在进行的工作，我们可以帮助彼此记住这一点，并由此去爱和宽恕别人和这个世界 - 在这个世界上满怀爱心地生活。我们是上帝所爱的人。阿门。
Easter 7 c, Narrative 19 (June 2, 2019, TLC, Delta)
Romans 6:1-14 罗马书6：1-14
Key verse is Romans 6:4 “Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Paul speaks again and about “walking in newness of life”.
I wonder what that means for any and all people who have been joined to Christ. Does being joined to Christ make any real difference in our lives? Sometimes when I look around I see appallingly little difference. Only 4 years ago a 21 year old Lutheran man, who grew up in the church, walked into a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlestown South Carolina and murdered 9 people he didn’t even know while wounding 3 others. Was Dylann Roof walking in newness of life?
我想知道这对任何和所有加入基督教的人来说意味着什么。加入基督教是否会对我们的生活产生任何真正的影响？有时当我环顾四周，我很少能看到惊人的差别。仅仅4年前，有一位21岁的路德教教徒，他在教堂长大，他在南卡罗来纳州查尔斯顿的伊曼纽尔非洲卫理公会主教教堂做祷告时，杀害了9名他甚至完全不认识的人，并使3人受伤。 Dylann Roof是否活在新生命中？
And is the newness of life that St. Paul is talking about in his letter to the Romans even possible for those survived his hate-filled shooting or the loved ones and friends of those whose lives he took? (brief pause)
What might this newness of life mean for those who have experienced and are experiencing the demeaning power of racial discrimination, bigotry, unequal treatment under the law in Canada? I am reminded of the Japanese Canadians who were stripped of their businesses and unjustly interred in Canada during World War II. They had done nothing wrong. I am also thinking of the murdered and missing indigenous women, some of whom lost their lives only a few miles from this church building. Although numerous reports had been filed about their disappearance, nothing was done for years. What might the newness of life Paul is speaking about mean for their friends and family?
And, what might this newness of life, mean for you and me, for we who are joined to the power of Christ’s death and resurrection so that the power of sin, which includes hatred, paralyzing fear of so many things and even people who may appear to be different than us or think differently than us, can be and is overcome?
Could we be enabled, are we being enabled to actually love and accept others, to wish for and work for the best for others including those who irritate and sometimes infuriate us?
Often we don’t wish to speak about sin, especially our sin. Or, if we do talk speak of sin, we seek to minimize its power. At such times we think of sin as eating what we shouldn’t eat, like too much chocolate or ice cream. Or we think of sin as something horrific that other people do, like Dylann Roof at that church in Charlestown or Robert Picton on his pig farm. Sin is out there, inhabiting others. But the power of sin is even more than that. The power of sin is alive and well, working within, upon and among us.
我们常常不想谈论罪，特别是我们自己的罪。或者，如果我们谈论罪，我们会尽量轻描淡写。在这种时候，我们认为罪是吃不应该吃的东西，比如太多的巧克力或冰淇淋。或者我们认为罪是其他人所做的事情，比如Charlestown那座教堂的Dylann Roof或者养猪场的Robert Picton。罪就在那里，在别人身上。但罪的力量远不止于此。罪的力量是实实在在的，在我们内心，在我们中间工作。
St. Paul understands this. He says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!” All!
So how then can and shall we live in this newness of life that Paul declares? How can we be freed from the hatred and rage that sometimes enters our minds and hearts? How can we stop blaming others for what is going wrong in so many aspects of life without being willing to see our own part in that, without being willing to follow Jesus, to do what we can to change things for the better regardless of the personal cost? How can we live the full and abundant life that Christ brings?
These are important questions for our lives.
As we are face to face with questions that don’t have easy answers, it’s good to go back to the basics, to explore our history as followers of Jesus. The earliest confession of the first Christians was this: JESUS IS LORD! Their confession arose out of their circumstances, their understanding and experience of who Jesus is in the middle of their living and their dying. Lord for them was the one who owned or controlled their land. Lord was the one they paid taxes to. Lord for them was also the one who had responsibility to protect them from their enemies. Lord was the person to be obeyed, respected and even feared.
At first glance we seem to be quite disconnected from such understandings. Many of us sometimes think of ourselves as being the ones who are in control. Sometimes we live with the illusion that we can take care of ourselves, that we are somehow our own master. We will do what we want to do, when we want to do it. But such thinking and acting is a delusion. We live in a global economy. We are mortal human beings. We can see the reality of lack of control, even in chaos around us. There are millions of refugees, people whose homes have been destroyed or appropriated, by forces beyond their control. They know they need help. We must realize that we need help also to live in newness of life that Christ wills for all.
St. Paul knew to the tips of his toes, to the very heart of his being that he and all of us need a savior, one who can wrestle us away from the power of sin and evil. Paul knew that sin wasn’t just out there around him in the Roman empire. Certainly he saw the power of sin out there, around him in the thousands of people who were being subjugated by the Romans for the Romans own gain. The few rich got richer and the many, many poor became poorer. Does that sound familiar? St. Paul also saw the power and reality of sin in the crosses at the entrances to Roman cities, where anyone who dared stand up to Roman might was made an example of.
But just as importantly Paul saw the power of sin in his own life. As a Pharisee, he was convinced he was carrying out God’s good and gracious will by seeking to persecute any who wouldn’t buy into the power of the Torah, the law revealed to the Jewish people by God. That’s why Paul originally pursued the followers of Jesus – to hurt and persecute them. But when God spoke to him directly Paul learned how wrong he was – how hateful and horrible he had behaved towards God’s own people.
但同样重要的是，保罗在自己的生命中也看到了罪的力量。作为一个法利赛人，他确信他正在履行上帝的善意和仁慈的旨意，试图迫害那些不会接受托拉权力统治的人，这是上帝向犹太人民所启示的律法。这就是为什么保罗最初搜捕，伤害和迫害耶稣的追随者。但是当上帝直接向他讲话时，保罗知道他是多么错误 - 他对上帝的子民表现得多么可恨和可怕。
We need to be aware of this too. The power of sin is not just out there, in Dylann Roof, Robert Picton or the decisions of some government somewhere. The power of sin is also in here - within us personally, working to control, to direct us. We in the Church are far from exempt. That’s why we also need a Savior, the very Son of God.
我们也需要意识到这一点。罪恶的力量不只是在那里，在Dylann Roof，Robert Picton身上或某些政府的决定上。罪的力量也在这里 - 在我们自己身上，努力要控制、诱导我们。我们在教会中也远不能豁免。这就是为什么我们也需要一位救主，就是上帝的儿子。
Herein is our hope. As Paul says in Romans 6, we are joined to Christ in our baptism. Note how this being joined occurs. We are joined to Christ’s death. That’s right, to his death. There is suffering involved on Christ’s part. There will also be suffering and struggle on our parts. There are things within us that continually need to die, to let go of – resentments, bigotry, prejudice, desire for more and more. There is also new birth that needs to occur within us and around us: an admission that we are sometimes, often wrong; a confession that we need help to love and forgive, that we need new eyes and attitudes to see and hope, a realization that simply by our own power we cannot follow Jesus.
This being joined to Christ’s death and resurrection has big repercussions here and now and forever. In Jesus we can’t stay the same. We are being given help to view others and the world in new ways – to see the injustice and hatred, the bigotry out there and within. And we are being moved to change and to seek changes as we follow Jesus.
我们因着基督的死和复活而连接，无论是现在还是将来，这都会产生很大的影响。 在耶稣里，我们不能保持不变。 我们正在获得帮助，以新的方式看待他人和这个世界 - 看到不公正和仇恨，内在及外在的偏见。 当我们跟随耶稣时，我们正在被改变并寻求改变。。
This is good news!
In the midst of this wonderful news we need to know that this newness of life is not a straight forward progression. Yes, it’s already happening. Christ has died, Christ is risen. We are being forgiven and being made new. Sometimes we actually see this in ourselves and others. We do love. We do forgive. We do give generously of our time and talents without thinking about ourselves. People rush to a burning plane. They open up their church at First Lutheran in Vancouver to a Russian family who need asylum or they will be deported. We help sponsor a refugee family We hear and see others and are moved to action.
在这个奇妙的好消息中，我们需要知道，这个新生命不是一个简单直接的过程。 是的，它正在发生。 基督已经死了，基督又复活了，我们被宽恕并成为新人。 有时我们在自己和他人身上看到了这一点。 我们确实去爱，确实去原谅。 我们确实慷慨地投入时间和才能而不考虑自己。 人们向一架燃烧的飞机冲去。 在温哥华的First Lutheran向一个需要庇护的俄罗斯家庭开放他们的教堂做为他们的避难所，否则他们将被驱逐出境。 我们赞助一个难民家庭，我们听到并看到其他人的需要，并采取行动。
But we also know that while we are driving our blood boils when someone cuts us off or runs a yellow or red light. We do know that sometimes we hold on to grudges towards people who have mistreated us and hurt us. We do know that sometimes we give into the temptation that what happens to other people really isn’t our problem. Then we focus primarily on ourselves and those we love most and might even feel that’s the totality of what God would call us to be and do.
但我们也知道，当我们开车的时候看到别人闯红灯或黄灯或被人隔断，我们又会热血沸腾。我们确实知道，有时我们会抱怨那些虐待并伤害我们的人。 我们也的确知道有时候我们会受到试探，认为发生在别人身上的事情并不是我们的问题。 我们主要关注自己和我们最爱的人，甚至可能觉得这是上帝所称的我们要做的事情的全部。
But deep down we know it’s not. We know that we are called to love our neighbors and that our neighbors are all those around us near and far, especially those most vulnerable We know that we are called to care for our planet. We realize that the affluence we enjoy so much is destroying the planet God has entrusted to us. As we know this – we begin to feel overwhelmed, even hopeless.
但在内心深处，我们知道不是这样的。 我们知道我们被呼召要爱我们的邻舍，我们的邻舍是我们周围或远方的人，更是那些最弱势的人。我们知道我们被呼召来照顾我们的星球。 我们意识到，我们所享受的富裕正在摧毁上帝托付给我们的星球。 我们知道这一点 - 我们开始感到不知所措，甚至毫无希望。
St. Paul knew this reality so deeply. So, he asked, “Who will rescue us from this body and power of death?”
He also experienced the answer. Thanks be to God it is Jesus, the Christ sent from God to suffer, to die and to be raised for each of us, for all of us.
Jesus is our Lord too, the one who in joining us to Himself to free us from the power of death and evil now and forever. In joyful response we are called to follow him to the best of the abilities He gives to us each and every day. That is the full and abundant life, walking in newness of life. God who loves us and the world so much will help us. Amen.
耶稣也是我们的主，是那个与我们联合起来的人，是那个现在和将来将我们从死亡和邪恶的力量中解放出来的人。 在回应中，我们被召唤来跟随他，使他每天都能给予我们最好的能力。 那就是充实而丰富的生活，走在新生命中。 爱我们和世界的上帝会帮助我们。 阿门。
Hope Responders 希望的响应者
Narrative, Easter 6c, 19 (Trinity Lutheran Church, May 26, 2019)
Romans 5:1-11 罗马书5：1-11
O precious ones of God, grace to you and peace, from God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three in One. Amen.
亲爱的上帝，圣父，圣子，圣灵，三位一体， 感谢你赐下的恩典和平安。 阿门。
Are you hopeful? Think carefully – listen to your thoughts AND your feelings. Look around at what you see, hear and feel. Are you hopeful? (pause)
你满怀希望吗？仔细想想 - 倾听你的想法和感受。环顾四周，你所看到，听到和感受到的东西。你满怀希望吗？ （暂停）
When I was much younger I used to feel hopeful on many fronts. My hockey team won Stanley Cups. The church that I was part of was often full on Sunday mornings. Canada had a pristine international reputation as Peace Keepers. In many ways young people were quite idealistic. They cared about what happened around the world even taking part in public protests and peace marches. Some were willing to sacrifice the citizenship they had in their own country because they no longer could agree with the acts that their own country was carrying out. Many adults looked out for their neighbors, not only knowing their names but made time to sometimes laugh with them, eat with them – rejoiced and ached with them depending upon the circumstances.
当我年轻的时候，我曾经在许多方面感到充满希望。我的曲棍球队赢得了斯坦利杯。我所参与的教会在星期天早上常常都是满员。加拿大在国际上享有和平守护者的美誉。在很多方面，年轻人都是理想主义者。他们关心世界各地发生的事情，甚至参加公众抗议和和平游行。有些人愿意放弃他们在自己国家的公民身份，因为他们无法同意他们自己国家的所做所为。许多成年人都会找他们的邻居，不仅仅是知道他们的名字，而且还会抽出时间和他们一起笑，一起吃饭 – 跟他们一起或喜乐，或悲伤。
To be sure there were many challenges in those days. The nuclear arms race raged. The imaginary clock of destruction seemed to be approaching midnight. Yet as a young person in the early 70’s I often felt hopeful. Jobs were plentiful. In North America the majority of people could buy a house in 25 years. Some people even believed that we could completely eradicate poverty and disease. Lots of people felt hopeful.
But now nearly 50 years later fewer people seem to express those feelings of hope. Churches aren't full on Sunday mornings. Say what you want about that, I feel a deep disappointment attached to such reality. Do those who have left or who have never been part of a worshiping community have any idea of what they are missing– a deep sense of belonging, a profound desire to praise God for blessings, the desire to enter into deep questions together, of being connected to others both when it is time to weep but also when it is time to dance? Do we sense that we are missing out on their presence?
但是现在差不多50年过去了，似乎很少有人会表现出这种希望。星期天的早上教堂不再满员。说出你们想要的东西，我对这种现实感到非常失望。那些已经离开或者从未参与过崇拜的人是否知道他们所缺少的东西是什么 – 是那种深刻的归属感，是赞美上帝祝福的渴望，是一起深入研究问题的渴望，是与他人建立的无论是在哭泣时，还是开心时都紧密相连的关系。我们是否感觉到我们忽略了这些东西的存在？
Regarding Canada, our reputation as a peacemaker, as a place for refugees, has had its ups and downs over the last 50 years. I still experience many of our young people being idealistic, wanting to make a difference. Today we live in a time when almost anyone can observe the suffering and pain of others around the world instantaneously. The pain, the ongoing losses of men, women and children, of entire countries are significant and seemingly never end. The millions of people who have lost their homes is staggering. The bombardment of our senses is overwhelming, Can anyone blame our youth, even ourselves for often only plugging in to twitter, for refusing to regularly watch the news, to seek to escape into entertainment, to seeking to disconnect from so much that is right around us?
Yet some reality kindles fire within us. A bus carrying young junior hockey players crashes on a rural remote highway and not just Canadians but people from around the world respond with money, messages and prayers. A man walks into my office and says, “Pastor, I think God is calling us to help a refugee family”. And feelings of hope stir within my being。
But our feelings come and go. Someone steals an entire garage full of Girl Guide cookies. Someone else steals toys being saved in a warehouse for Christmas time and needy children. My heart plummets.
If ever anyone had reasons not to feel hopeful it had to be St. Paul. He invested his entire life, everything he had and was in sharing the good news of Jesus' life, death and resurrection with people, often even strangers who mocked him, who sometimes sought to do him grave harm. For all of his efforts, sacrifices and "spiritual" experiences Paul had regularly been shunned by other Christians, rejected by some of his closest friends and on numerous occasions been thrown into jail, whipped, beaten.
Nevertheless this morning we are privileged to hear part of Paul’s letter to a group of Christians in Rome, people he had yet to meet. What is he writing about? Hope! . .
尽管如此，今天早上我们很荣幸能听到保罗给罗马的一群基督徒写的信，这些基督徒他还没有见过。他在写什么呢？希望！ 。 。
Listen carefully to what he says. "We boast (rejoice, glory) in our hope of sharing the glory of God." It sounds like he's thinking about some grand and glorious day in the future when suffering, pain, chaos and misery would become realities of a distant past, perhaps merely blurry, fading memories.
But reading on and listening carefully we discover that isn’t the case: "And not only that, but we also boast (rejoice, exult) in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hoped hope does not disappoint (nor disgrace) us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that God has given us."
Has Paul lost his mind? Have all those beatings, imprisonments, rejections caused him to uncover or project an alternate personality, to become completely delusional?.... I don't think so.
What I do think, what I am now convinced of is that Paul has come to realize that hope is neither a feeling nor something that comes out of anything that we or any other human person can accomplish – as amazing or as wonderful as that may be.
我的想法，我现在所相信的是，保罗已经意识到，希望既不是一种感觉，也不是我们或任何其他人可以完成的任何东西 - 这可能就是它惊人或奇妙之处。
Instead Paul has learned as he has attempted to follow Jesus that this abiding and powerful hope comes from the reality that God is with us, that God is always working to bring about a new reality even in and through us. Indeed, Paul declares that nothing can separate us from this love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!
This is hope here and now. Such hope is neither merely a wish nor even a deep longing. Such hope is a gift, experienced in bits and pieces, in moments or even days of wonder now. But as we journey it is eventually revealed more and more. Such hope is birthed and brought to fruition in and through the promise of this One who has suffered, died and been raised from the dead. As he accompanies us in our joy and pain, in the joy and pain of others, this gift of hope from Him grows.
As Frederick Buechner says in his book Now and Then, A Memoir of Vocation – "Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It's in language that's not always easy to decipher, but its' there powerfully, memorably, unforgettably."
正如弗雷德里克·布赫纳在他的书《那时和现在，一个职业回忆录》中所说的那样 - “倾听你的生活。聆听发生在你身上的事情，因为上帝就是通过发生在你身上的事情来讲话。用语言解释并不总是很容易，但它“有力，令人难忘，铭记在心。”
My own struggles in not sensing or feeling hope result not because God isn’t at work in the midst of all reality. Instead I sometimes get sucked into the vortex of our time, a vortex that declares that we can help ourselves, that we have no need of assistance from God or anyone else – that sometimes pushes us to ‘believe’ that we are beyond help. When I find myself ‘there’, when we are ‘there’, our darkness is deep.
我自己的挣扎是，感受不到或感觉不到希望的这个结果不是因为上帝没有在一切的现实中工作。 相反，有时我会陷入我们时代的漩涡，一个声称我们可以帮助自己的漩涡，我们不需要上帝或任何其他人的帮助 - 这有时会促使我们“相信”我们无法帮助。当我发现自己“在那里”时，当我们“在那里”时，我们就处于深深的黑暗中。
We desperately need the light, the very light of God that comes to dwell with us in Jesus the Christ who in giving His Spirit to us allows us to see beyond ourselves, to see and be opened to God’s presence in the midst of our pain and our suffering.
God loves us. God enters into all of our suffering and pain. See Jesus on the cross. See people moved by God to risk their own lives in helping others. And also, by God’s grace, see Jesus on that third day.
Dear people, we need to look to the cross. There we can glimpse our Saviour working for new life for all people, here and now, and forever. He journeys towards us and with us beyond ourselves and our circumstance leading us to God. And then He leads us back to ourselves and the world enabling us to love as we are being loved, to forgive as we are being forgiven, to live with an abiding hope not as an illusion or delusion but as a gift from God who dares to take on our frail flesh and die ... and on the third day be raised.
It is in Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection that we are realized, that we captured by hope both for the future, and in the midst of whatever it is that seeks to grasp us right now. Through Christ’s obedience God then pours God’s own love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. This is miraculous. I have seen it, experienced it again and again and again. And all of this brings hope for us individually, for the Christian community and most certainly for the world.
O God we thank you and we ask you through your Spirit to move us, to fill us with faith, hope and love, for Christ’s sake and the sake of the world. Amen.
Easter 5c, Narrative Lectionary, Trinity Lutheran Church, Delta BC, May 19, 2019
Text – Romans 1:1-17 – focusing on verse 1 and verses 16, 17.
经文—罗马书1：1-17 – 重点在第1小节和第16，17小节
Have you ever been chosen for a particular task or passed over? I can remember being a child and playing games with the neighborhood kids where we would pick sides for sports games by naming captains and then call out each person by name. I can remember playing sports in organized league and waiting with baited breath to see whether or not I or my friends made the team. And I can remember being a teenager and then a young adult and dating. I can remember different occasions in that regard where sometimes I would be the one to tell my then girl friend that I couldn’t go out with her anymore. There were also other occasions where it was made clear to me that she didn’t want to go out with me anymore, that there wasn’t a future for us together. My daughters in their teenage years called this “being dumped”. Even as a Pastor I can remember wrestling with calls from congregations... Sometimes after much thought deliberation and prayer I said yes. At other rare times I said no. And sometimes when my name was thrown into the mix the congregation decided to interview someone else to become their pastor.
Can you identify with any of this, with being chosen, set apart, selected or not?
The apostle Paul who originally was known as Saul at one point thought that he had his life all figured out. He was a Pharisee, trained in the Jewish law. He was devout in the practice of his faith. He thought about what he should do, he may have even prayed about what he should do. Then he went out and did it with everything he had – 100 %.
Sometimes I am sure that was good. At other times that was bad. Many of you know Paul’s story. He was part of the crowd, the mob, that killed Stephen the first Christian martyr. As I said earlier Paul was genuine. However in the case of Stephen Paul was genuinely wrong. That was a big wrong, joining in with those who killed a man who was a follower of Jesus. I mean the ten commandments are pretty in this area. You shall not kill.
But Paul doesn’t stop there. He escalates in his devotion to his understanding of what the Law requires in terms of “dealing with” the followers of the “Way”. We see him through the eyes of the book of Acts travelling to the city of Damascus to persecute and likely imprison any followers of the Way, the earliest Christians that he might find there. That was Paul’s plan. He thought it was God’s will.
But then God intervenes. Paul hears a voice. He wasn’t sure whose voice it was. But that voice tells him that it is God speaking to him. And the voice asks Paul why Paul is persecuting God since this Jesus that Paul is so dead set against is God’s own Son. Paul is struck blind. But that is the beginning of Paul’s turnaround.
Today we are allowed to hear part of one of Paul’s letters. After all there wasn’t any internet, texting, nor any kind of telephones those days. So Paul communicated over long distances by writing letters. This one is penned to the Christians in Rome, the capital city of the Roman empire, the empire that held the people of Palestine/Israel as subjects. The Roman congregation was diverse including both Jewish members and a variety of members from different races and places. Paul deeply desires that they hear him. He wants them to know why it is that he is writing to them, why he has such a strong desire to come to them to preach and then to move even further east to Spain to preach the Gospel to non Jewish people there.
Please listen to the opening line of his letter: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.
Paul knows himself to be set apart by God – to share in word and deed the good news that God has shown him, personally.
I wonder if we ever feel set apart by God to do something special?
Or, do we sometimes think and feel as if we don’t really matter; that the issues surrounding us, whatever those we are most aware of may be – loneliness, emptiness, homelessness, poverty, climate change, fighting between and within religions among the very people who claim to be the most devout – that these issues are just so huge that we must leave others to deal with them, or to somehow try to figure them out.
或者，我们有时会思考和感觉好像我们自己并不重要；围绕着我们的问题，无论我们最清楚的是什么，可能是 - 孤独，空虚，无家可归，贫穷，气候变化，宗教间和宗教内部自称是最虔诚的人斗争， - 这些问题都是如此巨大，我们必须留给别人去解决，或以某种方式试图解决。
Have you ever felt that way? I confess that I have...
But we need to hear Paul speaking in this letter. Actually it’s Paul’s master, God, speaking through Paul to the early Roman Christians and also TO US. Yes, you heard me correctly. God, through Paul’s written words that we are hearing right now, nearly 2000 years after they were first writing is speaking to us.
Paul, this time inspired by God, inhabited by God’s own Spirit, speaks the living truth. We too are called by God, set apart by God, loved by God, now and always. This is why God takes on human flesh as Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is born, grows, lives lovingly, suffers, dies a horrific death and then is raised back to life forever.
In and through Jesus’ entire life, death and resurrection God reaches out to embrace us, where we are. In and through Jesus’ entire life, death and resurrection God shows us that the powers of death: evil, hatred, fear, separation, exclusion – all these powers are limited and are being overcome by God and the people God calls to serve God for the well being of others and all creation. This is part and parcel of God’s good and gracious will. This is what Paul calls God’s righteousness.
在耶稣的整个生命，死亡和复活过程中，上帝伸出手来在我们所在的地方拥抱我们。在耶稣的整个生命，死亡和复活中，上帝向我们显明死亡的力量：邪恶，仇恨，恐惧，分离，排斥 - 所有这些的能力都是有限的，并且被上帝，以及接受上帝呼召为了他人和这个世界的福祉而侍奉上帝的人所克服。这是上帝善良和仁慈意愿的一部分。这就是保罗所说的上帝的正义。
Could it be that you and I are being set apart by God, even called by God to be part and parcel of this grand task of God? Might God employ the unique gifts God has given and is giving us for this grand task? I am convinced that Paul’s response to this question is a huge, resounding YES! Each one of us is a child of God. We are being called together to live as children of God by serving God. We are called to do this by obeying God in loving and helping others and this creation. (brief pause)
We do well to recall the words at the end of the baptismal service when as a Christian community we welcome the newly baptized into Christ’s body with these words: “We welcome you into the body of Christ and into the mission we share: join us in giving thanks and praise to God and bearing (that is, carrying in our daily lives) God’s creative and redeeming word to all the world.”
So, in those moments days or nights, months or even years when we wrestle with our thoughts and feelings that what we are doing or who we are just doesn’t matter - or, in those moments, days or nights, months or years when the trials and vicissitudes of our lives sweep over us and our loved ones in any of the forms of death, addiction, hatred, or despair, by God’s grace please know and remember this.
所以在那些日日夜夜，月月年年，我们认为我们在做什么或我们是谁只是无关紧要的时刻， 我们与自己的想法和感受搏斗， - 或者，在那些时刻，日日夜夜，月月年年，出现在我们生命中的考验和变迁以死亡，成瘾，仇恨或绝望的形式横扫我们和我们所爱的人时，请了解并记住一点，这是上帝的恩典。
Only God is God! By God’s grace, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ and the ongoing presence and power of the Holy Spirit we are set apart to embody the good news of God. This good news is not just for the future. Jesus fed those who were hungry that he met then and there. Jesus touched those who had previously been thought to be untouchable. And Jesus listened to those whose voice had been denied and then responded to their needs. Jesus entered into suffering and died so that we and all people and creatures can experience that God is working to bring about new life here and now and forever filled with meaning and hope. Do not forget. Practice our faith by regularly gathering together to hear the word, share the Sacraments, be strengthened to live our daily lives marked with the forgiveness and hope for the world of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hear Paul’s concluding words in the text for this morning. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, the good news of God; it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who has faith!”
Dear people – be opened, and not ashamed to ask God for help – help with our faith, help with wisdom as to what we should do and not do, how we should speak and how we can listen. God wills for us to hear God’s good news, to have it enter us daily bringing some desires and thoughts within us to death but raising up new thoughts, desires and dreams – dreams for the well being of this entire world that God loves so deeply. May we not be ashamed of this good news of God in Christ – and may we experience that amazing power of God’s love and forgiveness and share it with others in our own lives each day.
亲爱的人们 – 打开心扉，不要羞于向上帝寻求帮助 - 帮助我们的信仰，帮助我们知道我们应该做什么和不做什么，我们应该如何说话以及如何倾听。上帝希望我们能够听到上帝的好消息，让它每天进入我们的心里，将我们内心的一些欲望和思想带入死亡之中，同时培养新的思想，愿望和梦想 - 为了上帝深爱的整个世界的福祉而努力的梦想。愿我们不要为上帝基督的这个好消息感到羞耻 - 愿我们每天都能体验到神的爱和宽恕的惊人力量，并在我们自己的生命中与他人分享。
Thanks be to God. Amen.
Easter 4c, Narrative Lectionary, May 12, 2019 (Mother’s Day)
SHAKING GROUND OR ROCK SOLID? (Acts 13:1-3, 14:8-18)
Oh precious ones of God, grace to you and peace from God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit three in One, Amen.
Our world is amazing. It’s wonderful. Each and every person we will ever meet is unique. I am reminded of this every time I am privileged to speak with or observe others- whether that’s at any airport, or walking along beaches, or sitting at sporting events, or visiting in hospitals or at any church. People are surprising. They are often loving, willing to sacrifice to help others. And that only begins to scratch the surface.
我们的世界令人惊叹。这简直太棒了。 我们见过的每一个人都是独一无二的。不论是在某个机场候机，还是沿着海滩散步，或是观看体育赛事，亦或是在医院或任何教堂参观， 每当我有幸可以与他人交谈或观察他人时，我都会想起这一点 。 人们总会令我吃惊。 他们总是去爱，愿意牺牲自己来帮助别人， 而这只是冰山一角。
Creation itself is mysterious and so often beautiful. From sea to sea to sea, from the coastlands to the mountains, to the prairies – form tiny villages to bustling metropolises, there is so much beauty. Vancouver is often a beautiful city.
创造本身是神秘的，往往也是美丽的。 从大海到海洋，从海岸到山脉，再到大草原 - 从小村庄到熙熙攘攘的大都市，都是如此美丽。 通常温哥华是一个美丽的城市。
Truly our world is amazing. It’s also difficult and often hard. As I am walking to sporting events or sometimes stopped at a traffic light people struggling for daily survival wonder up, hands out or caps on street. I wonder, what can I do, what can we do to help them. As amazing and wonderful as people often are, sometimes we do things that leave others hurt or even dying. On Friday evening there was a hit and run accident between a truck and a motorcycle in Surrey. A 53 year old man is dead. And most of us are painfully aware of these realities – of millions of migrants seeking a home, because what was once their home is no longer safe or inhabitable for them. And our earth, the home that God has entrusted to us is groaning and dying for many reasons, not the least of which is our own human consumption and mistreatment of it.
真的，我们的世界是惊人的。我们的世界也是困难的，而且经常很难。 当我去观看体育赛事或者有时在交通灯处停下来时，看到人们为日常生活而苦苦挣扎，他们在街上伸出手或者帽子，向人乞讨。 我想知道，我能做些什么，我们能做些什么来帮助他们。 正如人们常常让人惊叹和感到美好一样，有时我们做的事情也会让别人受伤甚至导致死亡。 星期五晚上，在素里发生了一起撞车逃逸事故，一辆卡车和一辆摩托车相撞。 一名53岁的男子当场死亡。 我们大多数人都痛苦地意识到这些现实 - 数以百万计的移民正在寻找一个栖身之地，因为他们曾经的家已不再安全或无法居住。 而我们的地球，上帝托付给我们的家园，正在呻吟和濒临死亡，原因有很多，其中最重要的原因是我们人类自己对地球的消费和错误对待。
In the midst of all of this, the wonder and joy, the difficulty and pain, what and whom do we count on? In the midst of all this, what are we called to do and whom are we called to be?
Paul and Barnabas’ words and actions to the people in Lystra invited those people, strongly encouraged those people to construct their lives, their hopes and dreams upon a foundation that they could count upon. When the trials and vicissitudes of life strike, as they surely will, each person, indeed entire communities, need to have built their lives upon One in whom they can trust, One who will not abandon them nor disappear as things get tough. Moreover, this One needs to be able to help them through such realities as suffering and death. Paul and Barnabas clearly state that this One upon whom our lives must be built is God, the sole creator of the universe.
保罗和巴拿巴对路司得民众的言辞和行动邀请了那些人，强烈鼓励这些人在他们可以依靠的基础上构建自己的生活，希望和梦想。 当生活的考验和沧桑袭来时，每个人，甚至整个社区都需要将自己的生命建立在他们可以信任的“唯一”之上，一个不会抛弃他们，也不会因为事情变得艰难而消失的人。 而且，这个人要能够帮助他们经历痛苦和死亡等现实。 保罗和巴拿巴明确指出，我们的生命必须建立在其之上的那个唯一的人就是上帝，宇宙的唯一创造者。
We also need to seriously consider these realities.
Who are we truly counting on? Our financial investors? Our doctors? Our teachers? Our parents? Our spouses? Our children? Our friends?
All of these people are intended to be gifts from God. And when they carry out their god given tasks, of loving, of inspiring, of caring – they are blessings not only to us, but to many others also – even to this earth, that God entrusts to us. But we need to know this. None of these people, as amazing and wonderful as they may sometimes be, are God. They are not the beginning nor the end. They are mortal, as we also are. They come and go, are born and die, even as we do.
所有这些人都是来自上帝的礼物。当他们执行上帝给予他们的任务，去爱，去鼓舞，去关怀他人 - 他们不仅是对我们的祝福，也是对许多其他人的祝福 - 甚至是对上帝委托给我们的地球的祝福。但我们需要知道一点，这些人中没有一个像上帝那样精彩而奇妙。他们既不是开始也不是结束。他们跟我们一样是凡人，来来去去，有生有死。
So, who can we depend upon, now and forever? Whom do we trust to love us and others with our warts and all? Who can and will lead us through this life and all its wonders and disappointments? Who can and will deliver us through the many birth canals of death here and now and forever? These are the important questions of our lives, questions that we are answering consciously or unconsciously daily.
Truly depending on anything or anyone less than God is and ultimately will be disappointing and ultimately futile. . . Who else is the source of life – and the source of new life after death?
真正依赖于除上帝之外的任何人或事，最终都徒劳无功，以失望而告终。还有谁是生命之源 - 死后新生命的源泉？
So, yes, God help us to trust in God.
As we are attempting to do this in our daily lives, how shall we do so?
Might we begin each day by asking God to give us wisdom? Would we be open to asking God to open our eyes, minds and hearts to God’s action all around us, through others and through what’s going on in the world? And then would we be willing to ask God to show us what God would have us do in the midst of all of that?
That’s part of what Paul and Barnabas were doing on their mission. I am pretty sure that they were surprised, even shocked that the Spirit of God designated them to be the ones sent out. After all Paul had been one who had helped kill the first Christian martyr, Stephen. He had held the clothes of those who had stoned Stephen to death. And Paul is the one under the guidance of God’s own Spirit who is telling others not to count on worthless things – but to trust in God who becomes human in Jesus. Yes, Jesus, the one through whom God the creator extends forgiveness, that is new beginnings with God and others for any who would trust him. – Paul had to know first-hand about new beginnings, after having taken part in murder.
这是保罗和巴拿巴所执行使命的一部分。我很确定他们感到惊讶，甚至感到震惊，因为圣灵指定他们为被派出的人。毕竟保罗是杀死第一位基督徒殉道者，斯蒂芬的帮凶。他帮那些用石头打死斯蒂芬的人拿着衣服。保罗是在圣灵的引导下，告诉别人不要指望毫无价值的事 - 而是要信靠化身为耶稣的上帝。是的，耶稣，创造者上帝就是通过这一位来宽恕我们，对于任何信任他的人来说，这是跟上帝，跟其他人建立的新的开始。 - 在参与谋杀之后，保罗必须亲自了解这个新的起点。
So, Paul preaches. And as he is preaching he sees openness in a crippled man who has a desire to be healed. This man who is crippled knows that he needs help from beyond himself. This man is then enabled to get up and walk at Paul’s word.
I have seen such healing in many ways, through the auspices of Alcoholics Anonymous. There, people know that they are stuck, that they need help to be freed from the power of addiction – a help that can only come from beyond themselves, from a higher power. They are opened to seek that help, to then practice steps that will help them to not only stop drinking but be restored to honest relationships with themselves, with God and with others.
通过主持匿名酗酒者的活动，我在很多方面看到了这种医治。在那里，人们知道他们被困住了，他们需要帮助才能摆脱瘾癖的力量 - 这种帮助只能来自超越自身，来自更高的力量。他们敞开心胸寻求帮助，然后采取措施，帮助他们不仅停止饮酒，而且恢复与自己，与上帝和其他人的诚实关系。
Many times through these people I have been taught lots about honesty, love, forgiveness, about how God’s vulnerable power is at work to set people free to live and love.
很多时候，通过这些人， 我学到了许多-- 诚实，爱，宽恕，以及上帝的脆弱力量如何使人们自由地生活和爱。
Who knows what will happen if we follow the Spirit’s lead? Like Paul and Barnabas our eyes may be opened to behold God’s work in others who themselves may or may not be aware that God is working in them. We ourselves may also become more obedient to God’s prodding.
I know a Pastor who experienced this. One early spring he was speeding on a relatively high mountain road, a couple hundred feet above a somewhat frozen lake. He was late getting to the hospital from a clergy meeting in a neighboring city. The road was slushy with ice. He passed 2 or 3 semitrailer trucks on the 4 lane undivided hiway. But then he began to slide towards the oncoming traffic coming up the long hill he had been descending. Now panicking he over corrected with his steering wheel. His minivan started to shoot in the other direction, towards the retaining wall that separated the highway from the lake hundreds of feet below. With more panic flooding his body, he pumped the brakes, too long, too hard. His van began to spin like a top. The conversation in his head was racing almost as fast as his van. “It’s you own fault. You are going to injure or kill many people, probably including yourself - just because you are in a hurry and aren’t careful”.
我认识一位有如此经历的牧师。一个早春，他正在一条相对较高的山路上高速行驶，公路距离冰冻的湖面几百英尺。他从邻近城市的一次神职人员会议上赶去医院，他已经迟到了。这条路上满是湿冰。他在没有隔离墩的双向4车道的路面上，经过了两三辆半挂车。但随后他开始滑向迎面而来的交通，他正在下一个大长坡。他恐慌地想通过打方向来纠正。他的小型面包车开始向另一个方向冲去，朝向将高速公路与数百英尺以下的湖泊隔开地隔离墙冲去。随着更多的恐慌淹没他的身体，他长时间使劲踩刹车，他的面包车开始像陀螺一样旋转。他脑子里的谈话几乎和他的面包车一样快。 “这是你自己的错。你会伤害或杀死很多人，可能也包括你自己 - 只是因为你匆忙而且不小心“。
His van continued to spin around and around, going down the hill across 2 lanes, until it almost stopped on the right side of the road, near the wall but still moving and pointed down hill. Shakily he regained control and while mentally thanking God that he miraculously had not struck anyone or anything he made his way to the hospital to visit his parishioner. Once there he didn’t tell anyone about his harrowing experience.
He visited his parishioner closing with a prayer. He was about to take his leave. Then an elderly man, in the bed across from his parishioner, waved him over. As the Pastor approached the man, the man looking at him carefully and smiling, said these words, slowly but surely, “Reverend, please be careful. You know the Lord can call any of us home, at any time.”
In that moment that pastor, slowly nodded, knowing that God was speaking to him directly through this man that he had never met before and would never meet again in this life time.
So, here we are attempting to live our lives. Some of you may be racing figuratively or literally. Some of you may be going a bit more slowly, deliberately, even metaphorically smelling the roses. Good for you. But, wherever we are on this journey of life, let us honestly work at trusting God, the One who creates the universe including this amazing wonderful globe, our earthly home. May we trust this Creator because He/She is trustworthy. This Creator has become human in Jesus of Nazareth who becomes one of us. He lives with a love beyond comprehension. He allows himself to endure untold suffering and death because His Father loves the world even, perhaps especially, those who ignore or even detest him, those who put him to death.
This One will not stay dead. He is raised. Through His life, death, resurrection, words and sending of the very Spirit of His father, God empowers any and all who are opened to living this way of Jesus. This way is the way of hope not paralyzing fear, the way of sacrificial love for others, not hatred nor exclusion. His is a way of prayer that informs action, silence that leads to communion, of service and suffering that leads to new life.
Dear people of God we are blessed to live in amazing times both filled with wonder and difficulty. Many voices cascade upon us calling us to trust them, promising that they will take care of us if we only give them our allegiance.
But only God, the Creator of the universe, the One who knows us and loves us inside and out, lays down God’s own life for us and for the well being of the entire universe. Only this God can raise the dead from death to new life. Only God can free us from our obsession and absorption with ourselves to actively love ourselves and this world, to have the courage and honesty do so. Only God can lead us to the living reality that the final and lasting word is not death nor even life, but God.
So, Who are we counting on? God help us for our sake and the sake of this world, God so deeply loves. Amen.
Easter 3c, Narrative Lectionary, May 5, 2019 (TLC)
Acts 10:1-17, 34-48 使徒行传 10：1-17，34-38
News cycle – storm hits East coast of India; major unrest in Venezuela; Peace Arch fiery crash; continued incarceration of Huawei executive.
新闻热点 - 风暴袭击印度东海岸;委内瑞拉的严重骚乱;和平门惨烈的车祸;华为高管继续被监禁。
TLC – beginning of Pastor Jennifer’s sabbatical; a number of people in grief.
TLC – Jennifer 牧师开始了她的安息假；一些人正处于悲痛之中
MT of text – a) God shows no partiality – in every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God; b) Jesus is Lord of all – judges (and frees?) the living and the dead; part of this is forgiveness (release from) sins; which leads to reconciliation with God and others – a dying to old ways of life and being raised to new. THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR ALL.
经文的主要思想- a）上帝没有表现出任何偏好 - 在每个国家，任何敬畏上帝和做正确事的人都是上帝所接受的; b）耶稣是所有人的主 – 审判（或释放？）生者和死者; 其中也包含宽恕（释放）罪; 这将引致人与上帝， 人与其他人的和解 – 这意味着在旧的生活方式中死去，在新的生活方式中重生。这对所有人来说都是好消息。
Malady – However we human beings are impartial. We have our own biases that we cling to. Often we don’t see our own falling short, our own need for a savior who dies and is raised. Or, if we do see our need, we think about that only in “spiritual” terms, in ways that are somehow separated from the everyday reality of our lives – when what to us may seem to be unwanted people show up on our doorsteps or our sidewalks or any place in our lives.
弊病 - 然而，我们人类不是公正的，我们有自己所坚持的偏见。我们常常看不到自己的不足，我们自己也需要一个死后又复活的救世主。或者，如果我们确实看到了我们的需要，我们只会以“精神”的方式思考这一点，以某种与我们日常现实生活分离的方式 –当似乎我们不太欢迎的人出现在我们的家门口或我们的人行道上或我们生活中的任何地方，我们是如何做的。
Addendum – As the writer of Acts says, all of this must be seen in the light of Christ’s resurrection which is the power of God to transform us and all people and things.
附录 - 正如使徒行传的作者所说，所有这一切都必须从基督复活的角度来看，这是上帝改变我们和所有人和事的能力。
What do you know?
It’s a question that during my childhood was asked almost like a greeting. In my childhood and early teens, when you see someone that you knew you would often say, “How are you?” In those days it was just a greeting, not a serious inquiry, asking you to divulge what was really going on in your life. After all seriously responding to that question would require deep honesty and vulnerability on the part of both the person asking the question and on the part of the person answering the question. In those days asking, “what do you know” was merely a cursory way of cutting through the silence and making both the person asking the question and the person answering the question feel a bit more comfortable as they approached each other – a way of literally avoiding an awkward silence.
这是我童年时，总会被问到的问题，这几乎成了一个问候。在我的童年和青少年时期，当你见到一个你认识的人时，你经常会说，“你好吗？”在那些日子里，这只是一个问候，而不是一个严肃的询问，要求你透露你真实的生活情况。毕竟认真回应这个问题需要提出问题的人和回答问题的人都具有深刻的诚实和脆弱。在那些日子里，“你知道什么”只是一种简单的方式来消除沉默，使得提问的人和回答问题的人在彼此接近时感觉更舒服 - 一种在字面上避免尴尬沉默的方式。
But this morning I want to ask you, quite seriously, WHAT DO YOU KNOW, FOR SURE? The answer to that question is very important. In some ways the answers to that question may be much more than you first thought while in other ways the answers to that question may be much less or much different than what you think right now.
Peter, who in some ways’ was Jesus’ chief or even most important disciple, often thought that he knew a lot. He was one of those people who if he had been in a primary grade classroom would waved his hand to have the teacher call upon him first for the answer because he was sure that he knew the answer. Peter was the guy who jumped out of the boat when he saw Jesus walking on the water. He so wanted to walk on the water, just like Jesus. At first he was sure that he could. Peter was also the guy who at first was sure that night before Jesus died that Jesus should never wash his feet. How inappropriate it would be for the lord to wash Peter’s feet. Peter was sure he knew – that was the way things worked. But when Jesus told Peter that all needed to be washed if they were to have life, then Peter was all in. Then Peter said, ‘Lord, not my feet only but my whole body!” Yes, Peter was the guy who knew what he knew. He was an observant Jew, as were all the earliest followers of Jesus. There were all kinds of things they wouldn’t eat: certain animals proscribed in what we know as the book of Leviticus. There were also things Peter didn’t do. He didn’t work on the Sabbath. He worshipped and prayed on the Sabbath. God had shown Peter’s ancestors these things. Peter obeyed the law. Finally, Peter was absolutely convinced before Jesus’ trial and death that he wouldn’t betray or deny Jesus. But ... we know how that went.
彼得在某些方面“是耶稣的主要甚至是最重要的门徒”，他常常认为他知道很多。如果他在一个小学教室，他会是挥手让老师叫他回答问题的学生之一，因为他确信他知道答案。当他看到耶稣在水面上行走时，彼得是那个从船上跳下来的人。他想像耶稣一样在水面上行走。起初他确信他可以。彼得也是那个确定耶稣不该在死前的那个夜晚给门徒洗脚的人。让主给彼得洗脚是多么不合适。彼得确信他知道 - 事情就是这样的。但是，当耶稣告诉彼得，所有的人如果要获得生命就需要受洗，于是彼得就进到水里。彼得说，主啊，不仅仅是我的脚，也洗我的整个身体吧！“ 是的，彼得是知道他知道什么的人。他是一个敏锐的犹太人，也是耶稣最早的信徒。他们不会吃那些我们所知的利未记上所禁止的各种东西：如某些动物。彼得不会做一些事情， 如他没有在安息日工作。他在安息日敬拜并祷告。上帝已经向彼得的祖先展示了这些东西。彼得遵守了律法。最后，彼得在耶稣的审判和死亡之前绝对相信他不会背叛或否认耶稣。但是......我们知道后来发生了什么。
In today’s text we meet Peter again. Even after all he’s been through – his denial of Jesus, his initial conviction that death and evil had won in Jesus’ crucifixion – and then the wonderful revelation that Jesus had been raised and embodied forgiveness and new life for Peter and all the 12 and any Jew who would trust Jesus – even after all of that Peter was still pretty sure of lots of things.
在今天的经文中，我们再次见到彼得。彼得否认了耶稣， 他最初的信念是死亡和邪恶在耶稣的被钉十字架中获胜。在他经历了这一切之后， -– 耶稣复活显现，为彼得和12门徒，以及其他相信耶稣的犹太人展现了宽恕和新生命。即便是这样，彼得对很多事情仍然很确定。
That is until – until he was praying, and became hungry. Then, while the food was being prepared, Peter fell into a trance and had a vision. In that vision so many of the things that he had been sure of were being swept away and replaced with a larger vision, a vision from God. The foods that Peter had been taught not to eat – the things the he and his ancestors in a revelation from God had sworn off as being unclean were now being seen as clean, as OK to eat. But even that was just the beginning.
直到他祈祷，并变得饥饿。然后，在准备食物的同时，彼得陷入恍惚状态并有了愿景。在那个愿景中，他所确定的很多东西都被扫除了，取而代之的是一个更大的视野，一个来自上帝的异象。彼得被教导不要吃的食物 - 他和他的祖先在上帝的启示中宣誓作为不洁净的东西现在被视为干净，可以吃了。但这也只是一个开始。
Now, at Peter’s very door were people, people who were representatives of a Roman soldier. Yes, a Roman soldier, from the ranks of those people who had actually put Peter’s beloved Jesus to death. Those people were at Peter’s door asking him to come with them to speak to their master, one Cornelius, who feared God and gave alms for the people. Now Peter’s vision from God informed him that God had sent who these people to Peter. Not only that. Now Peter begins to see in a new way. God is knocking down the walls that had separated Jews and Romans, walls that had kept them apart from each other. So, Peter offers hospitality to these Gentiles, the ones that he had seen before as different from him – unclean, unacceptable to God. And the next day Peter, in obedience to God goes with Cornelius’ representatives to Cornelius’ house.
现在，在彼得的门口，有很多人，他们是罗马士兵地代表。是的，罗马士兵, 就是把彼得心爱的耶稣杀死的人。那些人在彼得的门口要求他跟他们一起去跟他们的主人，科尼利厄斯，对话。他敬畏上帝，施恩于民。彼得从上帝那里获得的愿景告诉他，上帝已将这些人交给彼得。不仅如此，现在彼得开始以新的方式看待事情。上帝打破了隔离犹太人和罗马人的墙壁，墙壁使他们彼此分开。因此，彼得热情款待了这些外邦人，这些人在以前被视为是与他们不同的人- 不洁净，不被上帝接受。第二天，彼得顺从上帝，与科尼利厄斯的代表一同前往科尼利厄斯的家。
Once there Cornelius shares the vision God had given him, to seek out and invite Peter to come to them, to tell them what God has laid on Peter’s heart and mind. Peter does this. In doing so Peter begins to completely reevaluate what he thought he knew for sure. In a nut shell this is what God lays on his heart to tell all those in Cornelius’ house and us. “I truly understand that God shows no partiality but in every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God”. Peter then proceeds. He points out how God anointed Jesus with the Spirit to go around healing people, freeing them from whatever forces were holding them back from abundant life with God and others. This wasn’t done without great cost. The powers of evil, of death, greed and delusion, do not easily give way. Jesus is executed. All seemed lost. But God raises Jesus from the dead. Peter knows this because he has seen and even eaten with the risen Lord. Now Peter and all the other apostles are to tell others about Jesus because in Jesus all can be freed from the powers that are holding us back from love and forgiveness.
Then, as Peter was speaking God’s Spirit came upon all those in Cornelius’ house. They began to speak in various languages praising God!
Peter is astounded. He realizes that he must provide water for them to be baptized.
It’s an amazing story. But it’s so much more than just a story. It points us to profound realities about God, ourselves, all others, and all creation.
这是一个了不起的故事。 但它不仅仅是一个故事。 它让我们意识到关于上帝，我们自己和其他所有人，乃至所有受造之物的深刻现实。
So, I ask you on this third Sunday of Easter 2019, in Delta BC – what do you know for sure? Be careful. If we know one thing in this earliest 21st century – it’s that things are always changing.
所以，我问你们在2019年复活节的第三个星期天，在BC 省的三角洲- 什么是你们肯定知道的？ 小心。 如果我们在21世纪初期知道一件事 - -那就是事情总是在变化。
Those of you who have lived for awhile – think of how Delta and the lower mainland have change din the last 50 years. Think about how even this community around the church building has changed in the last 10 years – or even how this congregation has changed in the last 10 years. Could you have imagined 50 years ago having a female pastor or such an ethnically diverse congregation. And yet we do. Thanks be to God! Things are changing.
你们中间那些已经活了相当长一段时间的人 - 想想三角洲和低陆平原在过去50年里是如何变化的。 想想在过去的十年里，教堂周围的这个社区是如何发生变化的 - 甚至在过去十年中这个教会的变化。 50年前，你能想象出有一位女牧师或种族多元化的会众吗？ 但我们做到了。 感谢上帝！ 事情正在改变。
But are we? Like Peter we have our biases. Whom do we invite into our homes for dinner? Whom would we trust with our children or grandchildren? Whom do we invite to “our” church? Are we willing to forgive those who have hurt us or who are hurting us, right now – to seek reconciliation if it is safe to do so?
但是我们呢？ 像彼得一样，我们有偏见。 我们邀请谁到家里吃饭？ 我们会信任把孩子或孙子孙女交给谁？ 我们邀请谁来“我们的”教会？ 我们是否愿意原谅那些曾经伤害我们或现在正在伤害我们的人 – 在安全的情况下去寻求和解？
What do we know for sure?
Peter and Cornelius’ story is also our story. God is working in, among and through us.
Who are the converts in this story? If you said, Cornelius and his household, you would be right. If you said Peter and those early Jewish Christians, you would be right. And if you said, yourself and myself, I trust and hope that you would be right.
谁是这个故事中的皈依者？ 如果你说，科尼利厄斯和在他家里的人，你是对的。 如果你说是彼得和那些早期的犹太基督徒，你也是对的。 如果你说，是你和我们自己，我相信并希望你是对的。
Can’t we see that God is always at work to open people’s minds and hearts to God’s amazing grace? God loves you and me. God also loves all whom we will meet. God accepts us as we are, through the incredible life, the horrendous death and the ongoing resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth whom we are coming to know and experience as the Christ, the chosen, anointed of God. This is incredible, good news for He has the power to free us and all others from the powers of evil, of hatred, of fear, death and exclusion.
难道我们看不到上帝总是在努力让人们的思想和心灵向上帝的惊人恩典开启吗？ 上帝爱你和我。 上帝也爱我们所遇见的所有人。 上帝完全接受了我们，透过不可思议的生命，可怕的死亡和拿撒勒人耶稣不断的复活，我们来认识和体验这位上帝所拣选的受膏抹的基督的生命。 这是令人难以置信的好消息，因为他有能力使我们和所有其他人摆脱邪恶，仇恨，恐惧，死亡和排斥的力量。
In doing all of this, God doesn’t will to leave us the same. God is at work through the Spirit to continually open our hearts and minds to embody and share the love of God in Christ, to have us let go of those realities in our lives that cause us to exclude, prejudge, shut out , shun or refuse to see or hear others. God wills to move us so that we can see others in their fullness which includes that they too are beloved children of God even if they aren’t yet aware of that. God moves us to hear them and see them, to be open to the reality that God’s work can never be limited to what we know or are sure of. For that, we can and should thank God.
在做所有这一切的时候，上帝不会让我们保持不变。 上帝通过圣灵工作，不断地打开我们的心，在基督里体现和分享上帝的爱，让我们放下生活中那些会导致我们排斥 别人，保有成见，拒绝或逃避的现实，去看到或听到别人的需要。 上帝的愿意感动着我们，让我们看到一个完整的他人，包括他们也是上帝所爱的孩子，即使他们还没有意识到这一点。 上帝让我们听到并看到他们，敞开我们的心扉接受上帝的工作永远不会局限于我们所知道或确定的事情上。 为此，我们需要而且应该感谢上帝。
Finally on this 3rd Sunday of Easter let us by God’s grace know what Peter came to see that day. Jesus is alive. Because he lives we and all others can also live being freed from the fear and power of death and evil that continually works to tell us to be afraid, to exclude, to not be open to new possibilities.
最后在复活节的第3个星期天让我们通过上帝的恩典知道彼得在那一天看到了什么。 耶稣还活着。 因为他活着，我们和其他所有人也可以活着摆脱恐惧，摆脱死亡和邪恶的力量，这种恐惧和死亡的力量不断地告诉我们要害怕，排斥，不要接受新的可能性。
Oh, dear people of God remember and know that with God all things are possible. For Christ is raised. He is risen indeed! Amen.
哦，亲爱的上帝的子民记得并且知道，有了上帝，一切皆有可能。 因为基督被举起， 他确实复活了！阿门。
Oh Lord help us so to see – and to be opened – even as you opened Peter and Cornelius. For christ’s sake, Amen.
哦，上帝请帮助我们看到 - 并且打开我们的心 – 就如你打开彼得和科尼利厄斯的心一样。 为了基督的缘故，阿门。
Matthew 28:16-20 April 28 2019 TLC
Go Make Followers…I will be with you
Back in the late 70’s Dan Akroyd and John Belushi were the Blues Brothers in a comedy about two guys who upon being released from prison, start a band to raise money to save the Catholic home they were raised in. They are on a mission from God. In Matthew’s gospel this morning, Jesus, risen from the dead, appears to give the eleven disciples a mission.
70年代后期，由Dan Akroyd和John Belushi主演的一部喜剧片Blues Brothers，讲述了两名男子从监狱获释后，开始组建乐队来筹集资金以拯救他们所在的天主教家庭的故事。他们正在执行上帝的使命。 在今天早上的马太福音中，耶稣从死里复活，似乎给了十一个门徒一个使命。
When they see him, they worship him, but some doubted. As we gather here today, some of us still have doubts…doubts about the resurrection, doubts about whether or not God really loves us, doubts about our own worthiness to receive God’s forgiveness. Doubters are welcome in this place. Jesus doesn’t push away those who doubt. When Thomas misses the first appearance of Jesus when the disciples are cowered in fear behind locked doors. Jesus says, “Peace be with you…see my hands and my side” Jesus did this because they doubted…they weren’t sure it was him, risen from the dead. When they tell Thomas about it, second hand, Thomas says he won’t believe unless he himself can touch the wounds of Jesus. So Jesus appears again, especially for Thomas, so that he can trust Jesus is actually alive.
当他们看到他时，他们崇拜他，但也有些人有疑惑。 当我们今天聚集在这里，我们中的一些人仍然有疑惑......疑惑复活，怀疑上帝是否真的爱我们，怀疑我们是否值得上帝的宽恕。 这个地方欢迎有疑惑的人。 耶稣并没有推开那些有疑惑的人。 托马斯错过了耶稣复活后的第一次显现，当时恐惧的门徒们躲在紧锁的门后。 耶稣说：“愿你们平安......看看我的手和肋旁。”耶稣这样做是因为他们怀疑......他们不确定他是不是死后复活了。 当他们告诉托马斯这件事时，托马斯说，除非他自己能触摸耶稣的伤口，否则他不会相信。 所以耶稣特别为托马斯再次显现，所以他可以相信耶稣真的活着。
We cannot prove that Jesus has been raised from the dead. What we have are stories, like Thomas and the eleven disciples on the mountain, preserved and passed down through the centuries, accounts of those who have witnessed his resurrection…who met him after he died, some touching his wounds, others eating a breakfast of fish Jesus roasted for them on the beach. Matthew tells us about the disciples meeting Jesus on a mountain in Galilee, as he told Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph: “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
我们无法证明耶稣已经从死里复活。 我们听到的只是一些故事，这些故事保存并流传了几个世纪，象托马斯和山上的十一个门徒， 他们是见证耶稣复活的人......他们在耶稣死后又遇见了他，有些人触摸了他的伤口，有些人吃了耶稣为他们在海滩烤的鱼 。 马太告诉我们耶稣的门徒们在加利利的一座山上遇见了耶稣，正如他告诉抹大拉的玛丽亚和詹姆斯和约瑟夫的母亲玛丽亚一样：“不要害怕; 去告诉我的兄弟去加利利; 他们会在那里见到我。“
So the eleven disciples hike to that mountain. Eleven of them, rather than twelve, because Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was no longer alive. Judas, many scholars believe, was part of a Jewish movement that expected Jesus to raise up an army to fight the Romans. When this didn’t happen, Judas took his own life, because he couldn’t live with the anguish of his betrayal leading to the death of his beloved friend.
所以十一个门徒爬上那座山。 是其中十一个，而不是十二个，因为背叛耶稣的犹大不再活着。 许多学者认为，犹大是犹太运动的一部分，这个运动期望耶稣能够组建军队来对抗罗马人。但这件事没有发生，犹大就自杀了，因为他无法忍受由于他的背叛而导致他心爱的朋友去世所带来的痛苦。
When Jesus meets them, he gives them a mission. Not only them, but we who hear right now, are given a mission. A purpose bigger than just taking care of ourselves, something worth living and even dying for…have you discovered your God-given mission? Have we discovered our God-given mission?
当耶稣遇见他们时，给了他们一项使命。 不仅是他们，也包括我们现在听到的每一个人都有一个使命。 一个比仅仅照顾自己更重要的目标，一些值得为此而生甚至为此牺牲生命的东西......你是否发现了上帝所赋予的使命？ 我们发现上帝赋予的使命了吗？
Seaquam Secondary students Rayne Inkster, Ashley Meagher and Carol Gao are discovering their mission. They want to see the city of Delta ban single-use plastic bags. It’s part of a year long project through their civics class. They have looked into the environmental impact of plastic bags, focusing their research on alternatives..surprised to learn that paper bags produce 70 times more pollution it takes to make than plastic. And paper bags release more harmful chemicals as they degrade. Looks like polypropylene bags are the best ecological alternative. So the students are asking the city to ban single use plastic bags, hoping to spark a province-wide ban. They would do this by asking customers to pay up to $2 for a plastic bag at the cash register. Find them on Facebook and Instagram at BanTheBagDelta. On April 8, City Counselor Dylan Kruger referred the bag ban to the community livability advisory committee. Could be a mission from God these young women have discovered, joining Victoria, Salmon Arm, Comox, and Shuswap, San Francisco, Montreal…calling Delta to join with cities around the world. Could it be that these young women are on a mission from God for the sake of the world?
Seaquam中学生Rayne Inkster，Ashley Meagher和Carol Gao正在发现他们的使命。他们希望看到Delta能禁止使用一次性塑料袋。这是他们公民课上的一个为期一年的作业中一部分。他们研究了塑料袋对环境的影响，将研究重点放在了替代品上。他们惊讶地发现，纸袋生产的污染比塑料袋多70倍。纸袋在降解时释放出更多有害的化学物质。看起来聚丙烯袋是最好的生态替代品。因此，学生们要求该市禁止使用一次性塑料袋，希望能引发全省禁令。他们会通过要求顾客在收银台支付高达2美元的塑料袋来做到这一点。大家可以在Facebook和Instagram上找到BanTheBagDelta的信息。 4月8日，市议员Dylan Kruger将此项禁令转介到社区宜居咨询委员会。可能是这些年轻女性发现了上帝的使命，呼吁Delta和世界各地其他城市， 维多利亚，Salmon Arm，Comox和Shuswap，San Fransisco，蒙特利尔......一起禁止使用一次性塑料袋。这是上帝为了这个世界而赋予这些年轻女孩的使命吧？
Interesting that Jesus doesn’t just say to his disciples as they worship: “yeah, I like that. Give me some more of that.” Jesus never says, “Worship me.” Jesus says, “Trust me. Follow me.” When they worship Jesus, it means they fall at his feet, as the two Mary’s do outside the empty tomb. Worship involves humility, prostrating themselves before God, whose power over death blows them away. The power of love…a self-giving love poured out for the life of the world, can bring us to our knees in gratitude and awe. God-made-known-in-Christ would rather die than keep an account of all our wrongs. Now that is love.
有趣的是，耶稣在他的门徒做敬拜时不仅仅对他的门徒说：“是的，我喜欢那样。 多敬拜我一些。“耶稣从不说，”崇拜我。“耶稣说，”相信我。 跟我来。“当他们敬拜耶稣时，就意味着他们会匍匐在耶稣的脚下，就像两个玛丽亚在空坟墓外面做的那样。 敬拜涉及谦卑，在上帝面前臣服，上帝的至高权力吹走了死亡， 这是爱的力量......为苍生倾注的自我奉献的爱，令我们满怀感激和敬畏地臣服。 上帝通过基督向世人宣告，他宁愿死也不愿记恨我们的过错。 这就是爱。
Instead of basking in glory as they fall at his feet, Jesus says, don’t just fall at my feet and worship but: “Go make disciples of all nations.” Go out into the neighbourhood, back to fishing, amongst your families. Jesus doesn’t condemn the doubters or push them aside, but he let them be, as they stood with those who worshiped. Down through the centuries, the church has got this “Go make disciples” thing all wrong…the crusades, the inquisitions. Jesus didn’t say gather an army to fight the nations, if they won’t follow me, they die. Yet in the name of Christ, the church has turned God’s mission into a violent bloodbath. As Christ followers we need to acknowledge this.
当人们跪拜在耶稣脚下时， 耶稣没有享受荣耀，而是说，不要只是跪在地上敬拜，要“使万国万民都做我的门徒。”去到你家附近的社区，到自己的家庭中去捕捞耶稣的门徒。 耶稣并没有谴责怀疑者，或者将他们推到一边，而是顺其自然，让他们与那些敬拜他的人站在一起。 几个世纪以来，教会已经把这个“使万国万民做我的门徒”这件事弄错了......十字军东征，宗教审判。 耶稣并没有说要聚集军队来对抗万民，如果他们不跟随我，他们就死路一条。 然而，以基督的名义，教会将上帝的使命变成了暴力的血腥屠杀。 作为基督的追随者，我们需要承认这一点。
Years ago in my early twenties, whenever I boarded a plane, I thought it was my mission from God to initiate a conversation with those nearby which could lead to conversion. This agenda-driven engagement where we think it’s our job to convert someone will always backfire. But if you are asked to give a reason for the hope within you, then share your story of how God met you in your pain and raised you up. Your story might draw out someone else’s story, including those who doubt or practice a different faith tradition. Someone else’s story from another faith tradition may build up your capacity to trust God’s love. What might happen if all who share their stories also take time and intention to hear the stories of others? How might our own faith lives be enriched as we learn the faith practices of others?…
很多年前，在我二十出头的时候，每当我登上一架飞机时，我都认为主动与我附近的人开始交谈以使他们转信基督是上帝给我的使命。 这种将劝服别人转信基督做为自己的工作象有会议议程主导的对话，将永远适得其反。 但是如果你被要求讲出你内心充满希望的理由，那就分享一下上帝如何在你痛苦时帮助你，鼓舞你的故事。 你的故事可能会引出其他人的故事， 包括那些有疑惑的人或有不同信仰的人。有另外信仰传统的人的故事或许会增强你相信上帝的爱的能力。 如果所有分享他们故事的人都愿意花时间听别人的故事会怎样呢？ 当我们学习别人的信仰操练时，我们自己的信仰生活将会如何丰富？...
As we gathered for family style worship around tables on Maundy Thursday, the night in which we remember Jesus gathering his disciples for the Last Supper. We call this Maundy, which means command; on this night Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, demonstrating the greatest command: love one another as I have loved you. We lit candles around each table, sang together, and turned to one another to share stories. We unpacked God’s story alongside our own stories. We asked: If Jesus were to come to dinner, what would you say? Diane said if Jesus sat at her table, she would ask, “Have we got this right? Is this what you intended?”
当我们星期四一起围坐在桌子周围进行家庭式礼拜时，我们回忆耶稣召集他的门徒参加最后的晚餐。 我们称之为Maundy，这意味着命令; 在这个晚上，耶稣为门徒洗了脚，展示了最伟大的命令：你们要彼此相爱，就像我爱你们一样。 我们在每张桌子周围点燃蜡烛，一起唱歌，然后转向彼此分享故事。 我们将上帝的故事连同自己的故事一起与大家分享。 我们问：如果耶稣要来吃饭，你会说什么？ 黛安说，如果耶稣坐在她的餐桌旁，她会问，“我们做对了吗？ 这是你的意思吗？“
Disciples are students…we are all called for the sake of the cosmos, to learn from Jesus and bear witness to God’s coming kingdom. Making disciples is about following the way of Christ together out there. We gather in here SO THAT we are ready to GO out there. As we GO, Jesus promises to be with us. Forgiving as we are forgiven, caring for those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, in prison…and making disciples who might learn and grow with us as we follow the way of Christ.
门徒就是学生......我们都是为了整个宇宙而被召唤，向耶稣学习并见证上帝即将来临的国度。 做门徒就是跟随基督的道路。 我们聚集在这里，为了我们准备好了去那里。 当我们去的时候，耶稣应许与我们同在。 宽恕他人，因为我们被宽恕，照顾那些饥饿，口渴，赤身裸体，生病，和在监狱中的人......在我们遵循基督的道路时，招募可能与我们一起学习和成长的门徒。
Matthew 28:1-10 April 21 2019 TLC Easter
Walk Through Death Together
They had walked through death together. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and many other women were there, looking on at a distance, as Jesus cried out from the cross “Eli, eli, lema sabachthani?” that is “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” This is the week when Christ followers around the world walk through death together. Easter morning doesn’t make sense unless we have walked through death together, does it?
他们一起走过了死亡。当耶稣从十字架上喊出“Eli，eli，lema sabachthani？”，（ 即“我的上帝，我的上帝，你为什么离弃我”） 时，抹大拉的玛丽亚和詹姆斯和约瑟夫的母亲玛丽亚在那里，远远地看着。“这周是世界各地的基督信徒一起走过死亡的一周。除非我们一起走过死亡，否则复活节的早晨就没有意义，难道不是吗？
I wonder, if Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, had smart phones, what might they have posted on Instagram, zooming in, as they looked on from a distance. We don’t post the tears falling down our face after a friend turns their back on us, do we? We post photos from our vacation in some tropical place or a meal we are about to eat or some goofy video we’ve created with friends. Bragagram, as I heard someone call it, doesn’t tell the whole story does it?
我在想，如果抹大拉的马利亚和詹姆斯和约瑟夫的母亲玛丽亚有智能手机，她们可能会在Instagram上发布什么，将镜头拉近，因为她们是从远处观看。当朋友转身离开我们的时候， 我们不会张贴泪水从我们脸上滑落的照片，是吧？我们会张贴我们在某个热带地方度假的照片，或者我们即将享用的美食的照片，或者我们与朋友一起制作的一些愚蠢的视频。 Bragagram，正如我听到有人所说的那样，网络并没有告诉我们事情的全貌，是这样吗？
There’s always more to the story, isn’t there, the story of our lives, than what a smiling image or text can capture. On Easter morning, there’s more to the story. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary know the whole story. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem and provided food for him along the way. Their beloved friend had endured an unjust trial where Pilate, the Roman ruler who ordered Jesus’ death sentence, said, “I find no case against him. How about I release Barabbas instead?” Jesus walked alone, betrayed by one whom he loved, abandoned by his closest friends, rejected by the ones he came to save, beaten down by those who mocked him, and after he cried out from the cross, others said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah will come to save him.” Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.
In that moment, everything changed… the curtain of the temple, the separation between God and human beings was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks were split. Tombs were opened and many who had died were raised, coming out of the tombs and appearing to many. As Jesus drew his last breath, God’s Spirit is released into the world, starting a chain of unsettling events: the first stirrings of new life, of resurrected life.
While 500 firefighters fought to extinguish the blazing cathedral of Notre Dame this week, well over half a billion dollars poured in, seed money for a new cathedral to be raised up from the ashes. When our lives seem to go down in flames through a messy divorce, death of a spouse, loss of a job, letting go of independence as we age, any number of little deaths we endure, we may struggle to see any signs of new life. One woman who was divorced many years ago while her kids were young, said, “I actually googled: Is it possible to die from loneliness?”
Corporal Elenore Sturko, Surrey Mountie with the RCMP, has walked through a little death with her family history of RCMP service. As she recalls the story of her great uncle, David Van Norman, who was “purged” from the RCMP in 1964 when it was still a crime in Canada to be a homosexual. Sturko reconciled the history of the purge and made the decision to join the RCMP. She is living proof of new life. Sturko says its important to recognize we haven’t always reflected the ethics and values the RCMP does today, but we’re on the way. She attend PM Trudeau’s apology to the LGBTQ+ Canadians in Nov 2017 on behalf of her uncle, who died of AIDS in 1988, where Trudeau apologized for decades of “state-sponsored, systemic oppression and rejection” of those in public service. Sturko is hopeful that reconciliation is making sure that it’s not just about saying sorry, but about understanding what you are sorry for, and being able to foster a two-way relationship where we hear one another. 2019 marks 50 years since Canada decriminalized homosexuality. This happened because people walked together, challenged legislation, walking through death hoping for new life.
加拿大皇家骑警Surrey警队下士Elenore Sturko藉着她的家族成员在皇家骑警服务的一段历史，而走过了一段微小的死亡。她回忆起她的叔叔大卫范诺曼的故事，他在1964年被加拿大皇家骑警“开除”，当时在加拿大，同性恋仍然被视为犯罪。Sturko接纳了那段被开除的历史，并决定加入加拿大皇家骑警。她是活生生的新生命的佐证。Sturko说重要的是要认识到我们并不总是能体现加拿大皇家骑警今天所代表的道德和价值观，但我们正在努力。她于1988年11月代表她的叔叔出席了特鲁为LGBTQ +群体的加拿大人举办的道歉会。 Sturko 的叔叔于1988 年死于艾滋病。在道歉会上， 特鲁多为那些几十年来在公共服务部门的LGBTQ+群体的加拿大人所受到的“由国家支持的，系统性的压迫和拒绝”而道歉。Sturko希望和解是确保这不仅仅是说抱歉，而是要了解你为何抱歉，并且能够在相互的聆听中建立双向关系。 2019年是加拿大同性恋合法化50周年。这种情况之所以发生，是因为人们怀抱新生命的希望并肩前行，挑战立法，走过死亡。
This morning together we have walked through death. Because of the cross and the empty tomb, death is never the last word. There’s more to the story. There’s more to your story.
The two Mary’s thought they knew the outcome of the story. Jesus died, was buried with a stone rolled over his tomb. So they walked together, as a new day dawned, to see the tomb. The came to theoresai: to look at, consider, to contemplate. What happened? What does it mean for us now? How do we walk forward? But the guards wouldn’t let them in. Even though Jesus was dead and buried, Pilate was nervous, reminded that Jesus had said, “after three days I will rise again,” so a stone was rolled over his tomb, guards sealed it and were posted there overnight. This would prevent Jesus’ followers from stealing his body and saying “he’s been raised.”
But the stone has been rolled away, God is on the loose in our world. No stone is big enough to keep Jesus in the tomb. No stone is so big it can hold love down.
Matthew 21:1-17 Palm Sunday April 14 2019
马太福音21：1-17 棕榈星期天 04/14/2019
Kids’ Message: Purple…royalty, repentance. Why purple, one of you asked…purple stole (my yoke is easy, my burden is light, let kids try it on) purple paraments, purple cloth covering the picture of Jesus’ resurrection… Have you noticed we change colors throughout the year? When do the colors change? When did we change to purple?
孩子们的信息：紫色......皇室，忏悔。 为什么是紫色，你们其中一个人问...紫色不见了（我的轭是轻省的，我的负担很轻，让孩子们试穿）紫色的幔帐，覆盖着耶稣复活图片的紫色布料......你注意到我们全年都在改颜色吗？ 颜色什么时候变的？ 我们什么时候变成紫色？
Ash Wednesday…when we marked ourselves with the cross on our forehead in ash: Remember you are dust; to dust you shall return.
The colors mark the life of Jesus from his birth: Advent (blue) to epiphany (white) to ??? to preparing for his death Lent (purple) . This week marks the most important part of our Christian life…the journey of Jesus to the cross. It all starts with the people running out of Jerusalem, God’s holy city, to greet Jesus as their king. Kings wear the color purple…a color for royalty. They throw cloaks and branches on the ground before him crying out “Hosanna to the Son of David!” David is the one king who united the Jewish people, from north and south, the 12 tribes, who brought peace in the land for many years. Hosanna, can you say it with me? It means ‘save us.’ The crowds of people were saying, Save us, Son of David…you are the only one who can save us from oppressive Roman King. We recognize you as our true king…the one Zechariah told us about…. the only one who can save us from ourselves…from the sin that so easily entangles us…in our thoughts, actions and words.
What is sin? Anything we say, think, or do that hurts our family, our friends, strangers, ourselves…also hurts God…because God lives in every person. Can you think of things we do that hurt or ignore others or ourselves or animals and plants or air or water?
什么是罪？ 我们说的，想的，或做的任何会伤害我们的家人，朋友，陌生人，我们自己的事...这些事也伤害了上帝...因为上帝活在每个人身上。 你能想到我们做过的那些伤害或忽视他人，或我们自己，或动物和植物，抑或是空气或水的事吗？
Each of your families can take one of these home this week, invite a friend to help you clean up your neighbourhood for Earth Week…then come and tell me what happened….
So with all those crowds centuries ago, together we say, Save us, king Jesus, from the sin that so easily entangles us…let’s pray
Message: Before entering the holy city of Jerusalem, where God lives, Jesus says to his friends, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately. Does it seem kinda funny that a king would ride on a donkey? What sound does a donkey make?… Instead of riding on a war horse as a Roman King would, riding on a donkey is a humble way of indicating what kind of king Jesus is. A king who comes to break down weapons and words that lead to war…a king who comes to bring peace. But in order to bring peace to the world, this king doesn’t fight and conquer all his enemies. This king loves his enemies. This king dies for the life of the world. This king sets us free from sin, death and evil, this king mends our brokenness…white on Easter
讲道：耶稣在进入上帝所在的耶路撒冷圣城之前，耶稣对他的朋友们说：“你们先走进村子里，你们马上会看到一头驴和一匹小马。 解开它们并把它们带给我。 如果有人问你们，你们只要这样说，“主需要他们。”他就会马上把它们送过来。 国王乘坐驴子不是有点好笑吗？ 驴子发出什么声音？......骑在驴身上，而不是象罗马皇帝一样骑在战马上，骑驴是一种谦卑的方式，这表明了耶稣是一个什么样的国王。一个击破了导致战争的武器和话语的国王......一个带来和平的国王。 但为了给世界带来和平，这位国王没有去战斗并征服他所有的敌人，这位国王爱他的敌人。 这位国王为世界的生命而死。 这位国王让我们摆脱了罪恶，死亡和邪恶，这位国王修复了我们的破碎......这是复活节上的白色
Of all the weeks in the entire year as Christ followers, this is the most important….we call this Holy Week…it starts on Palm Sunday with Jesus entering Jerusalem, the city in which Jesus will be arrested, brought to trial, tortured, and killed on a Roman cross. If you have never participated fully in Holy Week, I encourage you to come this week to Maundy Thursday…the night of Jesus’ betrayal, when he washes the disciples’ feet and breaks bread, sharing the full extent of his love with them at their last meal before his arrest. Maundy Thursday is the reason we gather for a meal of bread and wine, reliving the Last Supper, each week. On Good Friday, where we relive Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion. This year we enact these events in several dramatic readings and our resident artist, Jessica, will paint what she hears for us to witness the death of God which brings life to the world.
在基督信徒整个一年中的比较重要的几周中，这是最重要的一周......我们称之为圣周......它开始于棕榈星期日，耶稣进入耶路撒冷，耶稣在这里被逮捕，审判，折磨， 并被钉死在罗马十字架上。如果你从未完全参与过圣周，我鼓励你本周来参加Maundy星期四的活动...这是耶稣遭到背叛的夜晚。在那个晚上，他为门徒洗了脚，并且掰开面包，在他被捕之前，在最后的晚餐中与他们分享他全部的爱。 Maundy周四让我们聚集在一起领受面包和葡萄酒，重温最后的晚餐。 在耶稣受难日，我们重温耶稣的逮捕，审判和钉十字架的过程。 今年，我们将这些事件在几个戏剧性的阅读中呈现，我们的驻地艺术家杰西卡将画出她听到的内容，让我们见证上帝的死亡，同时为世界带来生命。
This week we move into the rhythm of Jesus’ dying and rising…we see this rhythm around us in the flowers and leaves opening…the dying of winter yields to the rising of spring. The Christian life is all about dying and rising, in Jesus Christ dying and rising each of us daily, die and rise, in the waters of our baptism. So it is fitting that we are about to baptize and affirm the baptisms of several adults and kids, remembering that each of us is saved from the power of sin and death in the water of baptism. For the past forty days, since Ash Wednesday, we have been taking time to reflect, perhaps to fast from one of our compulsions, deny ourselves in order to focus on God, to repent, to turn back to God in the season of the church called Lent. Lent is related to the Middle English word Lente, which means springtime.
Our lives are made new by this on-going process of dying and rising, by admitting how we have messed up, receiving forgiveness from God and those whom we’ve wronged, and rising to have a second chance to give and receive love with no strings attached. It is because of Jesus’ death and resurrection that we can be forgiven and renewed. As each person is baptized or affirms their baptism today, they will be marked with the sign of the cross with these words: Child of God, you’ve been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.
On the day Jesus rides into Jerusalem, even the children are crying out “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Hosanna is a Hebrew word which means ‘Save us’. Matthew’s gospel makes a clear connection between King David and King Jesus. From what did the people living in first century Jerusalem need to be saved? They were hoping to be saved from the oppressive power of Rome, who ruled over them with an iron fist….crying out like the people of Venezuela in our day or any number of the 60 million displaced people around the world, seeking asylum from oppressive political rule. Hosanna, save us, Son of David. This king, son of King David, comes as a different kind of king. He has power but how will he use it? He comes riding on a donkey, humble, not bearing weapons but calling us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow. Taking up our cross, means choosing to love when it’s not convenient, when we think we have nothing to offer. We follow Jesus by choosing to love our neighbours as ourselves, to love even our enemies. Riding on a donkey Jesus comes to fulfill what the prophet Zechariah said: “Rejoice O daughter of Zion, Look, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey…he will cut off the chariot and the war horse from Jerusalem.”
在耶稣骑驴进入耶路撒冷的那一天，即使是孩子们也在欢呼“大卫的儿子Hosanna！”hosanna是希伯来语，意思是“拯救我们”。马太福音在大卫王和耶稣王之间建立了明确的联系。生活在一世纪耶路撒冷的人们需要拯救吗？他们希望能够从罗马的压迫中被拯救出来，罗马用铁拳统治他们......像我们现在的委内瑞拉人民或世界各地6000万流离失所者中的任何一个人一样，从政治压迫中寻求庇护。 Hosanna，拯救我们，大卫之子。这位国王，大卫王的儿子，是一位与众不同的国王。他有权力，但他将如何使用它？他骑着驴，谦卑，不带武器，却叫我们放下自己，拿起我们的十字架然后跟随他。接受我们的十字架，意味着当我们觉得不方便的时候，当我们认为我们没什么可提供的时候，我们选择去 爱。我们跟随耶稣选择象爱我们自己一般爱我们的邻舍，甚至爱我们的敌人。骑在驴上的耶稣来实现先知撒迦利亚所说的话：“锡安的女儿，你们要高兴，看哪，你们的王来到你们那里; 胜利的是他，谦卑并骑着驴......他将从耶路撒冷切断战车和战马。
How does Jesus cut off the chariot and war horse? By refusing to fight his enemies, those who betray and arrest him, those who hand him over and put him on trial, those who taunt him and nail him to a cross. He does not open his mouth when he’s arrested and sentenced to death. He doesn’t ask his friends to take up weapons to fight Roman rule. Instead he will soon cry out, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” But when Jesus sees what is happening in the temple, he overturns the tables, he creates a disruption in a long time spiritual practice of religious sacrifice offered for the salvation of the people. Jesus is bringing salvation to the world, not through more sacrifices offered by the people but by his very life sacrificed once for all. Dying and rising, Jesus lives to mend our brokenness, heal our wounded hearts.
耶稣如何切断战车和战马？ 通过拒绝与他的敌人作斗争，那些背叛和逮捕他的人，那些交出他并让他受审的人，那些嘲弄他并将他钉在十字架上的人。 当他被捕并被判处死刑时，他没有开口要求他的朋友拿起武器来对抗罗马统治。 相反，他会很快喊出来，“父亲，请原谅他们，因为他们不知道他们在做什么。”但当耶稣看到圣殿里发生的事情时，他推翻了桌子，他打破了长时间以来以祭祀来换取救赎的宗教实践。 耶稣正在给世界带来救恩，不是通过人民提供更多的祭祀品，而是通过他为所有人牺牲了自己的生命。 耶稣奄奄一息，正在挣扎着修复我们的破碎，医治我们受伤的心灵。
Hosanna, save us…from what do you need to be saved? Do you need to be saving from your temper that flares up against those whom you love with words you cannot take back, or from a nagging sense of loneliness, wondering if anyone really cares. Or do you need to be saved from a toxic work environment or from working too much. Or are you overwhelmed by a loved one’s death, from sorrow that seems to consume your every thought?
Hosanna，拯救我们......你需要什么样的拯救？ 或许你无法收回的言语激怒了你所爱的人你是否需要从你的坏脾气中被拯救出来？或者需要从孤独的抱怨中被拯救出来，想知道是否有人真正关心你。 或者你需要从有毒的工作环境中被拯救出来，又或是从太多的工作中被拯救出来。 或者你被爱人去世所带来的伤痛所吞噬，悲伤占据了你的每一寸思想，你希望获得解脱？
Hosanna, save us, they cried out. Holy Week is also Earth Week, as you are reminded by the green insert in your bulletin. I wonder what the spawning salmon are crying out as they navigate Cougar Creek in record numbers? What is the cry of the chubs being released all over the Lower Mainland as in Watershed Park today? Deborah Jones from Cougar Creek Streamkeepers and volunteers who showed up in Cougar Canyon over Spring break heard those salmon crying “Hosanna, save us!” So they showed up to help. When water running off of our streets, passes through an area without vegetation, it does not get filtered and all those toxins go directly into the stream, affecting not only the salmon’s health but the photosynthetic activity and phyloplankton health, saying Nicolai Karpun, research and stewardship coordinator at the Burns Bog. Phyloplankton are the microscopic algae which are the main source of food for salmon fry. As a result of an e-mail invitation we forwarded from Deborah to TLC youth and mentors before spring break, Henry’s mom, contacted me. She shared the event with seven families in her neighborhood who showed up to help with the Cougar Creek planting as you can see. For these families and Seaquam Secondary’s Operation Green environment club, spending time together outdoors, brought healing and wholeness not only to themselves but to the habitat they cultivated.
Hosanna，拯救我们，他们喊道。正如宣传册中的绿色插页所提醒的，圣周也是地球周。我想知道当要产卵的鲑鱼以创纪录的数字游到Cougar Creek时，产卵鲑鱼正在哭泣什么？今天在大温地区释放的鲢鱼是什么？来自Cougar Creek 溪流保护者的Deborah Jones和春假期间出现在Cougar Canyon的志愿者们听到那些三文鱼在哭“Hosanna，救救我们！”所以他们出现了并提供帮助。当水从我们的街道流出，穿过没有植被的区域时，水不会被过滤，所有这些毒素直接进入溪流，这不仅影响鲑鱼的健康，还影响光合作用和浮游动物的健康，Nicolai Karpun（ Burns Bog的研究管理协调员）说。 Phyloplankton是微观藻类，是鲑鱼苗的主要食物来源。由于收到电子邮件邀请，我们在春假前将Deborah的邮件转发给TLC青年和导师们，Henry的妈妈与我联系。她向她家附近的七个家庭分享了这个活动，正如你们所见到的， 他们出现在Cougar Creek种植的活动中，并提供了帮助。对于这些家庭和Seaquam 中学的绿色环保运营俱乐部而言，在户外共度时光，不仅医治和完善了自己，也保护了她们所耕耘的土地。
Lente means spring…new life…for us and for the whole creation. As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, it is Passover, a major pilgrimage festival for all Jews. Passover celebrates Israel’s being set free from captivity in Egypt. Jesus comes to this overcrowded city full of pilgrims, to fulfill the words of Jewish prophets, Zechariah and Isaiah, resulting in his dying and rising. Jesus is a king exercising a power very different from the Roman Emperor, a power that we often underestimate. Overturning the tables in the Temple, Jesus disrupts the regular commerce that allows all the pilgrims to purchase animals which they can sacrifice. Disrupting this sacrificial religious practice, Jesus shows another way to be made right with God. The blind and lame come to him for healing. We who need to be saved come to him. Giving himself over to death。 This king sets us free from the ultimate power of sin, death and evil, this king mends our brokenness and makes us whole.
Lente意味着春天... 对我们和整个世界来说是新生命......。 当耶稣骑驴来到耶路撒冷时，是逾越节，是所有犹太人的主要朝圣节日。 逾越节庆祝以色列从埃及的囚禁中逃脱出来。 耶稣来到这个满是朝圣者的过度拥挤的城市，以实现犹太先知，撒迦利亚和以赛亚的话，这导致了他的死亡和崛起。 耶稣是一位行使与罗马皇帝截然不同的权力的国王，这是我们经常低估的力量。 耶稣推翻了圣殿中的桌子，扰乱了所有朝圣者购买他们用于祭祀的动物的常规商业活动。 耶稣打破了这种祭祀的宗教活动，显示出与上帝合而为一的另一种方式。 盲人和瘸子来找他治疗。 我们这些需要被拯救的人来找他。他 把自己交给死。这位国王使我们摆脱了罪恶，死亡和邪恶的终极力量，这位国王修复了我们的破碎，使我们变得完整。
Matthew 25:31-46 Lord, when did we see you? April 7, 2019 TLC
Separating the Sheep from the Goats
When we hear Jesus’ teaching this morning, we may jump immediately to figuring out if we are a sheep or a goat. What will happen to us in the final judgment…will we be loved or condemned? In doing so, we stumble over ourselves, and miss what Jesus is teaching/ trying to help us understand.
How we live our lives does matter….not in terms of earning our own salvation. The sheep inherit salvation out of a relationship with the living God. They don’t earn salvation by what they do and neither do any of us. The sheep are surprised to learn that in loving their neighbours they meet Jesus. But Jesus seems to be saying that how we live our lives, how we use the resources entrusted to us matters, for the sake of our neighbour who is hungry, thirsty, naked, estranged, sick or imprisoned. Jesus teaches about separating the sheep and the goats, about final judgment, because Jesus cares about the injustice and suffering happening in the world right now. Do we care? Do we notice the suffering around us? Are we acting on what we notice?
我们如何过自己的生活是很重要的.....这并不是为了获得我们自己的救赎。绵羊因着与上帝的关系而继承了救赎，他们并不是因为他们所做的事而获得救恩，我们也不是。绵羊惊讶地发现， 当他们爱邻居时，他们遇见了耶稣。但耶稣似乎在说我们要如何生活，我们如何利用赋予我们的资源。 这些资源应用于解救我们邻居的饥渴，用于遮蔽他们的裸露，用于消除疏离，用于医治病痛，用于解除禁锢。耶稣关于将绵羊和山羊分开的教导，以及关于最后审判的教导，都是因为耶稣关心世界上正在发生的不公正和痛苦。我们关心吗？我们注意到周围的痛苦了吗？我们是按照我们注意到的行事吗？
16 year old Greta Thunberg cares. Greta notices what is happening to the planet we all inhabit, upon which all living things depend. Greta has learned that our survival is dependent upon our interactions with all things. Greta is a Swedish student who’s solitary climate strike has become a global movement of students and now, their parents and grandparents. For her efforts to shake the world out of its lazy reverie and quickly act on climate change, Thunberg has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
十六岁的Greta Thunberg关心我们周围的世界。Greta关注我们所居住的星球正在发生的事情，所有生物都依赖于这个星球。Greta已经认识到我们的生存取决于我们与所有事物之间的相互作用。 Greta是一名瑞典学生，她的独自气候罢课运动已经成为学生们的全球运动，现在他们的父母和祖父母也加入进来了。因为她为让全世界能够摆脱懒散的遐想，能够迅速采取行动应对气候变化所做出的努力，Greta Thunberg被提名为今年的诺贝尔和平奖。
Thunberg’s school strike for climate change began in August last year, when she was 15. She went on school strike and sat outside Sweden’s parliament with signs and handed out pamphlets to adults explaining her protest succinctly: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.” Last summer Sweden was hit with more than 60 fires, the hottest year on record in 262 years. Greta began to learn about the human impact on climate change and decided to start speaking out. Greta is autistic and prefers not to speak in public unless absolutely necessary. Climate change crisis has compelled her to speak. Due to what she learned from her daughter Greta about the impact of aviation on climate change Greta’s mother, Malena Ernman, a famous opera singer, ceased her international travel for singing engagements last year. Greta was invited to speak at the UN Climate Change COP24 conference in Poland last December with a compelling and well-informed message to political leaders. Greta says, “I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.,,,our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pays for the luxuries of the few. In the year 2078 I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet, you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions are so impossible to find within this system, then maybe we should change the system itself.
Thunberg的因气候变化而进行的学校罢课始于去年8月，当时她15岁。她参加了学校罢课并举着标语坐在瑞典议会外面，向成年人发放了小册子，简洁地解释了她的抗议：“我这样做是因为你们大人在毁灭我们的未来。“去年夏天，瑞典遭遇了60多起火灾，这是262年来最热的一年。Greta开始了解人类对气候变化的影响，并决定开始说出来。 Greta有自闭症，除非绝对必要，否则不愿公开发言。气候变化危机迫使她发言。由于从女儿Greta那里了解到航空对气候变化的影响，Greta的母亲，著名歌剧演员Malena Ernman去年停止了演唱会的国际巡演。去年12月，Greta受邀在波兰举行的联合国气候变化COP24会议上发表讲话，她向政治领导人发出了令人信服的讯息。Greta说，“我不在乎受欢迎。我关心的是气候方面的公义和这个有着生命力的星球。我们正在牺牲我们的生物圈，以便居住在像我国这样的国家的富人们能够过着奢侈的生活。正是许多人付出苦难的代价才有了少数人的奢侈生活。在2078年，我将庆祝我的75岁生日。如果我有孩子，也许他们会和我一起度过那一天。也许他们会问我关于你们的事。也许他们会问，为什么在还有时间采取行动的情况下你没有做任何事情。你们说你们爱你们的孩子高于一切，然而，你们正在他们眼前偷走他们的未来。我们需要将化石燃料保留在地下，我们需要关注公平。如果在这个系统中找不到解决方案，那么也许我们应该改变这个系统本身。
Thunberg herself is a diminutive girl with pigtails and a fleeting smile – not the stereotypical leader of a climate revolution.
Thunberg本人是一个身材矮小的女孩，梳着辫子，面带微笑 - 不象是环境卫士所特有那种领导者。
“I am doing this because nobody else is doing anything. It is my moral responsibility to do what I can,” she says. “I want the politicians to prioritise the climate question, focus on the climate and treat it like a crisis.”
But rather than being a scream into a void, her protest drew increasing attention from other youth fed up with climate inaction and adults in positions of power, as a major movement sprung up from nothing in half a year. On March 15, 2019 there were at least 1.6 million young people went on school striker on all 7 continents, in more than 125 countries and in well over 2000 places. FridaysForFuture website is organizing the next march for climate justice this coming Friday, April 12.
她的抗议活动并没有成为一个空洞的口号，而是吸引了越来越多其他青少年和有能力的成年人的关注， 他们也同样感到人类对气候变化无动于衷。这项运动半年内从无到有，如雨后春笋般涌现。 2019年3月15日，全球七大洲，超过125 个国家，2000多个地方至少有160万名年轻人罢课。。 FridaysForFuture网站将于4月12日星期五组织下一次气候公义游行。
For that and the potential of that movement to change history, Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees,” Norwegian Socialist MP Freddy André Øvstegård told the Guardian. “Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace.” (excerpts on Greta taken from reporter Brian Kahn in earther.gizmodo.com, The Guardian March 2018, and her speech to the UN December 2018 on youtube)
“我们提名Greta Thunberg，因为如果我们不采取措施制止气候变化，它将成为战争，冲突和难民的原因。” 挪威社会党议员FreddyAndréØvstegård告诉卫报。 “Greta Thunberg发起了一场群众运动，我认为这是对和平的重大贡献。”（摘自记者Brian Kahn，earther.gizmodo.com，卫报，2018年3月，以及Greta在联合国2018年12月在联合国的演讲）
Do you notice how the sheep ask a curious question when Jesus identifies himself directly with the neighbours whom they loved. Jesus says: “I was the one you fed, invited in, clothed, and visited.” Astonished, having no clue about the connection between loving their neighbours and meeting God, they ask, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink. And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?….Jesus says,“I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” They are astonished because they are not acting in some calculated way; loving their neighbor in order to earn God’s favor. They have been doing what comes naturally for them. Their actions are the outgrowth of their relationship with a loving and merciful God.
Jesus cares about the injustice and suffering happening in the world right now. Do we? How do we show it?
Last Wednesday, with the leadership of teens Christine Wei and Sophia Liu, who asked Christina Huang to help organize volunteers. Together they planned the menu, prepared the ingredients with volunteers, and we hosted our first Cooking Together Part One event: Learning to Make Chinese Dumplings. For I was a stranger and you invited me in, Jesus says. When I asked Helen and Uschi how it went, they beamed and said, “a lot of strangers showed up!” (show photos) Christina Huang invited her neighbours and ESL classmates to come, Sophia invited her mother, Christine invited her grandmother, who all taught the TLC community how to make dumplings…strangers were invited in and it looks like some friendships were sparked…as Helen said that Lucy’s mother insisted Helen take not just a few leftover dumplings grabbing her kuaizi (chopsticks), she heaped Helen’s plate with a mountain of dumplings. I wonder if any of you met Jesus as you stuffed and folded skins with strangers…Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
上周三， 由Christine Wei和Sophia Liu带领，她们请Christina Huang帮助组织志愿者，他们一起策划菜单，与志愿者一起准备食材，并举办了我们的第一次烹饪聚会的第一部分活动：学习制作中国饺子。耶稣说，因为我是一个陌生人，你邀请我参加。当我问Helen和Uschi是怎么回事时，他们笑着说：“很多陌生人出现了！”（显示照片）Christina Huang邀请她的邻居和ESL同学来，Sophia邀请了她的母亲，Christine邀请她的祖母，所有人都来教TLC社区如何制作饺子...陌生人被邀请参加，看起来这激发了友情......正如Helen说Lucy的母亲坚持让Helen不仅拿走几个剩下的饺, 她抓起她的筷子（筷子），给Helen的盘子装满了一堆饺子。我想知道你们是否有人遇到耶稣，因为他塞进了陌生人的皮肤......真的，我告诉你，正如你对我这个家庭成员中最小的一个做的那样，你对我也做了。
As we reflect on what we learned from the Cooking Together Part One, we know that inviting strangers in and learning from them is not only fun, but delicious. What else did we learn? Come and share with Christine and Sophia what you learned about yourself, your neighbours…they want to hear from you and they learn how we can keep on meeting Jesus together.
Jesus identifies with those who are strangers, with those who are outcast, with those who suffer in this world as he is headed for his own betrayal, arrest, trial, torture and execution. As we worship this morning, our Latin American neighbours are fleeing not only gang terrorism but are suffering the impact of climate change, forcing them to flee their homes in order to find food to sustain their families. Hondurans dependent upon corn, bean and coffee harvest have endured drought conditions as a result of climate change. So they seek asylum in the United States and here in Canada: strangers, refugees looking to be invited into a new home. Robert H. Smith says, “The Son of God stands deliberately and voluntarily in the shoes of the powerless, the weak, the defenseless, the hated, the tortured. He began as a refugee and he ends as a condemned criminal.”1 He gives his life a ransom for many so that we might follow in his way of justice and peace, loving our neighbours, inviting the stranger in, learning from them. Jesus cares about the suffering and injustice in the world. Do we?
Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent, Trinity Lutheran Church, March 24, 2019
Narrative Lectionary – Text, Matthew 22:1-14 诵读经文 -马太福音22：1-14
Main Thought – God’s invitation to be part of the kingdom of heaven, God’s ongoing rule of mercy, compassion, justice and hope, is wide – all are invited. Yet that invitation also brings with it, the means to be transformed – to see what matters and by God’s grace to live accordingly.
主要思想 - 上帝邀请人们成为天国的一部分，上帝一贯的原则是怜悯，同情，正义和希望，他的爱是博大的 - 所有人都被邀请。然而，这个邀请也意味着改变-- 去发现什么才是重要的事，并因着上帝的恩典相应地生活。
Malady – two realities – down on ourselves because deep down we know we are not worthy; or, congratulating ourselves that somehow we, Christians, are in while others are out or excluded. With either malady we are forgetting to our own detriment that God alone is holy and gracious and that all including ourselves are in need of God’s mercy and grace which is freely offered. Since God’s mercy and grace are freely offered we can live from that grace, love and forgiveness and are called to do so
弊端 - 两个现实 - 归结到我们自己，因为内心深处我们知道我们是不配的； 或者，或多或少我们作为基督徒庆幸自己是神的拣选，而其他人被排除在外。无论哪种弊端，我们因为自己的局限而忘记了只有上帝是圣洁和仁慈的，包括我们在内的所有人都需要上帝自由提供的怜悯和恩典。既然上帝的怜悯和恩典是自由提供的，我们就可以在这种恩典，爱和宽恕中生活，并且上帝也要求我们这样做。
Oh, precious ones of God, grace to you and peace from God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three in One. Amen.
I wonder if you heard the text?
At first glance there is so much of it that just doesn’t make any sense. The King is having a banquet for his son. This is a grand occasion. Who wouldn’t want to be invited? This is especially so in a culture where honor and shame were so important. But those invited don’t come. So the King sends a second invitation. But now things get really crazy. Those invited abuse and kill the servants of the king who have embodied the invitation. Now the King is enraged and sends his troops to kill those who have refused the invitation and abused and even killed his servants. Not only that but the king razes and destroys his own city.
But this parable doesn’t end there. No. Now the king wants to invite others to his son’s wedding banquet. Seemingly those now being invited are commoners. So the servants obey and issue the invitation. This time the invited ones gladly attend. All seems good, right? But wait. One of the many who has now attended doesn’t have a proper wedding garment – that would be a garment of their own freshly washed or purposely set aside for such an occasion or even specially provided by the king. The King spots this person, even calls him friend. But then the king casts him into the outer darkness after having him bound hand and foot. This garmentless man is thrown to a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Doesn’t sound like any place anyone would want to be.
So what is this text about, for us?
If we are to take the Bible seriously, and as Lutheran Christians we are, – for we are convinced that it is a living word from God to us, we are at first called to ask God and others help us to understand it. The context of this particular parable is this. It is the final of 3 parables that can be read allegorically, that is with main characters standing for (then) current groups or individual people. All 3 of these parables are about something called salvation history: how God is working to reach out to we people, to bring us into closer relationship with God, to free us from the powers of death and evil, around and within us.
In addition to this literary context of the parable we also need to know its historical context. This parable is only found in its entirety in Matthew’s gospel. Many other parables are found in all 3 of Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospel but not this one which is only located in Matthew. Matthew’s gospel was written some time after the year 70 or 80 of the Common Era at least 40 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Matthew is a gospel that was originally written to a primarily Jewish Christian community. What had been happening in that early Jewish Christian community was a significant family feud. Some of those Jewish people had been moved to trust that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Messiah sent by God, the One that the early prophets had foretold. But large numbers of other Jewish people had not been so moved – and so there had been a split. Those early Jewish followers of Jesus were no longer being accepted by the majority of Jewish people, nor by the religious powers that be of the Jewish people. As a result there were hard feelings. Some nasty things were being said between the two groups. If you have ever been part of a family feud or even of a congregational split – you will know how this can happen.
除了这个比喻的文学背景，我们还需要了解其历史背景。这个完整的比喻只在马太福音中可以找到。在马太福音，马可福音和路加福音这三部福音书中都发现了许多其他的比喻，但只有这个比喻仅存在于马太福音中，马太的福音是公元70或80年代之后写成的，也就是在耶稣被钉十字架和复活至少40年之后。马太福音最初是主要写给是犹太基督徒社区的福音。早期犹太基督教社区发生了一场重大的家庭争斗。这些犹太人中的一些人已经开始相信拿撒勒的耶稣确实是上帝派来的弥赛亚，是早期先知所预言的那个弥赛亚。但是其他大量的犹太人并没有这种感动 - 因此出现了分歧。耶稣的早期犹太信徒不再被大多数犹太人所接受，也不再被犹太人的宗教权力所接受。结果，就出现了令人难受的情形。两帮人之间开始恶言相向。如果你曾经参与家庭纠纷乃至教会分裂 - 你就会知道这是怎么发生的。
As we hear Matthew’s gospel we hear echoes of the early Jewish Christians trying to understand what all of this means – why so many others didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah and attempt to follow him in their daily lives. In the midst of such circumstances they hear this parable of Jesus.
当我们听到马太福音的时候，我们也听到早期犹太基督徒的回应，试图理解所有这些意味着什么 - 为什么这么多人不接受耶稣为弥赛亚，并不试图在他们的日常生活中跟随他。在这种情况下，他们听到耶稣的这个比喻。
I suspect that the writer Matthew understood this parable allegorically in the following way. The king is God. The king’s son is Jesus. The servants first sent out to extend the invitation to the Jewish religious leaders were the prophets. But the invitation was not accepted. In fact those prophets were abused and even killed. Now, (another surprising part of the parable) the king is enraged! He sends his troops to destroy these people’s city, which incidentally is also his city. Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 of the Common Era, close to the time when Matthew’s gospel was written. The early Jewish Christians of Matthew’s gospel may have understood this destruction as God’s punishment for so many people’s rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. They may even have patting themselves on the backs as part of the in crowd, those enlightened ones who knew that Jesus is the Messiah.
But then then Matthew couples a second part to the parable, found nowhere else. For sure everyone on the streets had been invited and comes to this great banquet. But the king in moving among the people at this wonderful feast sees one without a wedding garment and again is enraged and exercises judgment. He casts that garmentless man into a horrific place. This may be the writer Matthew’s way of saying that all are invited by God to God’s reign of grace and mercy – a feast , to use a metaphor where there is more than enough for all. However being at that feast means that those participating can’t stay the same. Their very inclusion in the feast moves them to be generous, joyful, caring like the host who invited them. If they continually reject that – they miss out on that generosity, that love, that joy.
但后来Matthew将第二部分与比喻结合起来，在其他地方找不到。当然街上的每个人都被邀请来参加这个盛大的宴会。但是，在这个美妙的盛宴中，国王在人群中行走，看到一个人没有身着盛装，再次被激怒并行使审判。他把那个没穿衣服的男人送到了一个可怕的地方。这可能是作家Matthew的说法，即所有人都被上帝邀请到上帝统驭的恩典和怜悯中---一场盛宴，用一个隐喻来表达神的盛宴不仅足够所有的人享用，而且还绰绰有余。然而，参加那场盛宴意味着那些参与者不能保持不变。他们非常融入盛宴，这使得他们变得慷慨，快乐，喜欢邀请他们的主人。如果他们不断拒绝这一点 - 他们就错过了那种慷慨，那种爱，那种快乐。
Given our time and our place – where we aren’t Matthew’s community, a very small minority that is being shut out by a larger majority, what might this parable mean for us?
鉴于我们的时间和地点 - 我们不是Matthew的社区，一小部分被大多数人拒之门外，这个比喻对我们来说意味着什么呢？
I hear the parable saying at least two things. Firstly, God reaches out to invite we and all others to take part in God’s reign of joy, love, forgiveness, hope, reconciliation, justice. That invitation is seen clearly in Jesus of Nazareth who is God in the flesh, the Messiah. In Jesus’ life he continually reaches out to help others, to hear them, to touch them, to free and heal them. When he is abused by others, even when his violent unjust execution is imminent, he does not resort to violence, or even to condemnation. Instead He suffers himself and commissions others to follow him, trusting that his way will overcome evil, death and injustice. They do not and will not have the final or lasting word. Only God does, through Jesus’ life and then the work of the Spirit Jesus sends that will live on in Jesus’ followers.
We need to know that our belonging to God is a free gift. God reaches out to us and woos us, not because we could ever earn or deserve such love, because we couldn’t. This is something God does in God’s love in Jesus.
Our salvation and the salvation of this world is free but never cheap. This parable attempts to show us that as we are called to be in relationship with God it is a relationship that is never solely private but is also always with and for others too. God enables us to live in honest and freeing relationships with others that are marked alongside of our brokenness also by love, forgiveness, hope and reconciliation.
Such living is anything but easy. Such living must always be fueled by the source of such love and truth – God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three in One.
这种生活绝非易事。这种生活必须始终由这种爱和真理的来源来推动 - 上帝，创造者，上帝的儿子和圣灵，三为一体。
I will conclude with a story. I continue to be privileged to officiate at some weddings, mostly of younger people whom I have been blessed to get to know as their Pastor and friend. I have just one requirement to marry them – that they be willing to sit down together for 6 or 7 sessions to further explore their relationship with each other. In these sessions we look at their similarities and differences in such things as hopes and dreams, values and beliefs, families of origin and friendships – even such things as their relationship and value of money and faith.
我将以一个故事结束。我仍然很荣幸能够主持一些婚礼，主要是年轻人，我很幸运能够成为他们的牧师和朋友。对于主持他们的婚礼，我只有一个要求 - 他们愿意一起坐下来参加六到七次交谈，以进一步探讨他们之间的关系。在这些交谈中，我们会看到他们在希望和梦想，价值观和信仰，原生家庭和友谊等事物上的相同点和不同点 - 甚至包括他们的关系以及对金钱和信仰的价值的看法。
Recently in meeting with one such couple, I asked the prospective groom, whose parents are friends of mine, and faithful members of a Lutheran congregation if he knew why it was so important to his mom and dad to belong to a Christian community? As an aside his parents are people who are active in their faith – not only showing up virtually every Sunday, but who contribute time in and outside of their congregation to serve God and others in such things as council, the former Lutheran Urban Mission Society for years. They also willingly help others outside of their faith community in many ways and take part in discussions and wrestling with their faith even in such things as interfaith dialogues.
最近在和一对这样的夫妇会面时，我问了准新郎，他的父母是我的朋友，一位路德教派的忠实成员，他是否知道为什么他的母亲和父亲同属一个基督教会是如此重要。再者，他的父母是信仰上很积极的人 - 不仅参加几乎每个星期天的敬拜，而且他们为了神和他人常年在教会内外贡献自己的时间，服务于理事会，以及前路德教会城市使命协会。他们也愿意以多种方式帮助信仰团体之外的其他人，甚至在宗教间对话等事情上参与讨论，与他们的信仰搏斗。
I was interested in what this insightful young man would say. He replied, “No I don’t know why it’s so important to them.”
Which makes me wonder- do others, especially but not exclusively those closest to us know why it is so important for us to be part of a Christian community? (Pause)
这让我感到好奇 - 其他人，尤其不仅仅是那些跟我们最近的人是否知道为什么我们成为基督徒教会的一员如此重要？ （暂停）
Could it be because the love of God is what gives us life and hope, now and always? Could it be because we can be accepted here for who we are without having to pretend? Could it be because we know we need forgiveness and love each and everyday ourselves? Could it be that in our best moments we realize that God’s love and forgiveness are this wondrous free gift which are meant to be given away and lived out each and every day because God’s love and forgiveness will never run dry?
I hope so. I pray so. Because at the very least, this is part of what i THINK and am convinced by the Holy Spirit, to understand this parable’s meaning for us here and now.
Lastly and also importantly there is also this. God alone is the judge of any one’s status in God’s eyes. This means that neither you nor I, nor any other person is the ultimate judge. Thanks be to God, this is the same, the One and only God, who so loves the world that God sends God’s only Son to love and free us.
May God the Creator of this ever expanding universe, the One who becomes human and lives among us in Jesus who wills to live among us in God’s followers and people, continue to breathe on us and all others and stir us up to reflect the love of Christ who opens His arms for all – so that we can put away hatred, excluding judgments and fear. Amen and Amen.
愿上帝，这个不断扩张的宇宙的创造者，这个化身成为人类，作为耶稣活在我们中间的神，继续给予我们和其他人呼吸，激励我们去反思基督的爱，张开双臂迎接所有的人， - 这样我们就可以消除仇恨，排除判断和恐惧。阿们和阿门。
Matthew 16:24-17:8 Walk Down That Mountain TLC March 3 2019
Preface question: Have you wondered why some people have dramatic faith experiences and you have not?
Mountain top experiences are times when God shows up in miraculous or surprising way. Some of you have had mountain top experiences. Others have not. Perhaps you’ve heard about such experiences. A stunning encounter with God where someone sees everything clearly. After such encounters they are able to trust God loves them and has their back, that they are not alone.
Paul McCartney, in Carpool Karaoke with James Corden in Liverpool, shared about a mountain top experience he had after his mother’s death. In the 1960’s Paul had a dream where his mom came to him, reassuring him in his grief, saying “It’s gonna be okay. Just ‘let it be.’” Paul felt so relieved. She comforted him from beyond the grave. He woke up from sleep and said to himself, “what was that? She was saying ‘let it be’…. That’s kinda good,” so he wrote the song. “Let it be…there will be an answer, let it be.” And Paul is now convinced that the resurrection is real; that our loved ones live beyond death. Because after hearing Paul’s story, James Corden responded by telling his own. James’ granddad was a musician. When James was a kid, his Dad and Granddad sat him down and said, “We’re going to play you the best song ever written. And they played Let it be. If my granddad was here, he’d get an absolute kick out of this.” Paul says, “He is.” In the midst of deep grief, Paul wasn’t sure he could go on without his mother. And his mother appeared to him in a dream. And Paul turned her words into a song.
保罗·麦卡特尼（Paul McCartney）在利物浦与詹姆斯·科登（James Corden）一起玩汽车卡拉OK时（Carpool Karaoke）分享了他母亲去世后的山顶经历。在20世纪60年代，保罗做了一个梦，他的妈妈来到他面前，在悲伤中安慰他，说：“这会好起来的，顺其自然吧。'“保罗感到如释重负。她从坟墓外安慰他。他从睡梦中醒来，对自己说，“那是什么？她说'顺其自然'......这样也挺好，“所以他写了这首歌。 “顺其自然......你会找到答案的，顺其自然。” 保罗现在确信复活是真实的 ;我们所爱的人生活在死亡之外。在听完保罗的故事之后，詹姆斯科登通过告诉他也讲了自己的故事来回应。詹姆斯的爷爷是一位音乐家。当詹姆斯还是个孩子的时候，他的爸爸和爷爷坐下来说：“我们会为你演奏有史以来最好的歌曲。他们演奏了 Let It be。如果我爷爷在这里，他会非常享受这段经历。“保罗说，”他是的。“在悲痛中，保罗不确定他能不能没有他的母亲。他的母亲在梦中向他显现，保罗把她的话变成了一首歌。
You may wish you’ve had just such a mountain top experience. If you haven’t, are you loved any less by God? Did you miss doing something required to witness a miracle or have such a dream?
When Jesus goes up on the mountain, he brings only Peter, James and John along with him. Jesus is transfigured to shine like the sun. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appear, talking with Jesus. And Peter says to Jesus “Hey, this is awesome. I want to stay here. Let’s set up camp. I’ll pitch three tents…one for you, Moses and Elijah.”
If you’ve had a mountain top experience, you may want to stay, like Peter, and not walk down the mountain into the valleys of the world. But such experiences equip us to face struggles in our lives.
The ancient Celts spoke of thin places in the world, where the divine presence is more accessible; like a walk along the ocean, or the windswept isle of Iona, now part of Scotland. According the Celtic sayings, heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in thin places the distance is even shorter. In such places it’s as if you can reach out and touch eternity. Throughout the Bible, mountain settings anticipate something significant is about to happen.
Going up the mountain, Jesus walks in the footsteps of Moses who climbs Mt. Sinai and Elijah, who flees to Mt. Horeb. All of them experience God’s presence on a mountain top when they are facing great danger in the form of unjust political rulers.
Moses is the one who faced Pharaoh, a ruler who enslaved his people. Eventually Moses was courageous enough to say, “let my people go!” Wandering into the wilderness Moses ends up on Mt. Sinai, encountering God and receiving the 10 commandments, words about trusting God and loving our neighbours. Elijah is the one who challenged the oppressive power of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, defeating the prophets of Ba’al when a lightning bolt strikes the altar. Ahab and Jezebel threaten to kill Elijah, so he runs for his life and ends up on Mt. Horeb, listening for the still small voice of God. Both Moses and Elijah encounter God on a mountain. Moses and Elijah are significant in both Jewish and Christian communities, revealing God’s way of walking in the world. In a similar way, Jesus is drawn to a mountain as he gets ready to face an unjust political ruler, Roman Emperor Augustus. Jesus’ way of walking in the world is a threat to the power of Emperor Augustus and leads to the cross.
On the mountain, as Peter was still talking about pitching three tents, a cloud overshadows them and a voice is heard: “This is my Son, the Beloved, whom I have chosen. Listen to him!” God’s son was a term commonly designated for Roman Emperors, referring to them as human agents exercising divine power on earth. Emperor Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, was called the Son of God. Other first century Roman Emperors, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian, were all designated sons of gods. Roman citizens believed the emperor acted with the divine power of the gods. As emperor, they were the highest rank of human being who ruled over all lesser ranked people. When the voice from the cloud calls Jesus the Son of God, it identifies him in a similar role but sets him up to challenge the claims of Emperor Augustus.
Jesus reveals God’s power on the cross, rejected and despised, God dies, a seeming failure. But death is not the last word; Jesus is raised from death, comes to make all things new, to make all things right. God’s way in the world is the way of the cross, as Jesus says to each of us: deny yourself, take up your cross. Based on her testimony, it sounds like Jody Wilson-Raybould could be taking up a cross by speaking truth to power. Jody said “These are the teachings of my parents, grandparents and my community. I come from a long line of Matriarchs and I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of the Big House. This is who I am and who I will always be.” She was taught to always hold true to your core values…and to act with integrity. It could be that her willingness to be demoted from her role in Ottawa is about denying herself for a greater good. When, by God’s grace, we choose to give ourselves away in love, aka “take up our cross”, we find life. Because of Jesus’ dying and rising, we trust God is at work in the world through those who deny themselves and take up their cross. This brings hope out of despair, life out of death. In this way, Jesus continues to die and rise in the world again and again. And the world is transformed.
耶稣在十字架上彰显了上帝的能力，被拒绝和鄙视，上帝死了，似乎是一种失败。但死亡不是最终的结果，;耶稣从死亡中复活，来使一切都变得新鲜，使一切归于正常。正如耶稣对我们每个人所说的那样，上帝在世界上的道路就是十字架的道路：拒绝自己，背起你的十字架。根据Jody Wilson-Raybould的证词，听起来她可能会因为向权力说真话而背起十字架。Jody说：“这些是我父母，祖父母和我的社区的教诲。我来自一个出了多位女族长的家庭，我只讲符合原住民 （Big House）法律和传统的真话。我就是这样的也永远会是这样。“她被教导要始终忠于你的核心价值观......并且要诚信行事。她愿意被渥太华降职的举动或许就体现了她为了更大的利益而放弃自己。在上帝的恩典中，当我们选择将自己放在爱中，即“背起我们的十字架”时，我们就会找到生命。由于耶稣的死亡和崛起，我们相信上帝通过那些否认自己并背负十字架的人在世上工作。这给绝望带来了希望，给死亡带来了生命。通过这种方式，耶稣一次又一次地死在世上又复活。这个世界因此而改变。
The voice overshadowing Peter, James and John said, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him!” If we listen, we hear Jesus say, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” In doing this, each one of you are agents of God’s dream coming true on earth.” When Peter, James and John hear the voice from the cloud, they fall to the ground in fear. Jesus comes and touches them saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And they walked down that mountain into a world, longing for love.
We may not have had a mountain top experience; instead we may struggle along through our lives with questions, doubts and fears. Mountaintop moments are rare, and not necessary in order for us to meet God. God promises to meet us right now, in the ordinary earthly stuff, in bread broken and wine poured, in gathering together here. Dwelling with us as we pour out our lives to love our neighbors. Not only does God call Jesus beloved. God calls you beloved. God chooses you. And calls you to be an agent for God’s work in the world.
Play “Let it be…”? 播放“ Let It Be”
Reflection questions for The Way:
If you have you ever had a mountain top experience where God’s love or help became real to you in a new way, what was it like?
What does it mean to you to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Jesus?
Matthew 14:13-33, Feb 24 2019 TLC We Have NOTHING….nothing, that’s what the Creator of the Cosmos works best with.
Preface to Gospel Reading:
King Herod and Jesus both know how to host lavish banquets. Jesus is about to host a banquet of fish and bread feeding thousands, but King Herod has just hosted a banquet that is the backdrop for a murder. After watching the daughter of Herodias dance, King Herod has just granted what she requested: the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Jesus’ disciples came and took John’s body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus. This is where we enter the Gospel of Matthew this morning. Jesus’ divine power is set in contrast to the corrupt, violent and fear-inducing power of King Herod.
Kids’ Message: : 给孩子们的讯息
Jesus was overwhelmed with grief, over his cousin John’s death, so he withdraws in a boat to a deserted place by himself, but the crowds hear about it, and follow him on foot from the towns. When he comes ashore, he sees the crowds and is moved with compassion, healing all those who are sick.
When it started getting dark, Jesus disciples come to him and say, “This is a deserted place. No grocery stores in sight and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away.” Sensible request, given their meager resources. I mean, they barely have enough to feed themselves, let alone thousands of others. They observe how little they have; indeed slim pickins. All they can see is: Not Enough.
当天色渐渐暗下来，他的门徒来到他面前说：“这是一个荒凉的地方。没有杂货店，现在已经很晚，打发人们回去吧。“鉴于他们微薄的资源, 这是个明智的要求。我的意思是，他们几乎没有足够自己吃的食物，更不用说成千上万的人了。他们查看了他们有的; 确实少得可怜。他们能看到就是：不够。
We might say the same here at TLC, with our human and financial resources. If you’ve taken a look at our budget for 2019, we are seeking to live within our means, inviting community partnerships with UBC Geering Up summer camps and a local daycare in need of space to care for the children of working families. These partnerships generate income to provide for pastoral coverage during my sabbatical and continue to expand God’s mission in our neighbourhood.
鉴于我们的人力与财力，在TLC， 我们可能说同样的话。如果你看了我们2019年的预算，我们正在寻求在我们的能力之内生存，邀请UBC Geering Up夏令营以及为照顾工作家庭子女的幼儿园提供场所，这都是我们的社区合作伙伴 。这些伙伴关系产生的收入，可以为我休假期间的牧师服务提供资金支持，并继续扩大上帝在我们社区的使命。
When it snowed 10-15 cm a couple weeks ago, I was on the phone with Kristen, who takes care of our Buildings and Grounds, talking about how we were going to clear the parking lot. We have budgeted $1000 for plowing this year. Commercial plows charge $400-500 when they clear our parking lot. So, this allows us to hire a plow twice this year. With many retired folks who used to be available to shovel the parking lot, we are in transition. A couple years ago, we realized that if we don’t clear the snow the first day, it freezes overnight, we have an ice rink with a slippery slope. So we were determined to clear it, given the forecast. A mystery shoveler showed up before we arrived, (Paul or Barry before they went to work that day?), clearing a walking path around the building and a parking space. Kristen spent most of that day shoveling. Our neighbour, August Yu, and myself joined her for a couple more hours. And then we hired a plow Monday night. But it continued to snow. So the next day, I shared our need with a few people, and Kristen, her kids Adam and Jessica, August and myself were available. By Wednesday with another snowfall, Kristen shoveled some walkways and then needed to go to work. Mid-morning, I looked outside and noticed a couple strangers shoveling. Putting on my boots and gloves, I went out to thank them and introduce myself. One of them, Joe Baccus, said he’d been baptized at Trinity, his mother lives down the street and he noticed we needed help.
几个星期前下了10-15厘米的雪，我正在和Kristen通电话， 她负责我们教会的建筑和地面。我跟她讨论我们如何清理停车场，今年我们已经预算了1000美元。当我们请专业清理公司清理我们的停车场时，他们的收费是400-500美元。这意味着我们今年可以雇用两次扫雪机。过去，许多退休得人会到停车场铲雪，现在我们正处于新老更替阶段。几年前，我们意识到如果我们第一天不清扫雪，一夜之间雪就会结成冰，我们就有一个斜坡的溜冰场。基于我们的预测，我们决定要扫雪。一个神秘的铲雪人在我们到之前就来了，（难道是Paul 或Barry在上班之前来扫的雪？），清扫出一条围绕教会建筑一周可供人行走的路和一个停车位。Kristen当天大部分时间都在铲雪。我们的邻居August Yu和我也一起铲了几个小时。然后我们周一晚上雇了扫雪车。但雪还是继续下。所以第二天，我与几个人讲了我们的需要，Kristen及她的孩子Adam和Jessica，还有August和我自己都可以来铲雪。到星期三又下了一场降雪，Kristen把一些人行道铲了雪，然后需要去上班。上午，我向外看，发现有几个陌生人在铲车。穿上靴子，戴上手套，我出去感谢他们并自我介绍。其中一人，Joe Baccus说，他以前在Trinity受洗，他的母亲住在这条街上，他注意到我们需要帮助。
So for the next hour, we shoveled together and I found out that Joe helped to build the 1970 addition to the church. He asked about the dance held recently. He said he was surprised we had a live band play. I told him how we nearly cancelled the dance the week before, concerned that we wouldn’t have enough people coming to pay for the band. The week before, we were like the disciples…saying to one another, we have nothing but five loaves and two fish…only 29 people, not enough to hold the dance. But we went forward, sharing what we had, and 45 adults showed up, couples and singles, some driving from Aldergrove and Richmond, Linda and Gary Bartman from Vancouver Island made a special trip, as well as two teens and seven kids. Enough to pay the band. DJ Mark offered his music free of charge and we had $250 leftover for God’s mission through TLC! Everyone danced the night away, some building new friendships, and two dancers whom we’d just met, offered to help with the Cooking Together series.
所以在接下来的一个小时里，我们一起铲雪，我发现Joe帮助建造了1970年教堂的新增部分。他问起最近举行的舞会。他说他很惊讶我们有现场乐队表演。我告诉他我们在前一周几乎取消了舞会，担心我们没有足够的人来支付乐队的费用。前一周，我们就像门徒一样......彼此说，我们只有五个面包和两条鱼......只有29个人，人数不够， 不足以举行舞会。但我们还是继续进行了，分享了我们所拥有的东西，45名成年人出现，有夫妇，也有单身人士，有一些人是从Aldergrove和Richmond来的。Linda也特地从温哥华岛赶来，还有两个十几岁的青少年和七个小孩子， 足够支付乐队的费用了。 DJ Mark免费提供了他的音乐，我们还盈余 了$250 , 这将通过TLC用于上帝的使命！每个人那个晚上都跳了舞，一些人建立了新的友谊，还有两位我们刚认识的舞者，他们愿意为我们的“一起烹饪“系列提供帮助。
While Joe and I shoveled another pile of snow, Joe says, “when’s the next dance?” If Lillian had her way it would be next month! Not much later, John, a friend of Joe’s and Helen’s neighbour drove by with his four wheeler clearing the sidewalk and we asked if he’d help clear the parking lot too. When I needed to take a phone call, I thanked them both and Joe opened up his wallet, handing me $50. I said, “Hey, I should be paying you!” Joe said, “That’s for the new baptism bowl. I was at the Brager funeral where the family asked us to contribute.” Did you get a new one yet?
Standing in a deserted place with limited resources, the disciples could only see “not enough” and so when Jesus tells them: “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They respond: “we have nothing but these five loaves and two fish.” At many turns in the road, the TLC community may say, “we have nothing.” ‘Nothing’ is exactly what the Creator of the Cosmos works best with…ex nihilo, out of nothing, a big bang and infinite stars, planets, earth, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, ardvarks, giraffs, you, me. A week before Dancin’ in the Rain, we said, “we have nothing but 29 people signed up.” But we continued to share and people came from near and far. On Wednesday, Kristen and I debated about whether or not we could afford to hire the plow again…we have nothing but $600 left for the whole year…but then Jessica, Adam, August, Joe, Helen’s neighbor John, and my neighbor Kevin with his glacier busting shovel, breaking up the ice, and the mystery shoveler showed up. The Creator of the Cosmos works best with nothing.
When the disciples say, “We have nothing,” Jesus says, “Bring what little you have here to me.” He looked up into the sky, blessed and broke those five loaves and gave them to the disciples. In the hands of the disciples, as they shared, the loaves and fish multiplied. Jesus shared his power, distributing it through the hands of the disciples, ordinary human beings holding an extraordinary power as they shared with the beleaguered crowds. Jesus trusts us ordinary human beings with divine power, a power none of us can generate on our own, a power that takes what seems to be ‘not enough’ and shares it, so that there is more than enough leftover. Bring what little financial and human resources you have to me, as you share, they will multiply. Do you trust me?
Do we really trust that God’s coming kingdom will multiply as we share what little we have with our neighbours? Jesus, in sharing the five loaves and two fish, with the disciples, democratized divine power…not the kind of power King Herod exercised, that resulted in unjust political, social and economic systems that create scarcity, hunger, alienation and fear. This is the kind of power at work in Venezuela; the kind of power Juan Guaido hopes to change. The kind of power Jesus shares has different outcomes…where people are fed, filled up and overflowing with love…the kind of love generated on the TLC dance floor and in the parking lot. People are drawn to that kind of power; that’s why the crowds followed Jesus out of the towns ruled by King Herod into the wilderness.
难道我们真的相信当我们与邻舍分享我们仅有的，即将到来的神的国将会使这些东西倍增吗？耶稣与门徒分享了五个饼和两条鱼，使神的权力民主化......而不是象希律王所行使的那种权力那样，导致不公正的政治，社会和经济制度，从而给社会造成了稀缺，饥饿，异化和恐惧。这是委内瑞拉的 Juan Guaido希望改变的的那种权力。耶稣所拥有的那种力量有着不同的结果......人们得以饱腹，到处充满了爱......在TLC舞会和停车场有那种爱。人们被这种力量所吸引; 这就是为什么人群跟随耶稣走出希律王统治的城镇进入旷野。
The disciples thought “there’s barely enough for us, let alone these crowds,” so they wanted to send them away. But Jesus entrusted them with power to share and they are drawn into the new order God is establishing in the world, where the hungry are fed, the downtrodden are lifted up.
We may look around and say “we have nothing but a dwindling pool of volunteers.” Jesus says, “Bring them here to me.” Jesus gives us each a power to listen to our neighbours, share what needs we have, receive what gifts our neighbours offer. As we share, we just might discover the Creator of the Cosmos filling us with more than we imagined possible…more than we asked for. Enough love, hope and peace leftover to feed our hungry hearts and all those whom we meet.
How do you respond when you’ve experienced the loss of someone or something dear to you?
In what ways might you fall into scarcity thinking…there won’t be enough of ______________?
What kind of power has Jesus shared with you?
How might you be called to use it this week?
你会以什么方式陷入稀缺思维...... 没有足够的 ______________？
Matthew 13:24-46 Parables of the Kingdom TLC Feb 17 2019
What does the mustard seed parable say to you about God's work in the world?
What would evangelism look like if it were shaped by a farmer sowing seed parable?
What seeds have been planted in you and by whom? How are they growing/not these days?
Intro to scripture reading:
The disciples, those who followed Jesus, came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?” Jesus replies, saying ‘I tell stories in order to nudge people towards insight and understanding.’ Jesus tells stories that capture our imagination and may confuse or perplex us. Jesus tells stories, because he doesn’t want the prophet Isaiah’s prediction to come true:
Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
So they won’t have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
So they won’t have to look,
So they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face
And let me heal them. (The Message, Matthew 13:14-15)
Let’s listen and picture what Jesus is speaking of.
What images popped into your head as your heard Jesus speak this morning? ….The kingdom of heaven may be compared to:
• someone who sowed good seed in his field,
• The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, though small, it grows into a tree, so that the birds come and can nest in its branches
• like yeast that a woman took and mixed in three measures of flour, enough to make 100 loaves of bread.
• like treasure hidden in a field which someone found then hid again; overjoyed they sell all they have and buy that field.
• like a merchant in search of fine pearls, on finding one of great value, they sell everything they have and buy that pearl.
With these stories, Jesus is saying the kingdom of heaven is not about what happens when we die; it’s about how we live now with our neighbors. The value of God’s coming kingdom is worth selling everything, more valuable than we can say with words…God’s coming kingdom starts small and has tremendous multiplying power beyond what we may think is possible. Enough to make a hundred loaves of bread from a little bit of yeast. A tiny seed that becomes a home for birds.
Through these stories, Jesus proclaims what has been hidden from the foundation of the cosmos. That the kingdom of heaven has come near, has come to us, is taking root among us in our neighbourhoods, schools, workplace. With stories, Jesus draws us in, invites us to keep pondering the mystery of how God’s kingdom is coming here on earth.
The story of the weeds and the wheat is unsettling, even alarming. Did you find you were drawn to the fate of the weeds? Someone goes out to sow good seed, but while everyone is asleep an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. So when the first green shoots come up, the weeds showed up too. The farmhands go to the farmer and said, “You planted good seed; where did these weeds come from?” The farmer says an enemy planted them. The farmhands want to pull up the weeds but the farmer urges patience. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll tell you to pull up the weeds and burn them, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn. Truth be told: How many of you got stuck when you heard the weeds were gathered into bundles and burned?
Weeds growing with the wheat. This is the story of my life, how about you? In my life, I find both weeds and wheat growing. In my life not only is the fruit of the Spirit, seeds of love, joy, peace, patience and kindness, but also weeds of fear, suspicion, impatience and worry spring up alongside. Let the weeds and wheat grow together until the harvest, Jesus says. We are claimed by God’s grace in spite of the weeds and called to plant good seed in the world. Only God can distinguish good from evil in our lives and the lives of our neighbors.
The son of my uncle who died last month, Brad, is a sport facility manager in Caspar, Wyoming. Part of his job is making sure all those who attend public events in his building are safe. Wyoming allows people to carry and conceal guns. As a result, this means everyone who comes through their doors goes through a security check and guns are removed from their person. Recently, last December they hosted Snoop Dog, a popular rapper. When Snoop Dog performs, some may assume that those attending may be packing heat, carrying guns. To their surprise, Brad’s staff found no one was armed. However, at the Christmas Broadway Wonderland concert held the next week, they still checked everyone. Would you assume anyone was carrying a gun to that concert, attended by families and many folks over the age of 65? Brad’s staff confiscated four guns, all concealed and carried by grandmothers! Next month, Friends of the NRA, National Rifle Association, has asked to hold their next event in Brad’s building. Of the 700 attending, Brad’s staff expects 3-400 will be carrying guns. The Friends of the NRA had asked to waive the no weapons policy, but the City of Caspar has held firm; Brad’s staff will bag check and metal wand, no weapons allowed. FNRA is not happy about it but they’ve agreed to follow policy. Only God can distinguish good from evil in our lives and the lives of our neighbors, but we are called to protect our neighbours from harm, which includes prohibiting guns in public places.
上个月去世的我叔叔的儿子Brad 是怀俄明州卡斯帕的一家体育场馆经理。他的部分工作是确保所有在他所管理的场馆内参加公共活动的人都是安全的。怀俄明州允许人们携带和隐藏枪支。结果，这意味着每个通过他们的安全门进行检查的人，都要把枪从他们的身上取下来。最近，去年12月，他们举办了流行说唱歌手Snoop Dog的演唱会。当Snoop Dog表演时，有些人可能会认为那些参加的人可能都热情洋溢，并携带枪支。令他们惊讶的是，Brad的工作人员发现没有人携带枪支。然而，在接下来一周举行的圣诞百老汇仙境音乐会上，他们也检查了所有人。你会认为有人带着枪去参加那场音乐会吗？去参加的都是家庭， 有很多人都超过65岁。Brad的工作人员没收了四支枪，全部都是祖母们隐匿和携带的！下个月，全国步枪协会之友已要求在Brad 管理的大楼举行下一次活动。在参加比赛的700人中，布拉德的工作人员预计会有3-400人携带枪支。全国步枪协会之友曾要求放弃无武器政策，但卡斯帕市很坚决; Brad的工作人员将检查背包，金属探测，以确保没有武器进入场馆。 FNRA对此并不满意，但他们同意遵守规定。只有上帝能够在我们的生活和邻居的生活中区分善恶，但我们被要求保护我们的邻居免受伤害，包括禁止在公共场所使用枪支。
Abigail Disney, activist and film maker related to the late Walt Disney, has directed films about people making peace in the world, bringing about the kingdom of heaven on earth, acting as leaven, good seed in their neighborhoods. In a film called Pray the Devil back to Hell, she features Lehmah Gbowee, a Lutheran woman who led women’s peace movement in Liberia to bring an end to a brutal civil war. Abigail has been wondering how the call to be peacemakers will be heard in the US. She says, ‘With the NRA lowering every barrier to taking human life by pushing an increase the number of guns in the US, encouraging more people to own them, hoping to force states that do have gun control laws to accept conceal and carry permits from other states.’ Christian Century, Oct 10, 2018, p.11) According to Wikipedia, as of 2018, 17.25 million gun permits have been issued to US citizens. Abigail says ‘a quarter of a million weapons have moved from border states into Mexico’, fueling drug wars that continue, regardless of sentencing Drug Lord, Joaqin “El Chapo” Guzman to life imprison this week. As a result of asking herself what she could do to build a culture of peace in the U.S., Abigail decided to start with the worship of weapons, specifically among Christians who talk about the sanctity of life and fight against abortion, yet support the NRA. But Abigail knew no one. She finally found Rob Schenk, an evangelical pastor active in the pro-life movement. She said to him, “I wonder if, instead of fighting, we could explore what common ground we have.” The first time they met, they talked for two hours. Rob had come from a liberal Christian family and had grown more conservative in his adult life. Abigail came from a conservative Christian family and had grown more liberal in her adult life. ‘We are both bi-lingual!’ Abigail said to Rob. She was surprised by how smart, well-read, and friendly he was. She is ashamed of that now because he’s become one of her closest friends.
与已故的沃尔特迪斯尼有关的阿比盖尔迪士尼，是一位活动家和电影制片人，她制作了关于人们在世界上实现和平的电影，带来了地球上的天国，在他们的社区充当了酵母，和优良的种子。在一部名为“将魔鬼祈祷回地狱”的电影中，她以路德教妇女Lehmah Gbowee 为原型，讲述了她领导利比里了亚妇女的和平运动，结束了残酷内战的故事。阿比盖尔一直在想如何让美国听到和平制造者的呼吁。她说，“全国步枪联盟通过增加美国的枪支数量来降低夺取人类生命的每一个障碍，鼓励更多的人拥有枪械，希望强迫那些拥有枪支管制的州接受隐瞒和携带枪支许可制度。“Christian Century，2018年10月10日，第11页”据维基百科称，截至2018年，已向美国公民发放了1725万份枪支许可证。阿比盖尔说，“25万件武器已经从边境州转移到墨西哥”，加剧了持续不断的毒品战争，虽然毒枭，Joaqin “El Chapo”古兹曼本周被宣判终身监禁。由于自问自己在美国建立和平文化上可以做些什么，阿比盖尔决定从武器崇拜开始，特别是那些支持生命的神圣性，反对堕胎却支持全国步枪协会的基督徒。但阿比盖尔不认识任何人。她终于找到了Rob Schenk，一位活跃在支持生命运动中的福音派牧师。她对他说，“我想知道我们是否可以探索我们的共同点，而不是争执。”他们第一次见面时谈了两个小时。 Rob来自一个自由派的基督徒家庭，并且在他的成年生活中变得更加保守。阿比盖尔来自一个保守的基督徒家庭，并在成年后变得更自由。 “我们都是双语的！”阿比盖尔对罗布说。她对他的聪明，博学和友好感到惊讶。她现在感到羞愧，因为他成了她最亲密的朋友之一。
Abigail’s next film, now available on Netflix, is the story of her working with Rob Schenk, an evangelical pastor, who went from church to church in the US, addressing the worship of weapons in Christian communities. It’s called The Armor of Light. Could be our next TLC movie night and conversation…..
Jesus told stories about the coming kingdom multiplying beyond our expectation…a mustard seed becoming a tree, a few teaspoons of yeast producing 100 loaves of bread. Change that brings about God’s kingdom, can start with a conversation like Abigail and Rob, amongst ourselves, with our neighbours. Understanding and hope will multiply right here, amongst weeds and wheat. As our teens, Sophia and Christine, organize our Cooking Together series across cultures, they will be reaching out to our Language Partners, the George Mackie library ESL classes, and each of you.
耶稣讲述了即将到来的国度超越我们期望的故事......芥菜种子变成一棵树，几茶匙酵母生产100条面包。改变带来了神的国度， 这种改变可以从与我们的邻居谈话开始，就象阿比盖尔和罗布这样的谈话。在杂草和小麦中，理解和希望将在这里繁衍生息。正如我们的青少年Sophia和Christine一起组织我们的烹饪在一起的系列活动，她们将联系我们的语言合作伙伴，George Mackie图书馆ESL课程的学员以及你们每个人。
The cross was the price Jesus paid for living in a world mixed with weeds and wheat. Jesus hung between a good thief and a bad thief, says Richard Rohr. “He hung between heaven and earth, utterly whole and yet utterly disfigured, inside both humanity and divinity. He held within himself all the primary opposites….In his dying, Jesus carried the mystery of universal suffering and let it change him in his rising, so that we could become leaven, yeast cultivating peace. We are each called to be yeast cultivating peace, the visible compassion of God, more than those ‘going to heaven.’ We agree not to hide from the dark side of things or the rejected group, but draw close to the pain of the world and let it change our perspective. (excerpts from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent Books: 2019), 32-33.)
十字架是耶稣为生活在混有杂草和小麦的世界中所付出的代价。理查德罗尔说，耶稣挂在一个好小偷和一个坏小偷之间。 “他被悬于天地之间，完全的整体又完全的破碎，人性与神性并存。他的内心承接了所有对他的反对......在他临终时，耶稣承受着宇宙的一切痛苦，让痛苦在自己的崛起中改变自己，这样我们就可以成为酵母，培养和平的酵母。我们每个人都被称为培养和平的酵母。上帝所展现的同情，比“进天堂”更广大。我们同意不再躲避事物的黑暗面或被拒绝的群体，而是接近世界的痛苦让它来改变我们的观点。 （摘自理查德罗尔，环球基督：被遗忘的现实如何改变我们看到，希望和相信的一切（Convergent Books：2019），32-33。）
Let the weeds and wheat grow together until the harvest. Together with our neighbours, we are leaven, making peace one conversation at a time.
Matthew 6:5-21 Living a Cruciform Life: Letting Go of the Right to Get Even Feb 3, 2019 TLC
马太福音6：5-21 过着十字架的生活： 放弃获得平等的权利
Kids’ Message: Praying with our bodies…Lord’s prayer…everyone stand together
(Our life of prayer is cruciform, cross-shaped—it’s about dying and rising in Christ together)
We all struggle with how and when perhaps to pray. Some of us may have never prayed out loud. Prayer is something we do when no one else is around and prayer may be silent. We may be self-conscious about using the right words or phrases. Or we may struggle to carve out time in our daily lives to stop, pause and recognize we can talk with God about what is going on in our life. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus cuts through all the flowery language or pious efforts we make….saying to us, ‘pray in this way.’ Jesus offers us a cross-shaped framework for all prayer, touching on all the ways we will struggle in our lives.
The prayer is first of all communal….we address God together, not as My Father, but as Our Father, with the intimacy of a loving parent, Abba, Daddy. Whenever we pray, we are not alone, we join our voice with a community of voices calling out to their loving parent. God is Love, not gender specific…male or female, but beyond gender…a Bigger than Imaginable Love on the move for us and for the life of the world. The prayer Jesus offers is a table of contents for where we will struggle in life:
• knowing and joining with God’s will to heal and restore the world, rather than seeking our own desires,
• trusting God to provide daily bread (everything we need such as food, drink, clothing, shelter, good friends, good neighbors, faithful family, good government, health) ,
• and forgiving others as we are forgiven.
The ability to live a cruciform or cross-shaped life…
• where we seek God’s will rather than our own,
• where instead of holding grudges for days, weeks or decades, we forgive, we let go of the right to get even…
Living a cross-shaped life is not something we do on our own steam. It is a gift of grace that comes to us from the cross of Christ Jesus, as we enter into his dying and rising.
Listening to the testimony of families whose loved ones were killed in the tragic Humbolt hockey bus accident this week, we know that living a cross-shaped life is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
As victims’ families spoke about how the accident affected their lives, one mother, sobbing and grasping, looked directly at Mr. Sidhu, the driver of the truck that killed her son, and said, “I despise you for taking my baby away. You crushed my world. You are an arrogant and inconsiderate monster with no regard for life or rules or laws.” Her anger is justified. How can parents forgive the one who owes them the life of their loved one, someone who admits they are clearly at fault?
A cross-shaped life involves naming how we’ve been wronged and then, by the grace of God, letting go of the right to get even. But we do not do this by our own grit and determination…it’s in fact opposite. It’s by opening our clenched fists, and letting go of the righteous hatred, anger, fear, and lost dreams
Mr. Sidhu, the driver of the truck who has pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm, has expressed deep remorse for his actions. His remorse will not bring back any of the lives lost. And he clearly has a record of negligent driving.
Words of forgiveness don’t come easily for those who’ve wronged us: parents or clergy or any trusted adults who abuse or neglect a child, a family member who betrays you, spouse who is unfaithful to their marriage vows. Jesus knows it’s hard to forgive, that’s why he includes it in the prayer…forgive us as we forgive those who’ve sinned against us. Matthew’s gospel seems to indicate a kind of conditional exchange of forgiveness…if we forgive others, then God will forgive us. Sounds like: If you don’t forgive others, then God won’t forgive you.
This prayer is not a contract, like making a deal with God. If I do this, then God will do this….What actually happens when we refuse to forgive others, is that we lock our heart in a room, trying to protect ourselves from further harm and hoping to hurt those who owe us, who are indebted to us. But when we do this, we are the ones who live in agony. Unforgiveness will eat us alive, wasting away our life. Jesus knows this. Jesus knows what happens when we refuse to forgive. Jesus wants to set us free from a living torment.
Jesus knows forgiveness is hard. While he was betrayed by those whom he trusted the most, he was arrested on false charges, given an unjust trial and sentenced to death. But hanging from the cross, he cried out, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing!” God offers to us forgiveness, even when we don’t know what we are doing.
In the twelve steps to living free from addiction, the fourth step involves making a fearless moral inventory of our life, where we take into account all the ways we have failed to live in love, turned against those who needed us distanced ourselves from owning our faults, denied our brokenness. But we don’t stop there, we take the fifth stap…we come with this baggage to a confidant, pastor, someone who can keep what we say confidential, and we pour it out before them. In giving voice to our fearless, moral, inventory before God and another person, our burden is lifted. We hear a word of forgiveness and we are set free. When we come in this way before God, day after day, and hear a word of forgiveness, then we are free to offer it to others. So we pray, Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debters.
One of our 12 year old theologians in our midst here at Trinity asked this question recently: “Mom, it makes sense that we need to ask others for forgiveness but why do we need to ask God for forgiveness?”
Our ability to forgive others is deeply connected to receiving forgiveness from God. We can only offer what we have first received. Every week we are given a chance to bask in the lavish forgiveness God offers, so that we can generously offer it to others.
Holding grudges hurts us, fills us with bitterness and resentment, like Ebenezer Scrooge, rather than getting even with those who hurt us.
On CBC radio this week I heard one grieving father whose son was killed in the Humbolt hockey team collision say, “Mr. Sidhu didn’t set out to kill anyone…I support the judge giving Mr. Sidhu a lighter sentence so that one less life is cut short by this tragedy.” In witnessing to Mr. Sidhu this week, Christina Haugen, wife of Broncos coach Darcy Haugen, said there isn’t a single way the collision hasn’t had an impact on her family—her boys living without a father, her husband whom she adored and admired. She revealed the wounds her family bears from this unjust act, but then she said something that echoes Jesus’ words from the cross to Mr. Sidhu: “I want to tell you that I forgive you.”
在本周的CBC电台，我听到一个悲痛的父亲，他的儿子在Humbolt曲棍球队的事故中遇害，他说：“Sidhu先生并没有打算杀死任何人......我支持法官给Sidhu先生一个较轻的判决，这样还有一个人的生命没有因为这个悲惨的事故而缩短。“本周见证了Sidhu先生，野马曲棍球队教练的妻子Christina Haugen说，没有什么方法可以让这个事故不对她的家庭产生影响 - 她的孩子没有了父亲，她失去了她所崇拜和钦佩丈夫。她透露了她的家人因这种错误的行为所造成的伤害，但随后她说出了一句与耶稣在十字架上对苏德先生的话相呼应的话：“我想告诉你我原谅你。”
Living a cross-shaped life, we let go of the right to get even and let God. (share kids prayer action)
Matthew 3:1-17 Jesus’ Baptism
January 13 2019 TLC
God Loves Us First –神先爱我们
When I was 13 years old, my
family moved from Montana to Minnesota…because my mother had been offered her
first full time job since I was a toddler???. This was a really big deal for
our family…my mother was very excited about her job, my Dad resigned his position
at as the V.P of operations at the bank, and I had to leave my best friend
Ruby. Ruby was like a sister to me…when we loaded up the car, it seems like I cried
all across North Dakota on Interstate 94. It was like the skin of my heart was
being ripped away and dragged across the pavement behind the car. When we
pulled into the hotel parking lot where we would live temporarily until school
started the following week, my heart was broken.
在我13岁的时候，我们全家从蒙大拿州搬到了明尼苏达州......因为这是自我两三岁起，我母亲得到的第一份全职工作。这对我们全家来说是一件非常重要的事情......我母亲对她的工作非常兴奋，我父亲辞去了银行业务部V.P的职务，我不得不离开我最好的朋友Ruby。 Ruby对我来说就像我的姊妹......当我们装完车，行驶在横跨北达科他州94号州际公路上时，我觉得我哭了一路。我觉得我的心就像被撕开，由汽车拖曳着穿过路面。当车开进酒店的停车场，我的心都碎了。酒店是我们的临时居所， 我们要在这里住到学校开学。
As ninth grade started, I
decided I would try on a new identity…I was tired of being called “the brain”
by my peers in school. I wanted to try on some new skin…so I signed up for the
basketball team. I don’t remember any try-outs…I think they took every girl who
signed up. Unlike most of the other girls, I had never played basketball
before. We ran drills, dribbling, lay-ups, passing and I was OK player. But I was
really nervous before the first game. Things were going pretty well until
half-time. After the referee blew the whistle, I intercepted a pass and made a
break for the basket…dribbling all the way down the court with no one trying to
stop me. I wondered about that…briefly…but continued down the court, to do a
lay-up and make a basket. Only to discover that I had scored two points for the
opposing team! You see, I didn’t know the rules for playing basketball like all
the other girls and I was too embarrassed to ask the coach. I had messed up big
time. I don’t remember the coach
consoling me or my teammates talking with me about it…I felt like an outsider
and a failure. After making that basket, I was so humiliated that I quit the
basketball team.. Who would choose me to be on the team after that?
In Matthew’s gospel we’ve
jumped ahead 30 years from the visit of the magi, the three wise ones to the
toddler Jesus. Jesus has grown into an adult, who comes to his cousin, John in
the wilderness. John had been gathering
followers in the wilderness of Judea by saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of
heaven has come near.” In other words: “Change your life; God has come near.”(The
Message, translation of the Bible by Eugene Peterson) Repentance is a call to
change our lives, to turn from the sin that so easily entangles us, to admit
we’ve messed up and need a love bigger than ourselves.
Admitting we’ve messed up,
that we need help is one of the hardest things we do as human beings. Something
about losing face. And we may wonder if those who are closest to us will walk
away if we admit who we really are. But some of the most fully alive human
beings I know are those who’ve come to admit how they’ve messed up and been
surrounded by a Love that doesn’t walk away.
In the evolutionary process,
we may ask what comes first: the chicken or the egg? In John’s message we may
ask, what comes first, our change of heart or God coming near? As followers of
Christ, does God demand that we clean up our lives before coming to church,
before coming to the waters of baptism? I think we get things mixed up…we start
to think we need to fly straight, to make good choices, to do the right things,
in order to be loved. But John says God has already come near to us, numbers
the hairs on our head, knows us and loves us before we are aware of it. This is
what the baptism of Jesus by his cousin John is all about: Jesus, divine love
in human form, was willing to repent and be baptized in order to walk alongside
us as our brother. We are chosen to be on God’s team before we try-out.
John follows a long line of
prophets who call for people to change their lives, to turn back and walk God’s
way in the world. Prophets like Isaiah who speak for God saying, “I formed you.
I will not forget you.” And Zechariah who says, “Return to me and I will return
to you.” And Jeremiah who says, “If you turn back, I will take you back. I am
with you to save you and deliver you.”
John says that Jesus, who is
more powerful than him, will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Jesus will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy
Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean
house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything in its proper
place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”
(The Message, Eugene Peterson, Matthew’s Gospel 3:11-12
约翰说耶稣比他更强大，会用圣灵和火给我们施洗。耶稣将点燃你内在王国的生命，你内在的火焰，你内在的圣灵，从内而外地改变你。他要打扫房子 - 清理你的生活。他会在上帝面前把一切都放在适当的位置;一切假的东西，他会将他们与垃圾一起焚烧掉。“（The Message，Eugene
Peterson，Matthew's Gospel 3：11-12
God comes near before we
change anything. God chooses us before we try-out.
And will never walk away when
we have messed up…in fact when we mess up, and are drowning in humiliation and
shame, because we’ve hurt those whom we love. Jesus knows the depth of our
humiliation. He bore it on the cross. Instead of walking away, Jesus comes.
Dying and rising with us, opening up possibilities we’d never imagined before.
Without messing up, meeting Jesus in our humiliation, these possibilities
would’ve never opened up. It’s the broken places of our lives that let the
light in. Soren Kierkegaard, Danish Existentialist philosopher, expresses how
God comes nearer to us each day: “When we awake in the morning and turn our
thoughts to you—you are the first, you have loved us first. Even if I arise at
daybreak and instantly turn from my thoughts to you in prayer, you are too
quick for me; you have loved me first.”
在我们改变任何事之前，上帝就来临了。在我们被试用之前，上帝就选择了我们。事实上当我们失败，陷入困境，因为伤害了我们所爱的人 而淹没在羞愧和耻辱中时，神从来没有走开......，，耶稣知道我们的羞愧有多深。他在十字架上承受着这种羞辱。耶稣没有离开，而是来了。与我们一起死去再复活，开启了我们以前从未想象过的可能性。如果没有失败，没有在我们的羞辱中遇见耶稣，这些可能性永远不会向我们开启。正是我们生活中的破碎才让光照了进来。丹麦存在主义哲学家Soren Kierkegaard表达了神每天如何接近我们：“当我们早上醒来并将思想转向你时 - 你是第一个，你先爱我们。即使我在黎明时分起床并在祷告中将我的思想立刻转向你，你对我来说也太快了; 是你先爱了我。“
Matthew 2:1-15 Epiphany January 6 2019 TLC
Opening treasure chests…home by another road
Three wise men notice a change in the night sky and come
searching, looking for something, or someone. As you welcome a new year, what
you are you looking for? …… What hopes and dreams do you have for the coming
year? ……..What, if anything, are you afraid of? (take time to reflect, or write
if so moved)
...... ..如果有的话，你害怕什么？ （如果有感动， 花点时间反思，或写点什么）
Where did the wise men get the courage to travel such a long
way? They had observed a shift in the heavens and they were drawn to encounter
what had caused the shift. So they search. They are willing to travel away from
what is familiar and follow a star that appeared on the horizon. And they land in Judea, a place ruled by a
political nightmare, King Herod. We may tend to over-sentimentalize the story
of the wise men, visiting the Christ child as we human beings tend to do with
times past. The wise men were magi, not three kings as a popular Christmas
carol sings, but Zoroastrian astrologists. They studied the movement of the
heavens, searching for answers to mysteries we still have not solved.
They left the fire temples of their god Ahura Mazda to
travel 100’s of km to pay homage to toddler king of the Jews. We may wonder how
did the Zoroastrians living in Persia, modern day Turkey, know anything about
Judaism and the promised Savior? Actually
for centuries the Jews had influenced Persian culture…they had lived among the
Zoroastrians and developed partnerships across religious borders. We see this
with a Jewish woman Esther marrying a Persian King, changing the plight of her
people. Another Persian king had supplied the forest wood to rebuild the
Jerusalem temple in Nehemiah’s day. And a young Jewish man named Daniel was
appointed a leader in the Persian empire. So these Zoroastrians cross
religious, political and ethnic boundaries to search for a child born to find
all of us.
These three travelers arrive up to two years after Jesus’
birth, to a country torn by bloodshed and the murderous rage of their political
ruler. King Herod, loyal to Rome, is threatened by the birth of a Savior and deceives
the travelers by sending them to Bethlehem, saying “Go and search diligently
for the child; and when you have found him bring me word so that I may also go
and pay him homage.” Herod’s leadership of Judea was unstable; many religious
leaders believed he wasn’t sufficiently Jewish to rule the people. He was a
monstrous leader who had killed his own wife and several children. In asking
the magi to report on the whereabouts of Jesus,
all Herod intends is to issue an order for genocide of all children
under the age of 2 years (show second slide) David Jaffe depicts this horror in
his painting. Warned in a dream, Joseph flees danger in his own country with
Mary and Jesus to become refugees, crossing borders to find safety. Jesus is
born into a world in which people are forced to become refugees, where the
innocent suffer, where equality and justice for all is fleeting.
The Vancouver Sun shared the story of Sharmarka Dubow, newly
elected city counselor in Victoria, BC. When Dubow was 8 years old, his mother
put him and his sister on a boat fleeing war-torn Somalia, saying “hold onto
your sister’s hand.” Dubow and his sister crossed the Indian ocean by moonlight
and landed in Kenya. He built a bed of bamboo sticks and remembers camp life being
one of daily struggles and frightened people looking for their next meal,
trying to make a living. The United Nations stepped in to ensure the refugee
camp was permitted to exist. “For twenty years,” Dubow says, “I didn’t have a
home, I didn’t have a country. I grow up in a refugee camp in Kenya. In Ethiopia I was undocumented, not registered
under the UN Human Rights Commission. In Egypt, I was a refugee and they never
gave me a chance to become a citizen and be part of society,” Dubow says. He
was an outsider without rights until he came to Canada in 2012. “Canada gave me
that chance. Victoria lifted me up. People have lifted me up and given me that
chance….I want to give back to Canada, to make Victoria more inclusive and
affordable, …. to bring people together.” Dubow has discovered the best way to
do this is to have tea and sit with people from all walks of life. Sounds like
something Jesus would do. No wonder the magi were drawn to him. No wonder we
8岁时，他的母亲将他和他的妹妹放在逃离战火纷纷的索马里的船上，说 “握住你姐姐的手。” Dubow和他的妹妹趁着夜色越过印度洋来到肯尼亚。他用竹竿做了一张床，并记得难民营的生活每天都在挣扎，恐惧的人们寻找着下一顿饭的着落，想着如何生存。联合国的介入确保了难民营的存在。 “二十年来，”Dubow说，“我没有家，没有国家。我在肯尼亚的一个难民营长大。在埃塞俄比亚，我没有证件，没有在联合国人权委员会注册。在埃及，我是一名难民，他们从未给我机会让我成为公民， 成为社会的一份子，“Dubow说。在2012年来加拿大之前，他是一个没有权利的局外人。“加拿大给了我这个机会。维多利亚扶我站起来，人们把我举起来，给了我这样的机会......我想回馈加拿大，让维多利亚更具包容性和可负担性......将人们聚集在一起。“Dubow已经发现，最好的方法就是与各界人士坐在一起喝茶。听起来像耶稣会做的事情。难怪法师会被他吸引，难怪我们也被他吸引。
Dutch painter Peter Paul Rubens, from the late 1500’s,
depicts what happens when the magi arrive: In the foreground, one of the magi
is thoroughly moved by meeting the child in Mary’s lap. He kneels in deep
respect and adoration, staring open-mouthed and opens his treasure chest,
sharing his gift as Jesus reaches out to him. Another magus above him steps
back with his hand on his hip, eyes wide open, not sure what he has found. And
the third magus, with a flowing white beard, furls his brow in contemplation,
realizing how important this meeting is.
They opened their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of
gold, frankincense and myrrh…pouring out the best they had to share. I wonder,
do we realize the treasure chest entrusted to each of us? Or are we like the
little drummer boy who underestimates what he has to offer the newborn king?
One of my favorite Christmas Carols is the Little Drummer
Boy because it speaks of a boy who thinks he has nothing to share with the baby
Jesus that’s fit to give a king, but realizes he can bring himself, play his
drum...that is enough. (play :25-2:50 seconds)
A child has been born, the shepherds hear of his birth and
find him in a manger. The magi travel from afar seeking more than they can
imagine. We are gathered here this morning, to let go of regrets from 2018,
name our hopes and dreams for 2019, and wrestle with fears of what tomorrow
might bring. But this child, born to find us all, invites us to come…..to bring
our whole selves, the broken and bruised parts, the not-yet-fulfilled parts,
and kneel. Together we offer all we are,
all we hope to become, before the One who gives us more than we will ever need.
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2018 Luke 2:1-20
In-car-nation…enfleshment of Divine Love. Love in human form
An Audacious Claim we make as Christians every Christmas is that God took human
form in the birth of Christ.
Since we’ve been bathed in song, prayer, and candle lighting
as we gather together, I trust none of you are anxious or afraid right now…unless
I were to ask you to come and join me for a conversation up here right now.
Then your palms might start to sweat and your heart race. If I didn’t have my
thoughts worked out on paper in front of you, I may be doing the same.
Tonight, I invite you to walk into Luke’s Gospel with me and
step into the shepherd’s muddy boots, breathe in the pasture, manure, hear the
baaaaaa-ing of the flock of sheep, some milling around others bedded down in a
ravine with a watering hole near-by. The shepherds are reclining on a rock
near-by, half awake, yet minding their business of tending sheep under both the
cover and threat that darkness brings. Suddenly, a flash of light appears, like
the refrigerator sized meteor that pealed across the MN sky a few days ago, shaking
houses and awakening people from sleep with a sonic boom. God’s glory blazed
around the shepherds and they were terrified. When we are afraid, we zone in on
the perceived threat. Our body is flooded with adrenaline as we prepare to face
the threat. Neuroscientists know that the part of the brain activated is the
Amygdala. It’s been called our reptilian brain…reflexive and reactive. So that
we function more like instinctive animals than conscious human beings, when our
amygdala is activated. We are in fight or flight mode…trying to defend
ourselves or get away from whatever is frightening us. Teachers use the
insights of neuroscientists to nurture a classroom environment conducive to
learning. Students are taught how to
regulate themselves so that they move beyond the amygdala and activate the
parts of their brains that experience new insight, new awareness, and learn.
Gathering here in worship, we nurture a space that allows for reflection,
self-awareness, being honest with ourselves and with God, and together
encountering the mystery of the incarnation….a theological word referring to
God taking human form…as a babe born to Mary and Joseph, coming to embody
For years I’ve been an avid bird watcher, but not the kind
that keeps a record of all the birds I’ve seen and who books vacations just to
watch birds, YET…those days are coming. But one of the challenges of watching
birds is seeing them without frightening them away or catching a glimpse of
them before they notice you. On these rainy and chilly winter days, we’ve
successfully attracted and feeding humming birds, chickadees and juncos to our
deck. They seem to arrive while we eat breakfast…and feast until they notice a
threat…our black kitten window hunting.
Did you hear about Rocco, the Cheeky Parrot who has learned
how to use Amazon’s latest home-based AI device, called Alexa, to order snacks?
In the Huffington Post, David Barden reported on this African grey parrot who
was kicked out of an animal sanctuary for his foul mouth, was rescued by Marion
in the UK and has learned how to befriend Alexa, an AI device that can do many
things for you all through voice activated control. Rocco is using Alexa to
play his favorite music, tell jokes and even order snacks (The Times of
London). His owner who rescued him has set parental controls on Alexa to prevent
this clever boy from purchasing items, such as strawberries, ice cream and even
a kettle. Rocco was taught how to curse by a previous owner which got him
kicked out of the animal sanctuary. But smarty pants has fallen in love with
his owner, Marion, and apparently Alexa, his new BFF (best friend). Rocco interacts
with the AI device up to 40 times a day while Marion is at work. Rocco can
imitate many household sounds such as the microwave, squeaking fridge door, ice
cream van in the summer and “a truck reversing so loud you think it’s in your
living room,” Marion says. But Rocco is not conscious of himself and reflective
about why he’s here, like we human beings but he’s established a relationship
with an AI (artificial intelligence) device that accomplishes a significant
number of tasks we human beings would ask of Alexa. As scientists create
algorithms in AI devices and robots, can they develop a conscious awareness
like we human beings? Is there an algorithm that teaches them to wonder, to be
curious, to develop a relationship with parrots and human beings and God?
The shepherds were not looking for God, on their knees
praying beneath the star-lit sky, or reading the Book of Psalms out in the
pasture…they were doing what shepherds do, keeping watch over their flocks so
that a wolf wouldn’t snatch them.
When the shepherds are startled by an angel, a messenger from
God, they are terrified…their amygdala kicks into full gear. And…the story
could’ve ended right there if they’d followed their (reflexive reptilian brain)
instinct, fleeing for their lives. So the first thing the angel says is “Do not
be afraid.” The shepherds let those words sink in, Do ….not….be …. afraid….expanding
their brain capacity to press a pause button, allowing time to listen and take
in something new.
They were interrupted by something that they were willing to
consider. What they heard was mind blowing (action) And it compelled them, out
of curiosity, to go NOW to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place.
When we are afraid, our brain doesn’t have any room to be curious. All the
neurons are shooting towards fight or flight in order to stay alive. In fact,
if we are terrified, our bodies can freeze, unable to do or say anything.
But living by faith involves being curious, open to wonder.
And being in touch with our bodies, our senses, our fellow creatures. On Christmas, we celebrate the love of God
revealed in human form. As the early Christian communities were figuring out
who Jesus was and what it meant to follow the way of Christ, some of them
developed a way of living by faith that elevated the mind over the body.
Gnostics believed that our perfect souls were trapped in the decaying flesh of
an evil, physical world. They rejected the body and sought to rely solely on
the mind as the primary communicator with the soul. If their minds could access
higher knowledge (gnosis) they would find the way to salvation.
Catherine Woodiwiss (deputy web editor of Sojourners
Magazine) suggests we are at risk of becoming gnostics today: “In our
technology driven world, we are at risk of elevating the mind with our phones
acting as extensions of our brain, reminding us what we are is a mind detached
from our body. Youth (today increasingly) interact through virtual reality in
video games” instead of face-to-face, running together, knowing one another
through bodily human contact.
Catherine Woodiwiss（Sojourners杂志的副网站编辑）表示，我们今天面临成为诺斯替主义的风险：“在我们的技术驱动的世界中，我们有可能通过我们的手机作为我们大脑的扩展提升我们的思维，提醒我们 ”我们是什么“是一种脱离我们身体的思想。今天越来越多的青年人通过视频游戏中的虚拟现实进行“互动，而不是通过面对面，一起跑步，身体的实际接触来相互认识。
“For many tech pioneers, including Mark Zuckerberg,
Facebook’s founder, the ideal future for humanity is a constantly stimulated
mind. Virtual reality as the ultimate escape for our brains, away from the
brutish limits of our bodies.” (Catherine Woodiwiss, Bodily Prayer, Sojourners
Magazine June 2018)
Tonight, we enter into the mystery of God’s saving love
revealed in, with and through a physical, human body. Jesus, divine love in
human form, born to save the cosmos, meets us tonight as the bread touches our
lips…Christ’s body broken for you, filling our body with the indwelling
presence of God. As we eat and drink we are given the freedom to become fully human:
loved, whole, sinewy-connected brain to body. Let us go NOW to Bethlehem and
see this thing that has taken place….
Kids’ Message basis….
The incarnation is at the heart of Christian theology…we
have reinterpreted the winter solstice celebration of the ancient Romans,
focused on the everlasting presence of love through evergreen trees and bows.
Santa is based on a real person, Nicholas, bishop of Myra, who helped create
the Nicene Creed p. 126 ( we believe in one God, who made the whole
universe…everything we can see and not see…one Lord, Jesus…God from God, light
from light, of one being with the Father…through him all things were made…He
came down to love us, forgive us, set us free to be fully human and we believe
in the Holy Spirit, giver of life) and, according to tradition, rescued three
girls from poverty and prostitution. Gift giving is an expression of love and
generosity, reflecting the homage paid Jesus by the Magi. Dec 25th
may not be the date of Jesus’ birth, but it’s near the darkest day of the
year…to celebrate the light of the world, which the darkness cannot overcome.
Matthew 2 Advent 4
Dec 23 2018 TLC
God IS with us
Here we are in the fourth week Advent, waiting, watching and
hoping for the coming of God among us. As we wait, some travel down roads they
never anticipated, being resuscitated on the operating table twice, hearing test
results that reveal a life-threatening cancer diagnosis, recovering from
radiation treatments, losing mobility and independence to rely on a nurse and a
wheel chair, or looking for a way through broken family relationships. Together we look for God’s coming and ask…is
God with us now?
When our lives, our families or our international
partnerships are unraveling, we ask….is God with us now? This Christmas our
brothers and sisters in Syria seek to rebuild their lives in war zones, where
peace is still fragile and the US military is pulling out. This week a mother
in Mosul, who survived the war along with her husband and children, is trying
to start over. During the fighting, they were used as human shields by ISIS fighters. But
they escaped and they can no longer afford the rent of their temporary housing.
Tired of waiting, with her own hands, she is rebuilding a home for her family
in the rubble of her former neighbourhood. Is God with her?
Asking this question together, we listen once again to the Christmas
story told from Joseph’s point of view. Matthew’s gospel doesn’t tell the story
of shepherds, a host of angels, and the child born in a manger. Only Luke’s
gospel introduces Jesus to the world in this way.
First century Jewish fathers would promise their young
daughter to her future husband as soon as she reached puberty. So Mary had been
promised to Joseph; but before they lived together, Mary conceived a child. For
Joseph, this was bad news. It dishonoured him, was grounds for divorce and even
the death of Mary by stoning. According
to Deuteronomy 22, without evidence of her virginity through soiled bed sheets,
shown to the elders at the city gate, then a young woman could be stoned to
death by the men of her town. Joseph had decided to spare Mary’s life and
dismiss her quietly, because he wasn’t seeking revenge or even punishment under
the law. He had chosen to walk away without making a scene.
But just as he had made up his mind, in a dream an angel, a
messenger from the Lord, appears to him and changes his mind, “Joseph, son of
David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in
her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus, Joshua in Hebrew,
means: One who saves. This dream changes the entire direction Joseph is headed.
Instead of walking away quietly, Joseph breaks with his religious tradition,
that says Mary must suffer punishment, and accepts Mary as his wife. Life can
turn on a dime, through what appears
when we are unconscious, asleep, dreaming. For Joseph, love was greater than
being right according to the religious tradition.
I was wrong, you were right could be Joseph’s song. When he
fell asleep Joseph was determined to say “no” to Mary, to the direction his
life might take with her and the shame associated with her pregnancy. When he
wakes up, he says “yes” to the angel and “yes” to Mary. In saying “yes” Joseph
discovers God is with him, God is with us…the infinite expanse of love
compelling the universe into being is contained in a finite human being.
“You shall name him Emmanuel; God is with us.” Isaiah 7
Matthew’s gospel is quoting the prophet Isaiah: You shall
name him Emmanuel. These ancient words have multiple levels of meaning, so that
they come alive among us today. The first level of meaning is 800 years before
the birth of Jesus, when the prophet Isaiah lived. When the prophet Isaiah
first spoke these words to the people, the kingdom was divided between north
and south, north was allied with the King of Assyria, and they attacked the
south. Isaiah and his oldest son go to the southern king and tell him to
request a sign that things will work out for his kingdom. The king refused, so Isaiah
offers a sign: Look, a young woman would give birth to a child. Before the
child is old enough to know right from wrong, the kings that threaten you will
be in ruins. According to Rashi, a medieval Jewish commentator, the child born
was likely Isaiah’s second son, whose birth did remind the people that even
though they were attacked, their people killed and enslaved, Emmanuel, God was
with them. Devastation surrounded them, but in the midst of the devastation,
God’s saving love was at work.
The second level of meaning is 80 years after the birth of
Christ, when Matthew’s gospel is written to a mostly Jewish audience. After his
death and resurrection, this was a Jewish community seeking to follow the way
of Jesus in a time of violent persecution. We know this, in part, because the
gospel introduces Jesus to the world with a genealogy connecting Jesus to his
Jewish ancestors in faith: Abraham, Noah, Moses, Rahab, Ruth, King David: 42
generations of Jewish families leading to Joseph and the promised child.
The original hearers of Matthew’s gospel had just survived
the Roman invasion of Jerusalem. The Romans had attacked the Temple, the dwelling
place of God on earth, turning it to rubble. Thousands of Matthew’s readers and friends had
been brutally killed, hundreds by crucifixion, just as Jesus had been killed.
The world and future seemed hopeless, beyond repair for both the Jewish
community and the small but growing Jesus movement.
So Matthew’s gospel writer points to Joseph’s dream as the
fulfillment of what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah in a different
yet similar time of devastation. Just as a child born in Isaiah’s day reminded
people: God is with you. So will the
child conceived in Mary’s womb; name him Emmanuel, God is with us. Even though the Temple has been destroyed…this
child, a limited, finite being, holds the infinite, limitless love of the
For those whose lives are unraveling around and within them,
tell the old, old story again…of Joseph, who had resolved to dismiss his
betrothed out of public shame…he had a dream that woke him up. He realized that
God could work through what seems to be a public disgrace. No matter how your
life is unraveling, a child has been born whose name is Emmanuel, God is with
us. This is what Christmas is all about:
discovering God is with us. God loves you. God is for you. Broken and poured
out right here, right now, for you.
Matthew’s way of introducing Jesus says, God is still with
you, even now, even as your very life seems to fall away, God will catch you.
Questions for youth on Instagram:
In what ways are people connected with Trinity struggling?
In what ways are you or your friends struggling? (no need to name names
here…just anonymous examples)
What does the name Emmanuel mean?
What did Emmanuel mean for the prophet Isaiah, for Matthew’s
Gospel, for Joseph?
Does it matter if God is with you, with your friends, with
your family, with your enemies? Why or why not?
If God is with you, no matter where you are or what you are
doing or thinking, how might that make a difference?
Isaiah 42 Dec 16 2018 Advent 3 TLC
以赛亚书42 2018 年12月16 日 耶稣降临期3 TLC
The prophet Isaiah uses poetic language to speak bringing
justice to people who are like bruised reeds and dimly burning wicks. The
recent detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, from China’s point of view,
is a human rights abuse, straining relations between China, Canada and the US.
Meng is seen by China as a bruised reed, mother of four, unjustly intercepted
at YVR and detained. With the yellow vest protests in France resulting in
violent clashes for the last several weeks, those protesting see themselves as
dimly burning wicks, unable to afford the high cost of living. I wonder how the
prophet Isaiah might respond, as these nations seek justice.In hearing about
the tenants in New Westminster who are being enticed out of their affordable
housing by landlords making a money grab.
I wonder if Isaiah would name them as bruised reeds and dimly burning
wicks…some of these 74 year old tenants have been sent to the hospital with the
stress, just because their landlord wants to renovate their building. They are
being offered buyouts to move or else face the threat of eviction. But the
Vancouver Tenants Union is bringing justice in our communities by reminding
tenants of their rights….they cannot be forced out of their home if they are
willing to accommodate the renovations. And the landlords cannot succeed in
their money grab for tenants who would pay higher rent for a renovated
apartment. The prophet Isaiah might say these frightened and desperate tenants
are bruised reeds and dimly burning wicks. If so, then both Isaiah and Jesus
are working alongside the union as they teach tenants how to exercise their
Seeking dignity and respect for all human beings was sparked
when Niki Wong was in sixth grade. As a young person she discovered how to
follow Christ through several mission trips. In sixth grade she went on a
mission to Texas and first learned about inequality and God’s call for us to
work towards the common good. With more service trips to Kenya and Uganda in
high school, she saw the injustice of the slum neighborhoods in Africa in
contrast to the privilege of her suburban neighborhood in the U.S. While on a
mission trip to the Philippines in college, Niki realized that Jesus calls us
to be in mission, not by dropping in for a couple weeks, volunteering and
leaving, but by transforming a whole community as a member of it. So she
changed her major from biochemistry and microbiology to urban studies. And
instead of applying to medical school, she pursued a master’s degree in public
health. She wanted to help whole communities rather than just one patient at a
time. She and her husband began looking for college courses that would allow
them to “tie (their lives) and (their) future to the experience of the
community.” (Sojourners Magazine June 2018 p.15-18) Niki’s growing
understanding of what it meant to follow Jesus shaped her post-secondary
education so that she would have the tools, experience and courage to see
injustice and build up communities wherever she lived. So when Niki Wong and
her husband relocated to Los Angeles neighborhood four years ago, they began
organizing their neighbors to oppose an oil company which is operating an
active oil drill site within their neighborhood. Niki recognized bruised reeds
and dimly burning wicks in her new neighbours and has been working to renew and
restore her neighbourhood.
当Niki Wong上六年级的时候，开始为所有人寻求尊严和尊重。作为一个年轻人，经过几次服侍旅行，她发现了如何跟随基督。六年级时，她前往德克萨斯州，首先了解了不平等，上帝要求我们为共同利益而努力。在上高中时，她参加了去肯尼亚和乌干达的服侍，她看到了非洲贫民窟的不公正，这与她在美国郊区享有的特权形成了鲜明的对比。在上大学时她去菲律宾从事服侍，Nikki意识到耶稣要我们完成的使命，不是仅仅投入几周时间去做志愿者，然后离开，而是通过作为其成员去改变整个社区。因此，她将自己的专业从生物化学和微生物学转为城市研究。她没有申请医学院，而是攻读公共卫生硕士学位。她想帮助整个社区，而不是一次只帮助一个病人。她和她的丈夫开始寻找那些可以将他们的生活和他们的未来与社区经历紧密联系在一起的大学课程。”（Sojourners Magazine，2018年6月15-18页）Niki对跟随耶稣的理解日益加深，这塑造了她所接受的高等教育，这样她就拥有了工具，经验和勇气去正视不公正，在她所住的地方组建社会团体。四年前，当Niki Wong和她的丈夫搬到洛杉矶社区时，他们开始组织他们的邻居反对一家石油公司，该公司在他们附近经营着一个活跃的石油钻井场。Nikki在她所居住的新社区看到了受伤的芦苇和昏暗地燃烧着灯芯，并一直致力于更新和恢复她的社区。
Matthew’s Gospel is looking back at the prophet Isaiah’s words,
crafted for a community facing injustice. Living 600 years before the birth of
Christ, God’s beloved people were taken from their homeland to Babylon where
lived as exiles, foreigners living in a place in which they didn’t have the
same rights and privileges as they did at home…Matthew’s gospel remembers the
words of the prophet Isaiah as a way to say, “This is who Jesus is and why he
is doing what he’s doing.”
Jesus was healing on the sabbath, but this was considered
“work” and not allowed on the seventh day of the week. Sabbath is the holy day, “holy” meaning “set apart”
every seven days for rest and restoration in relationship with the Living God. God had made a promise to Moses, saying “I am
the Lord who rescued you from slavery in Egypt…remember the sabbath and keep it
holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a
sabbath…the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread
out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it,
and spirit to those who walk in it… rested the seventh day, so shall you.” Each
human being is made in God’s image, called to rest every seventh day, to cease
being productive, to focus on relationship with one another, with the Living
God who knows us and loves us, restoring what has been eroded away by endless
days of work.
But Jesus was healing a man with a withered hand on the
sabbath, and allowing his disciples to glean the fields of grain on the sabbath
when they were hungry. So Jesus was questioned: Is it lawful to cure on the
sabbath?...Jesus says, if your sheep falls into a pit on the sabbath, wouldn’t you rescue it?
How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! . Jesus seemed to be
disregarding the teaching of Moses by healing on the sabbath…so that some were
conspiring against him, how to destroy him.
Aware of this plot, Jesus departed, crowds followed, and he
cured all of them, ordering him not to make him known. Don’t post this on
Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Keep this secret. Why?
Matthew’s gospel writer says all of this healing on the
sabbath and keeping it hidden from public view was to fulfill what had been
spoken through the prophet Isaiah who spoke of a servant in the future who “would
set everything right among the nations. He won’t call attention to what he does
with loud speeches or showy parades. He won’t brush aside the bruised and the
hurt and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant….He won’t tire out and
quit. He won’t be stopped until he’s finished his work—to set things right on
earth.” (Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible: The Message p.1287 Isaiah 42) Matthew’s gospel says the servant whom
Isaiah imagined has come in Christ.
In 2014 while looking for a new community in which they
could live, work and build up the common good as a way to follow Christ, Niki
and her husband met Richard Parks. Twenty years before, Parks was a student at
the University of Southern California who felt uncomfortable with all the
poverty surrounding the campus. Seeking to follow Christ, he was compelled by
much that Jesus taught until he heard Jesus words: “love your neighbour as
yourself” and he thought, “Wow, I know who my neighbours are and I don’t love
them, and I’m not sure I want to.” He knew he was faced with a decision. Would
he trust Jesus’ call to love his neighbours and do something about it? He and a
few friends took the risk to follow Jesus by moving off campus into the
neighborhood. They opened their doors to homeless people, tutored youth and
closed liquor stores. They started Redeemer Community Partnerships, which Parks
is now president. For 20 years he’s lived blocks away from the Jefferson oil
drill site. As he shared with Niki and
her husband about the strong fumes, fires and oil spraying on homes and cars
from the oil drill sight. He said the community had just showed up at a recent
public hearing to deny a new permit to drill three new oil wells and operate
them 24/7. Niki says, “all these alarms went off in my head” as I listened to
Richard. With her background in biochemistry, urban studies and public health,
Niki knew how toxic this land-use was and its impact on residents. And she
heard God’s call to “set things right” in her new neighbourhood.
When the prophet Isaiah spoke these words generations before
the birth of Christ, Isaiah was speaking to the Jewish community living in
exile. They were grieving…feeling cut off from the Lord, disoriented, wounded.
Any individual or community living in chains in a foreign land would naturally
become preoccupied with themselves, grieving their fate. This is what has
happened for the people living in exile. Through Isaiah’s words, the Lord
changes the subject and calls grieving Israel out beyond its self-preoccupation
to other work. The Lord called them to look up, pay attention to others who are
vulnerable…other bruised reeds and smoldering wicks.
Israel was called to practice vulnerability and pay attention
to others who are vulnerable…the bruised reeds and dimly burning wicks. As
Christmas draws near, may our hearts become a manger for his birth, making room
for those who are bruised, those whose wick is dim. In doing so, Christ comes
alive in us, for our neighbour, bringing light to the nations.
Discussion Starters for Youth Rap on Instagram:
What stories did you hear in my message?
How does Matthew’s gospel identify who Jesus is and why he
is doing what he’s doing?
How are Niki and her husband following Jesus in their Los
Do you see any bruised reeds or dimly burning wicks at
school, in your neighbourhood, in Vancouver, or in the world? How might TLC
youth respond together with mentors?
Habakkuk Dec 2 2018 TLC: Wait For It 等待
Welcome: Today marks the beginning of the
church year, the season called Advent. Advent means appearing or coming. In the
season of Advent we practice waiting by lighting candles. This morning we light
the first candle of HOPE. And we light an additional candle each Sunday until
Christmas Eve when we celebrate the Light of the World shining anew in our
midst by lighting the Christ candle.
欢迎词： 今天是教会年度的开始， 我们称之为基督将临期（圣诞节前的四个星期）Advent的意思是出现或到来。在这个季节，我们通过点燃蜡烛来练习等待。今天早晨， 我们点燃第一支希望的蜡烛。我们每个星晴天都会点燃一根蜡烛直到圣诞前夜，我们通过点燃基督蜡烛来庆祝世界之光再次闪耀在我们中间。
This week I had the incredible privilege of
accompanying Grade 7 students to the Surrey Food Bank to volunteer. Before we
assembled diaper bags and distributed food to hungry guests, Shamina helped us
walk in the shoes of a mom who comes to the food bank by giving one of the
students a pile of play money. We learned about a single mother whom Shamina
knows. She works full time, 40 hours a week, at Walmart as a cashier, earning
$2100/month, at $13.50/hour. Another student was her landlord who collected her
rent for a two bedroom basement suite of $1100; another was the CRA. After
paying her taxes, BC Hydro, car insurance, childcare, phone, basic cable, she
has $220 left for gas and food to feed her two children, ages 6 months and 5
years. So in order to make ends meet, this mother comes to the food bank every
month. But the food bank only covers 3-4 days of groceries for her family of
three. $13.50/hour is not a livable wage, is it, if this family cannot meet
their basic needs each month. She may cry out with Habakkuk: O Lord, how long
shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?
本周，我得到一个令人难以置信的特权，陪同七年级学生到素里食品银行做志愿者。在我们组装尿布袋和为饥饿的客人分发食物之前，Shamina通过给学生们一叠游戏货币，来帮助我们了解一位来到食物银行的妈妈的生活。我们了解到Shamina 认识的一个单亲妈妈。 她有一份全职的工作， 在沃尔玛做收银员，每周工作40小时， 每小时$13.50, 每月收入$2100。她租了一个两室的地下室 ，另一个学生作为她的房东，每月收取她$1100 的房租。还有一个学生代表CRA（加拿大国税局），在她付完税，电费，汽车保险，托儿费，电话费，电视网络费之后，她手中只剩下$220 可以用来买汽油和食物。她有两个孩子，一个5岁，一个才刚6个月。 为了维持生计，这个妈妈每个月都来食物银行。但是食物银行也只能为她这个三口之家提供三到四天的食物。如果这个家庭每个月的基本生活需要都不能满足，那13.50的小时工资是不能维持生活的。她或许会向哈巴谷（犹太人的先知）哭求：主啊，我还要向你哭求了多久，你总是不听？
As the migrant caravan from Central
America arrived at the US border the last couple weeks, seeking an end to
violence and corrupt rule of law in their homeland, we’ve heard mothers
lamenting. The US Border Agents released tear gas a couple weeks ago on the
migrants who tried to charge through the border and it landed on children, who
passed out. The shelter housing migrants in Tijuana, Mexico is at three times
capacity with 5000 migrants waiting to seek asylum in the U.S. How long
will they be waiting for their applications to be processed? I’ve heard some of
them asking God to help them as they migrate towards the U.S. How long O Lord,
must we live with violence at our doorstep, they cry, finally deciding to leave
We have friends in California who
just posted a picture on Facebook of their newborn son. They’ve suffered
through five years of infertility, investing thousands of dollars for
specialized treatments just to conceive a child. I wonder how many times they
cried out for help, how this unmet longing stressed their marriage.
When was the last time you cried out
to the Lord for help and it seemed God wasn’t listening? Habakkuk is giving
voice to a complaint, crying out to God for help. We call this lamenting.
Waiting for something to change in your life.
We all live through seasons of
suffering, perhaps simply as a result of growing older. When we are overwhelmed we search for words to voice our pain, whatever is
threatening our well being. In these times, we struggle to live by faith,
to trust that God is at work in spite of the pain. Living by faith is not
clear, often puzzling. We rarely know what’s coming next, and not many things
turn out the way we anticipate. We may naturally think that because we are
God’s beloved children, or because we go to church or give generously of our
time and our financial resources, we will get favorable treatment from God. We
won’t have to walk down dead end roads, through muddy detours,
waiting for a favorable outcome that seems to delay and delay.
Habakkuk, a prophet who understands
our long wait, comes alongside us this morning, gives us words to express our
complaint: “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?”
The prophet Habakkuk lived 600 years before the birth of Christ, a time when
the Assyrian army had just destroyed one city after another, brutally killing
people. Not long after Habakkuk was written, the Babylonians attacked and
destroyed the sanctuary where Israelites would gather to meet with God and
leveled the city of Jerusalem, taking Israelite leaders and skilled citizens
into exile. Violence was all around.
helps his people give voice to their pain, to cry out at the injustice
surrounding them on every side. Like many of the psalms, Habakkuk provides
words for our lament: O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, “Help! 911! I cannot handle this alone!”
before you come to the rescue?
因此，哈巴谷帮助他的人民表达他们的痛苦，并为他们四面八方的不公正而呐喊。像许多诗篇一样，哈巴谷为我们的哀歌提供了一些话语：主啊，在你聆听之前，我要求多长时间寻求帮助呢？在你来救援之前，我要喊多少次 “救命！ 911！我自己处理不了这个问题！
“The prophet Habakkuk looks around and is
overwhelmed by all the violence and injustice he sees, like the Central
Americans at the US border, single Mom cashiering at Walmart, and asks why is
God tolerating all of it? At many points in our life of faith, we are waiting
for things to change, hoping, pleading for God to act.
Habakkuk keeps watch to see what the
Lord will say concerning his complaint. And the
Lord says, there is still a vision for the appointed time…if you don’t see it
now, wait for it. It will come to be. No easy
answers, no quick fixes which we human beings crave, especially those of us
raised in North America. Over five years ago, when I said “yes” to God’s call
to lead the TLC community, worship was a faithful group of 35 people…I came
knowing there were no easy answers for this community to grow. I wasn’t
sure if I would be helping you all die gracefully, and close the doors of this
church, making it into a tourist site for heritage buildings…but it seems there
is still a vision for the appointed time…we may see glimpses of it now, a
multi-cultural, multi-generational faith community reflecting and partnering
with our local changing neighbourhood…wait for it. It will come to be. No
easy answers…instead I see each of you courageously reaching beyond yourselves,
making new friends, listening to our neighbours, reflecting on what we are
On Remembrance Day I was astounded by
the community response to come and ring the Bells of Peace on Remembrance
Day…all because Les Starheim approached the
ND Reporter and Joyce Flemig contacted the editor in chief of the
Vancouver Sun. Well over 100 local neighbours gathered in this
sanctuary and parking lot to ring in peace. On Remembrance Day, we saw
a glimpse of the Lord’s vision for this neighbourhood…if you don’t see it
now, wait for it. It will come to be.
Together in the season of Advent, we
wait for the Christ child to be born once again, to appear among us, within our
hearts, in the midst of our pain. The Love made known in Christ is a love that
meets us in our pain, knows the agony of the night in which he was betrayed.
That night in the garden, Jesus, Love in human form, asked his closest friends
to stay with him, to wait while he prayed. As he became deeply agitated,
anticipating his arrest and coming death, he threw himself on the ground and
prayed, “Father, if it’s possible let this cup pass from me; yet not what I
want but what you want.” As the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, his closest
friends betrayed him, one was paid off with 30 pieces of silver to lead the
soldiers there, another became violent, cutting off the ear of a soldier. Jesus
says “Put your sword back into its place, for all who take the sword will
perish by the sword.” By his arrest, all of Jesus’ friends hid in the darkness,
but that didn’t stop the Light of the World from loving to the point of death
and rising to meet us here today….bread broken,
wine poured out for you. Love in human form, born among us, willingly entered
into the violence and pain of human rejection.
在降临的季节里，我们等待基督婴孩再次降生，出现在我们中间，出现在我们心中，出现在我们的痛苦之中。在基督里所知道的爱是一种在痛苦中与我们相遇的爱，知道他被背叛的夜晚的痛苦。那天晚上，在花园里，耶稣，爱的肉身体现，要求最亲密的朋友留在他身边，等待他祈祷。当他与预知自己的被捕和即将到来的死亡时，他变得非常激动，他扑倒在地，并祈祷说：“父亲，如果有可能，让这个杯子从我身边经过；但这不是我想要的，而是你想要的东西。“当士兵来逮捕耶稣时，他最亲密的朋友背叛了他，其中一人受收了30块银子带领士兵到这里，另一人变得暴力，斩断了士兵的左耳。耶稣说：“把你的剑放回原处，因为所有拿剑的人都会被剑杀死。”在他被捕时，所有耶稣的朋友都藏在黑暗中，但这并没有阻止世界之光去爱，直至死亡的那一刻，继而复活，今天在这里与我们相遇.... ..面包掰开给你， 酒倒给你。爱的肉身降临在我们中间，心甘情愿地走进暴力，走进被人拒绝的痛苦之中。
When we consider the cry of our
Central American neighbours, waiting in Mexico, or
a single mom cashiering at Walmart, none of us wields the power of actual,
substantial political authority to change their situation, but each of us has
the potential to transform a life. Perhaps you’ve weathered the violence of
addiction and can offer support for those struggling right now in
our neighbourhood, in this sanctuary. Perhaps you hear the cry of the
families around the world in need, their stories shared in the Gifts of the
Heart catalog…crying out for kidney dialysis for a child, hive of honey bees,
cooking classes, soccer ball and pump, vocational training in auto mechanics
for young person. Or you hear the cry of our local families listed
on our Christmas Hamper, and want to respond.
As we wait for God’s vision to unfold
among us, we hear the cries of the world, we may underestimate how Love is
taking shape in the darkness. Through us….
And the Lord says, there is still
a vision for the appointed time…if you don’t see it now, wait for it. It will
come to be.
seeks to take human form through us
to change lives.