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.