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.