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Narrative Lectionary, 16 a (September 20, 2020) TLC, Delta BC
记叙文选集，16 a（2020年9月20日）TLC，Delta BC
Texts –Genesis 15:1-6 (7-21) with Luke 3:8 in the b.g.
O precious ones of God, grace to you and peace from God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three in One. Amen.
Promises, promises... As an old saying goes, promises are a dime a dozen or maybe now a loonie for a hundred and ten. If you doubt me ponder these realities. Each week my wife purchases what I would call a “Woman’s” magazine at the local grocery store. Often I scan the front page. Quite often it includes headings like this “Examples – LOSE 40 POUNDS A MONTH by just drinking this or eating that. And then there are those amazing before and after pictures. There’s a promise. Or do you remember any of the election campaigns you have lived through? They go something like this. “If you will just vote for this candidate or this party” well just about all of the problems of our town or city, province or country will be solved. Just trust us. We will do the rest.
All advertising thrives on promises and the human desire to do better, look better or feel better. Of course, we know the promises will not necessarily be kept even though they are vigorously made. From wedding rings, “THE GIFT OF A LIFETIME”, to gym workouts, “Live longer and healthier, so that you can be happier”, to hucksters using religious claims asserting that if you just join their way of believing about god, their television, radio or podcast “community”– well all your financial, relationship problems will end and you will be RICHLY blessed with a pronounced emphasis on RICHLY.
Promises are all around us. As we grow older (and maybe a little wiser?) we realize that many of the promises may not be kept. Or if the promises are kept there are consequences to us and others. So, we become and often rightly so, wary of promises. We honestly ask ourselves, how can we know that any promise will be kept? That is, how can we know that the one making the promise is trustworthy?
2. Can you identify? Have you ever had a promise made – that hasn’t been kept? Have you ever made promises that you haven’t kept – to others, to yourself? I mean, seriously”
I remember my closest friend’s father, John. John contracted bone cancer in his late 40’s. He was a business owner. He was married with 3 sons, ages 20, 18 and 13. He was blessed with faith, a faith that made a difference in his life. He also still wanted to live. He and his family sought treatments near and far, travelling even to the southern United States and Mexico. Eventually John came home and died. He was 49. In some ways his family was disappointed at the lack of hope from some of the promises they had heard in the various treatments.
I have watched couples make solemn but joyful promises on their wedding day. I have no doubt that they have every intention of fulfilling these promises. They may have some inkling of how difficult and worthwhile the promises they make are to keep. Over the course of my nearly 40 years as a Pastor I would dare say about 30 % of these marriages, end in separation and divorce. Most of these people tried very hard to keep their promises but reached a point where for a variety of reasons they could no longer live together.
As people, human beings, it’s often easy to make promises. The words of promise may slide from our lips. But it’s oh so difficult to keep them. Again, think about New Year’s resolutions. There is something fundamental to our humanity that limits our capacity, our willingness to make sacrifices, even to be changed in order to keep our promises. Part of that is our mortality. Part of it is our brokenness – our refusal to admit that sometimes we are wrong, that always we are not God. In addition to all of this we also live with changing circumstances around us that are beyond our control. I had hoped to be with my father when he died but as he was dying I found myself in Moncton New Brunswick, while he was in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. I go on three planes as quickly as I could beginning at 5 AM. But my dad died before I even landed in Winnipeg.
作为人，许承诺往往很容易。承诺的话可能会从我们的嘴边滑落。但是很难遵守它们。再次，想想新年的决议。我们人性中有一些基本的东西限制了我们的能力，我们做出牺牲的意愿，甚至为了实现我们的承诺而改变自己。其中一部分原因是我们的死亡。还有一部分原因是我们的心碎 - 我们拒绝承认我们有错的时候，我们不是上帝。除此之外，我们还生活在无法控制的变化的环境中。我本来希望在我父亲去世时前能和他在一起，但当他快死的时候，我发现自己在蒙克顿New Brunswick，而他在萨斯喀彻温省的Prince Albert。我从早上5点开始，以最快的速度乘三架飞机。但我爸爸在我到达温尼伯之前就死了。
3. Abram knew about promises – and the difficulty of them being kept (see Genesis 12:1) The LORD God had made incredible promises to he and his wife Sarai. They were to go from all that they knew, their homeland, Haran, in order to be particularly blessed by the LORD God with a land, and become a great nation, even a blessing to others. Now Abram may not have been sure about all of what this blessing to others may have meant, but a land for his descendants and a great nation of his descendants sure sounded good.
So, Abram and Sarai obey God and leave home, with a certain degree of trust and hope in God’s promises. And many good things had happened in the years since that promise. But years had passed. Now Abram and Sarai are old – I mean really old. And still they don’t have even one child. So, what good are all these other blessings, this stuff. Many descendants? They don’t even have one.
I don’t know about you. But sometimes I am appalled by Abram’s behaviour. Like when he passes his beloved wife, Sarai, off to the Pharaoh of Egypt, as his sister, to save his own skin. Can you imagine? Gee, thanks honey. . . That’s truly appalling. But at other times I admire Abram’s words and action. Today’s text is one of those times.
Abram dares to call God out on God’s promise. Abram complains directly to God. Do we see that this honest complaining when God, from our perspective, is not delivering on God’s promises, is more than OK? Basically Abram says – yah, you are promising a great reward, but what exactly is that? Right now, after ALL THESE YEARS of Sarai and I wondering around, at YOUR BEHEST, of at least trying to do what YOU TOLD US TO DO, well we still don’t have ANY KIDS. So just how it is we are going to be a great nation, have a land and be a blessing to others? Right now, my slave will be my heir.
4. Amazingly, God hears Abram’s direct complaint and responds. Now, God makes an even greater promise. God tells Abram, no slave will be your heir but your own child. Do we see how directly this promise flies in the face of the present evidence, of any human logic?
The promise is grandiose. God takes Abram out into an unclouded night sky, not in Vancouver or Beijing or any city where light pollution dulls the night sky. Now Abram sees the expanse of the milky way. The LORD God says count them Abram – and Abram, of course, can’t. And then the LORD God has the audacity to say – “Well so shall your descendants be – greater in number than these” . . . Wow
5. But what do we, what can we make of this grandiose promise? We must see and hear the promise in the light of all the evidence that is to the contrary of the promise being fulfilled. Abram and Sarai are both old. Let me tell you they have been having what younger people today would call “unprotected” sex for decades – and nothing, nada, has been the result. They have been living with what they would call their ‘barrenness’ “forever”.
Abram could have said – may have even thought, ARE YOU NUTS LORD? Do you think I was born yesterday? It hasn’t been happening. We’ve had this promise for years and NADA.
亚伯兰可以选择说 - 也许会想，你疯了吗，上帝？你认为我是昨天出生的吗？一直没发生过。我们拥有这个承诺已经很多年了。
But somehow, amazingly, that isn’t Abram’s response this time. Here the text isn’t completely clear here as to who renders who as righteous. The Hebrew text says “And he believed the LORD and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. Whether or not the second he is the LORD reckoning Abram as righteous, that is a trusting relationship with God or whether Abram reckoned the LORD as being righteous, that is actually being God and therefore the ONE who can keep the promises that One has just made – is of secondary importance. What matters is that Abram somehow is enabled to trust that God is God! And that dear people is amazing since it flies in the face of at least some of what Abram is experiencing as an old man, who as many old men do, begin to seriously reckon with our mortality. Abram realizes deep within his being, that through his own power these promises that God is making cannot and will not be ever kept. But Abram also begins to trust that God somehow and, in some way, will keep these promises, bring them into reality...
The book of Genesis tells us that some 14 years later, Abram and Sarai are gifted with a son. They name him laughter, ISAAC, for a whole host of reasons.
6. Let me ask, what about us, you and me?? Are we able to trust God – the promise maker, the self-proclaimed PROMISE KEEPER?
In profound ways this is the question of our living and of our dying. Such trusting – I mean actually trusting God in how we live and move and have our being, is anything but easy...
Think about that. Wrestle with it in terms of your daily decisions. If you are young – how will you choose a vocation – what you want to do with your life. Is that decision all about how much money you will make, what others will think of you? If you are beginning relationships, how will you choose a life partner? Indeed what are your goals today whether you are 16 or 26, or 46 or 86? If you don’t have goals, well is that not part of following Jesus? Yes, where is God in all of this? Don’t you think that God wants to provide us with direction, inspiration, hope, courage?
想想看。在你的日常决策中想想。如果你还年轻 - 你将如何选择一个职业 - 你想在你的一生中做什么。这个决定跟挣多少钱，别人会怎么看你有关吗？如果你刚开始恋爱，你会如何选择生活的伴侣？不管你是16岁还是26岁，还是46岁或86岁，你今天的目标是什么？如果你没有目标，那不是跟随耶稣的一部分吗？是的，在这一切中上帝在哪里？难道你不认为上帝会给我们指引方向、灵感、希望和勇气吗？
Remember we don’t live in a vacuum. We live in ongoing relationships with the earth and all her creatures, including other human beings, other uniquely God breathed pieces of star dust who share so much with us.
Today, as we attempt to live our lives in the smoky haze that reminds of our interconnectedness with the earth and how we have so often abused her, as we examine and sometimes revel in or struggle the relationships we are blessed to be part of with other people, do we hear and see God’s promises not only to Abram and Sarai but also to us?
Again and again these words from God echo throughout history – Do not be afraid. I am with you. I am your sword and shield. I am sending you a COMFORTER.
7. Dear people – there are promises all around us. Some of them, maybe even many of them aren’t worth a puff of dust in a windstorm. But there are those promises which when made by the ONE who is trustworthy that we are called to live our lives from and in.
亲爱的人们 - 我们周围全是承诺。有些承诺，也许甚至很多承诺都不值在暴风雨中的一扫风尘。但有些承诺，从那个可信赖的人许下来的，就是召唤我们去过生活。
How can we know that one is trustworthy? Examine their actions. Do they match their words – I love you! I am with you? For sure there are questions. They are valid.
我们如何知道一个人是值得信赖的？检查他们的行为。他的行为和说的话是否相符 - 我爱你！我和你在一起？当然还有问题。它们的存在是有愿意的。
8. This One who makes Abram and Sarai promises follows through on those promises not only to them but to and for all people. There are descendants. There is a land. And they are a blessing to all.
The climax of this follow through is God taking on our vulnerable human flesh, suffering, dying and being raised to show us not only that Abram and Sarai’s barrenness doesn’t have the final word, – but here it is – that the significant power of death and evil experience definitive limits in the very face of the powerful and loving God, who ultimately overcomes death and evil.
9. I deeply realize that we live with all kinds of struggles – from life sucking illnesses that may well claim our lives and the lives of those we love here and now, to systemic racism that has held countless millions down, too often when we haven’t even been aware of our privilege and actions that have hurt others, to the crushing disappointments of many human relationships, to the results of our collective selfishness and grabbing after more. These struggles and wrongs often tempt us to trust only what we can see, feel and touch ourselves or maybe even nothing or no one at all.
10. But Abram and Sarai imperfectly flesh out for us, that God has wondrous plans for God’s wondrous creation. That plan, that dream often involves pain, and suffering but God is moving us, any and all who will be moved to embrace this promise, new life and ongoing hope.
Look up and see the stars even if you have to go outside of the city. Or as the Psalmist implores us, “Be still and know that God is God!” Look to the cross and see there the One who loves us beyond anything we could ever deserve or on our own hope for. There is God our life and our hope – the PROMISE KEEPER.
O Lord we believe help our unbelief. For Christ’s sake, Amen.
Genesis 2: 4a-7, 15-17, 3:1-8 We Are All Interconnected…how do we live out of this reality?
创世纪2:4a-7，15-17，3:1-8 我们都是相互联系的… 我们如何在这个现实里生活？
Kids’ Message: Runaway Bunny
These ancient words alive among us this morning from Genesis, words first put together from three different sources (Jahwist, Elohist and Priestly editors) six centuries before the birth of Christ when God’s beloved people were living in exile in Babylon, to offer them hope that God hadn’t abandoned them; they would one day return home. As I talk with many of you who remain at home under the social restrictions of the coronavirus, you are physically well, a bit bored since you cannot get out and about as you once did. But your kids bring your groceries and you keep in touch with them by phone or computer. Others of you returned to work or some hybrid form of it several months ago and have adapted to restrictions. Many of you are stressed as your kids return to school, some having chosen distance learning to keep your kids safe at home. Life with the coronavirus is like living in exile, where nothing is familiar anymore and things change daily to keep everyone safe. We all wonder when will things go back to normal? Many of you have said you’d welcome a chance to come worship, pastor, ‘when things are normal.’ Likely we will never go back to the way things were…this is a chance for us to trust God to help us reorient to a new way of being together.
I don’t know about you, but I find people starved for meaningful human interaction. We are all a lot like Adam, no surprise, right…that’s the point of this narrative…to find our common ground with our human ancestors. ‘Adam…the human being made from the dust of the ground, into whose nostrils God blew the breath of life. God discovered with Adam that it wasn’t good for human beings to be alone. Forming all the animals, bringing them to the earth creature, the dirt man, and naming the animals wasn’t enough. Adam needed a helper…not a subordinate, but someone who could help him work, to tend to the land, to serve the ground. This is the fundamental relationship between ‘Adam and ‘adamah, the earth creature and the earth. We are all called to be groundskeepers.
This week we heard the mayor of Ucluelet crying out to those visiting their beaches to be groundskeepers rather than trashing the place. As young people desperately seek human connection, gathering at illegal campsites overnight, even human feces have been found at some of the party spots along the ocean. We are all called to be groundskeepers.
Last weekend, on our intergenerational fishing outing on the Harrison River, I met a family out walking their new three-month-old German shepherd pup…Mom, Dad and seven-year-old son were spending the day with their grandmother. As I stopped to visit, asking about their pup, they said friends told them not to get a puppy because the dog training classes were booked for months. But Dad said they got a dog for their sanity as a family…gives their son a chance to take care of another living creature and they are all amused by the pup’s playfulness. Mom is clearly frustrated by the pup’s chewing and biting habits. But we talked openly about how animals offer companionship and admitted we all struggle with mental wellness these days. But the grandmother said, “I’m so glad they came to visit because I was thinking about ending it all.” She was so candid, willing to admit how much she needs human interaction. Though she has a little dog, it just wasn’t enough. She needed their visit.
We human beings are not fundamentally evil. We are all created good along with all of creation, a profound, inherent goodness. But we resist our creatureliness. Making mistakes is not sin; sin is being anything other than who we are as beloved of God, as creatures who are finite, limited and yet made in the image of God. We are made in God’s likeness, but we are not God…nor are we called to become God. We are called to become fully human, tending the earth, all living things, and one another. Soren Kierkegaard, Christian philosopher from the 19th century, said when we encounter God and realize, wow, that’s not me. We stand in awe. Then we have to decide will we take the leap of faith, reveling in the goodness of our created being or will we fight it.
Life is complex and full of mystery, Genesis seems to say, as we are made to be in relationship. Yet, we struggle to experience connection. We hide in our vulnerability…from God and one another. Yet, we need to be real, vulnerable with one another and with God. Genesis tells the same story that I heard last weekend talking with the family who adopted a puppy. ‘Adam, the earth creature, made from ‘adamah, the dust of the cosmos…is put in the garden to till and keep it. Unlike Genesis 1, Adam is not called to have dominion over the earth and its creatures but to serve it, to honor the fundamental relationship between Adam and adamah. But the animals are not enough for Adam; the earth creature needs something more. We don’t know if Adam is a homo-erectus or Neanderthal or homo-sapiens because Genesis is not a scientific log of human evolution. Genesis was written to address people living in exile, people who were hoping to find their way back home, not to inform scientific inquiry. Genesis asks different questions than science…not how we came to be living on this earth but why. Genesis asks why do human beings struggle to get along with one another, with creation, and with the Creator? How do we find peace, how do we find meaningful connection with the Holy One, the source of life, the One who is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega? And why do we get stuck trying to be what we are not, trying to live as anything other than beloved creatures at home with all living things?
One of the things we’ve been doing during the pandemic is going through stuff in order to simplify our life, donating to the Thrift store. I finally went through a bag of photos that I have vacuumed around for two years (!) …photos of my childhood, after my parents downsized into a condo. I found a photo of my brother and I that I’d never seen before…as I looked at myself in Grade 4 or 5, it was like I was seeing myself for the first time, before I started to wonder what other people thought of me, before I compared myself to others, before I was conscious of myself as the nerdy, clarinet-playing, uncoordinated, skinny, never dressed like the cool kids. That was me as a teenager.
Along the twists and turns of life, we human beings wander away from our belovedness, as creatures, formed in the image of God. Whether this happens as we grow up, or when we encounter deep loss that doesn’t make sense. We hear this human dilemma play out between Adam, Eve, and the serpent. From the mouth of the serpent we hear questions we ask ourselves as we move through life: Can God really be trusted? When a friend takes their own life and we wonder why? How did we miss the signs of desperation? Why didn’t we call? When our friends post stuff on Instagram that tell us we are ugly or stupid or not cool, whom do we trust: God who says we’re beautiful, good and loved? Or our friends?
From the mouth of the serpent, who was craftier than any other wild animal, we hear: Did God say you shall not eat from any tree in the garden?” The serpent plants a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind, will God really provide all I truly need? With this suspicion now taking root, the woman, Eve, whose name means mother of all the living, moves through a series of prohibitions…you shall not eat or even touch it or you will die…God said we may eat from all the trees except this one. Eating the forbidden fruit is a metaphorical way of pointing to how we all wander away from our beloved creatureliness, we get snagged by ways of thinking about ourselves, others and God that pull us down in a vicious current. And we cannot help ourselves; we get swept away from God, pulled downstream and don’t know the way home.
Our greatest challenge as human beings is not disobedience so much as getting swept away from God as we live our life, from seeing and knowing ourselves from God’s point of view, as beloved creatures. As Eve eats the fruit and shares a bite with Adam, they don’t die physically, but they suffer death…death of a trust relationship with God the Source of Life, the One in whom we live, move and have our being, the One whose love is revealed fully on the cross, giving for the life of the world. As they eat, their eyes were opened, and they realize they have been naked all along. They were conscious of themselves in a new way. They knew they were vulnerable, exposed. We are all born into this reality…estranged.
作为人类，我们最大的挑战，与其说是不顺服，不如说是在我们生活的过程中远离上帝，没有从上帝的角度，作为被爱的生物，看待和认识我们自己。当夏娃吃着果子，和亚当分享时，他们并没有在肉体上死去，而是在遭受死亡……与上帝的信任关系的死亡，上帝是生命的源泉，我们在其中，生活， 行为， 拥有一切，他的爱在十字架上被完全揭示，为世界的生命奉献。当他们吃的时候，他们的眼睛睁开了，他们意识到他们一直是赤裸的。他们以一种新的方式认识自己。他们知道自己很脆弱，暴露于危险之中。我们都出生在这个现实中…彼此疏远了。
Now, though they hear God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, they hide from God, among the trees. Genesis tells us about ourselves as human beings when relationships break down, we tend to hide rather than make amends. We run away rather than face one another in our nakedness. We are born into this estrangement from God…we run away, turn away from God. We resist being God’s good creation.
But Jesus doesn’t fight his estrangement…he enters into it, deep into the limitations of being human, born as a helpless baby, God takes human form. Becoming one of us in order to be with and for us in all things, not looking down on us from on high, but walking with us in our pain and suffering. Jesus in the garden on the night of his betrayal didn’t fight his creatureliness, he cried out finally surrendering ‘not my will but yours be done.’ From the cross in his creatureliness saying ‘my God, my God, where are you? I am all alone. Have you forgotten to be gracious to me?’ And finally, ‘into your hands I commit my spirit,’ taking his last breath.
Throughout our lives we may feel as though we are taking our last breath as we face loss and heartache. In these times God comes to breathe new life into us. To raise us up. To reconnect us with all living things. We are all interconnected. The Genesis narrative points to the web of interconnection…that we all are dependent upon one another and upon a source of life beyond ourselves, revealed as the one who walks with us in the evening breeze…. searching for us whenever we hide.
God searches for us not to punish us or give us a time out or to teach us a lesson, but to love us more, so that we finally cannot resist any longer. When the earth creatures eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they do not die physically. Their eyes are opened, and they become aware of their creatureliness. They become conscious of themselves apart from the Creator. We need not be afraid of our own nakedness, of being creatures. The One who knows all about us, loved us anyways. Why fight it?
Love will always win.
From the cross, we are offered a love that will endure through all things, promising a new normal, a new way of seeing ourselves as beloved creatures, make in the image of God. Christ offers total acceptance…Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.
Matthew 18: 15-20, Romans 13:8-14 Sept 6, 2020 TLC
Kids Message: There are many things I wonder about? How about you? This week because I replaced a defective battery on our new car, I wondered how do cars move? When your mom, dad, grandparent turns the key in the ignition, how exactly does that start the car? Ken Wu, Jeremy and Nathan’s Dad and Larry McBride can answer this question…they are both mechanics…Ken is still working, and Larry is retired. Ask them next time you see them.
孩子们的信息：有很多事情我很好奇？你呢？这周因为我给我的新车换了电池，我想知道汽车是怎么运动的？当你的妈妈、爸爸、爷爷奶奶在开汽车时，汽车到底是怎么发动的呢？Ken Wu，Jeremy和Nathan的爸爸和Larry McBride可以回答这个问题…他们都是机械师…Ken还在工作，而Larry已经退休了。下次见到他们的时候可以问问他们。
Do you ever wonder why we do certain things in church? …like lighting candles? When human beings, tens of thousands of years ago, first discovered how to make fire, it changed everything…they could stay warm in winter, be protected from wild animals at night, and most of all cook their food. This allowed them to digest food more easily, gave them more energy, helped them change, evolve, learn and grow. So, when we light candles (light one) we remember the power of fire, a living flame, to keep us alive…and we remember Jesus says “I am the light of the world. You are the light of the world…a living flame. We light candles to remember that Jesus, risen from death, is with, among us, when even two or three people gather together. The light of God’s love is alive in each of you….no matter how old you are…no matter how you are feeling…tired, sad, joyful, worried, angry, or scared. So today, I invite you find someone to be the acolyte for your family each week we gather for worship on-line…someone who finds and lights a candle as worship begins. This is your job to remind us Jesus is the light of the world. We are the light of the world. Let’s pray and sing…
Context for gospel reading…. Jesus’s disciples had just asked him who is the greatest in God’s eyes. Jesus called a child whom he put among them…truly I tell you unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…if your hand or foot causes you to stumble cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame …if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away…take care of the little ones…if a shepherd has hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, the shepherd leaves the 99 and goes in search of the one…to find it, rejoice over it and carry it home to join the 99.
It is hard to get along with each other. We see this in our own homes where underlying tension festers under the stress of pandemic restrictions, marriages are strained, our fuses are short, we are easily sparked to anger. And in the coming weeks, many families are stressed with the return to in-class learning and wonder how we will contain the potential virus transmission at school. Others are scrambling to find a way to homeschool their kids.
We see it is hard to get along with each other on social media, as newsfeeds fuel the fires of conflict between groups of people…this week I heard a woman say she had to delete the Facebook app on her phone because she was getting consumed by on-line arguments. We see it is hard to get along on the streets of our cities…in Toronto with a drive by shooting this week at a bakery, and in Kenosha, Wisconsin where Jacob Blake was shot and paralyzed by police, and in Portland where Black Lives Matter protesters clashed violently with Trump supporters, resulting in more loss of life.
We know perhaps as never before that where two or more are gathered, conflict can erupt. Those of us trying to follow the way of Christ are not immune to the struggles of getting along. We know that the church, where each one of us are a mixed bag, both saint and sinner, can also be a place of tension, parking lot discussions fuel the fires of disagreement…we tend to hide our negative feelings, stuff our hurts, and hold unrealistic expectations of one another as church-goers. More often than not, in churches, as in any social gathering, people talk more about one another than with each another. When a churchgoer offends, many expect them to live fully into I Corinthians 13, expressing a love that is patient, kind, never jealous, boastful or rude. But the closer we are, the more we share our lives, the more transparency, the more chance we have to offend one another. These days, as we rely on digital and voice communication, we are more likely to cause offense and be unaware of it…we cannot see one another’s faces or body language, which is 80% of communication.
Given all that is happening in the world, in our lives, we hear the words written to the Christ followers in Rome and wonder how can we live into this? Owe no one anything, except to love one another. In other words, we owe one another everything because love is a tall order. On the streets of our cities, on social media, in our homes, owe no one anything, except to love one another. As my daughter and I leave the house these days, we wear masks in every public space, as one tangible way to owe no one anything, except to love them. Even though many people are not wearing masks, not keeping 6.5 feet from one another, we will continue to wear masks. With 64 cases of COVID in Delta, are we not all called to wear masks?
All the commands, the teachings of God embedded in scripture can be summed up: Love your neighbour as yourself. I was shocked to hear that the Delta schools are not requiring students to wear masks in classrooms…but only in the hallways. But I am grateful that Superstore just made masks mandatory after an employee tested positive a week ago. Love your neighbour as yourself.
Jesus’ teachings on our relationships with one another include a set of things that seem impossible: You’ve heard it was said of those in ancient times, “you shall not murder” and “whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment. If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. Do not resist an evildoer. Love your enemies. Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. We owe no one anything, except to love.
Living together with our fellow human beings is not easy. Listening to one another is not easy. Loving one another in the way Jesus teaches is impossible on our own effort, without the Spirit dwelling in us.
Whenever we consider the words of scripture, we need to consider what’s happening before and after those words. It helps us discover both law and gospel, Law: words that hold us to account and gospel: words that set us free to trust God and love our neighbours. Jesus’ words about repairing relationships are spoken in the context where he takes a child, whom he puts among them, saying, ‘unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’. By welcoming a child, Jesus points not to a kind of innocence that we associate with kids today, but rather to the child’s low social and economic status. People in the ancient world gained privilege over others through social status and financial means…same as it is today. In our cities, who has little social and economic power? The Black Lives Matter movement is a response to social and economic injustices faced by black communities in the US and Canada. In first century culture, children lived at the bottom of the status ladder.
The three steps to repairing wrongs don’t take into account these kind of power differences between people. For a woman to approach a man who has caused her harm, when they are alone, could become life threatening. For a child to approach an adult who has abused them, when they are alone, could cause more harm to the child. For a trans-gendered person to approach a cisgender person who has offended them, when they are alone, could put them at great risk. And what about cultural differences where some cultures value saving face above all else, any kind of direct approach to resolving conflict would not be effective. Where saving face is an important cultural value, conflict is addressed indirectly, through communal, public dialog that can easily be missed by other cultures that value speaking directly and are not afraid of expressing emotion.
Whenever one person or group has more power than another, this approach to resolving conflict could be problematic. Israel Kamudzandu, Associate Professor of New Testament studies at St Paul School of Theology in Missouri says ‘If this love is going to be realized in countries where there is a history of colonization….where one nation has endured experiences at the hands of more powerful nations, (such as indigenous peoples and settlers in Canada, African Americans and colonial slave masters the U.S)…then the once colonizer and the once colonized must have a clear and transformed mind to be able to face the pain imposed on each other.’ Finding peace with one another starts with facing the pain, the historical transfer of pain down through the generations.
The intent of this three-step process of repairing wrongs is that it leads to confession and forgiveness, setting both parties free. Listening is hard…and its part of every step-in repairing wrongs. I don’t know about you, but when someone points out a fault, many of us become defensive. We don’t want to listen maybe because we don’t trust it could lead to forgiveness, to a new level of self-awareness, of understanding one another, to healing.
Professor Kamudzandu asks: “How do we see ourselves in each other’s face? Both the once colonizer and the once colonized owe each other a different love that leads to genuine relationships. How do we humanize one another?” I believe this all starts with honest conversation that leads to self-awareness, to seeing how what we say, how we say it, what we do impacts others. Each Monday night, a book group welcoming all voices, is reading Robin Diangelo’s book…White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism…hosted on-line each Monday night welcomes a diverse group of people having conversation about how we recognize and dismantle the ideas that, down through the generations, those with lighter skin have been given higher social status than those with darker skin. It’s led to a kind of conditioning that impacts all human relationships.
In the ND Reporter’s quiz about Labour Day, I was reminded that physics defines work as the process of energy transfer to move an object. What moves us to see ourselves in another’s face? It can start with hearing their stories. Love activates love in others…In the last couple of months, as Bea waited in hospital for a placement at a care home, I kept in touch with her husband Les. Last week, Les called to share their backyard harvest so that the raccoons wouldn’t devour it. Les couldn’t bear to see their fruit trees go to waste as he talked about how for so many years, he and Bea would harvest the apples to make applesauce to sell at the annual church bake sale. When the pears would ripen, Les and Bea used cut up a pear each morning for breakfast harvested from the tree in their backyard. So, at Les’ insistence, we went over to harvest the apples and share them with another family who made applesauce. And we’ve distributed the ripening pears to several families who are now eating them for breakfast. Love activates love in others.
As Bea was placed at a care home a week ago, Les, upon hearing of her transfer that morning, drove to the care home and waited for his beloved wife to arrive. Having been restricted from hospital visits for two months, having missed a chance to celebrate their 64th anniversary on August 10, Les hoped to surprise Bea, before she went into a 14-day quarantine. All Les wanted was a few face-to-face moments where he could tell Bea he loved her and planned to see her soon. After waiting five hours in front of Careplace Fleetwood, Les finally called the nurse’s station at the hospital and found out Bea’s transfer was delayed…wouldn’t happen until later that evening or next morning. Love activates love; through Les and Bea, this week among all you listening.
Living together is not easy, but Jesus says: where two or more are gathered, I am there among you. Love is what we were made for and love is who we are at the core. When we live outside of love, we are not living from our true identity. Love is a little tiny flame (hold candle) of the God revealed as Creator, Savior, Spirit, three in one, love itself, God’s very self, living within us…enfolded in a reality we cannot always perceive.
A prayer as I put on my mask: Creator, as I prepare to go into the world, help me to see the sacrament in the wearing of this cloth - let it be "an outward sign of an inward grace" - a tangible and visible way of living love for my neighbours, as I love myself. Christ, since my lips will be covered, uncover my heart, that people would see my smile in the crinkles around my eyes. Since my voice may be muffled, help me to speak clearly, not only with my words, but with my actions. Holy Spirit, As the elastic touches my ears, remind me to listen carefully - and full of care - to all those I meet. May this simple piece of cloth be shield and banner, and each breath that it holds, be filled with your love. In your Name and in that love, I pray. May it be so. May it be so. (Edit: All of the prayers I post here can be shared under a Creative Commons – Attribution Rev Richard Bott)
我戴上口罩祈祷：造物主，当我准备进入这个世界时，帮助我看到圣礼，穿着这件衣服-，让它成为“内在的恩典的外在迹象”-一种有形和可见的生活方式，去爱我的邻居，像爱自己一样。上帝啊，既然我的嘴唇会被遮住，揭开我的心扉，人们会从我眼睛周围的皱纹中看到我的微笑。因为我的声音可能会很低沉，所以请帮助我说清楚，不仅要用我的语言，而且要用我的行动。圣灵，当橡皮筋碰到我的耳朵时，提醒我要仔细地去听，并且要充满关心地倾听我遇到的所有人。愿这一块简单的布成为我的盾牌横幅，每一个呼吸，充满你的爱。 以你的名义和那份爱，我祈祷。愿它是如此。（编辑：我在这里发布所有的祈祷都可以分享在一个创作共享- 引自理查德博特牧师）
Exodus 3:1-15, Matthew 16:21-28, Romans 12:9-21 August 30, 2020 TLC
These days I’ve been thinking a lot about feet…my feet in particular, since as some of you know, I’ve been rehabilitating a sprained ankle, the left one, since January…early this summer I just got to the point of biking long distances without pain and swelling. Well, the end of July, as I was walking out of the bank, putting my wallet back into my backpack, I stumbled when I missed a step down and sprained my other ankle. So, I just met with physio this week to check in on how I stretch and strengthen the ligaments, allowing them a couple more weeks to heal.
Our feet connect us to the ground, to the elements which form the molecular structure of our bodies, reminding us we are human. Our feet move us forward, allow our bodies to be set in motion, to respond when threatened, to stay put in order to listen, to walk 6.5 feet around our neighbour in the grocery store and wear a mask if we cannot maintain distance. In Matthew’s gospel today, we hear about Peter, whom Jesus has just named the Rock, as we heard last week, a firm place to stand. The Rock upon whom Jesus promises to build his church, the ecclesia, which means the called-out ones…you are a called out one…called out of your house in the midst of a pandemic with new restrictions, called out of ways of being that would infect your neighbours.
Now Jesus begins to describe how he must suffer and be killed, on the third day be raised. Jesus knew he must move this way. God’s way, losing your life to find it. But Peter didn’t get it. When Jesus asked, ‘who do you say that I am?’, Peter answered: “you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” But Peter didn’t understand where the feet of the Messiah were meant to walk. The via dolorosa, the way of suffering, didn’t make sense. In Peter’s way of thinking…Messiah’s don’t suffer and die, they raise up an army and fight off the enemy, setting people free through violent confrontation. However, Jesus says there is no other way to find life except through the cross: rejection, suffering and death, not over it, not around it, not under it, but through it, one foot in front of the other.
So, Peter rebukes Jesus for saying that he must walk the way of suffering that leads to death…this must never happen to you! But Jesus turns to him and says “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me…” You are preventing me from moving forward, from going where I need to go. Peter has quickly moved from being praised by Jesus as the rock on whom he will build his church to be a stumbling block. Something you trip over, that gets in the way, prevents you from becoming who you’re called to become.
Peter is both the rock and a stumbling block. We Lutherans know what this is about…we are realistic about our sinful condition…we know we are simultaneously saints and sinners our whole lives, 100% made right with God by grace and 100% sinners…we are both rocks and stumbling blocks. We stumble when we think too highly of ourselves, too much of ourselves, when we are complicit with a system that grants privilege to some but not all. We also stumble when we fall into self-deprecation, when we think we will never be good enough. Theology professor Cynthia Rygby calls this the sin of the Witch of the West…you know the scene from the Wizard of Oz, those of you older than 50 (look it up online if you who’ve never seen the Wizard of Oz) when the witch of the west says, “I’m melting” as she disappears under her black hat. This is the way some of us stumble away from following Jesus…we melt when challenged, or faced with an opportunity, instead of standing tall as beloved of God. Sin looks different on different people on different days.
When we decided to travel to Ucluelet for a three-day weekend recently, I insisted on bringing our 50 lb inflatable double kayak, even though with a sprained ankle there was no way I could launch it. I refused to live within the limitation of having a sprained ankle. I had envisioned vacation kayaking around Ucluelet bay and couldn’t let go of the idea. Instead, I stumbled around, wishing I could kayak and missed a chance to be creative. If I had embraced my limitations, I may have discovered the short hike near our Airbnb, leading to breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean, where I could sit and paint.
Sin is being anything other than who we are as beloved of God, human beings who are finite, who are intimately connected with all living things. When we fight against the limits of our creatureliness or fail to stand up for those who are beloved of God, we sin.
Before the pandemic, Sunday morning was the most segregated hour in North America; now around the world we are a church without walls. What might this mean for how we do church in the future? Our brother in Christ, Lutheran Pastor Lenny Duncan, grew up invisible, where he was not seen by his teachers, by his parents, his neighbours in the white community as fully human. He shares his story, his love for the church, and his hope for who the church can become, in his book: Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black preacher to the whitest church in North America. We all know racism is a sin. But as Lenny says, changing “the system that keeps racist structures in place is where our real work will need to begin. We need to name evil for what it is, and we won’t overcome it until we do.” Jesus names evil when he says to Peter, get behind me…you are a stumbling block. How might we be a stumbling block to Jesus, preventing all people from finding a place as followers of Christ, as beloved of God?
Mae Sylvester, who lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, shared this story that opened her soul in her TED talk on The Sense of Being. Early one Sunday morning, Mae was walking the deserted streets of downtown Saint Paul and she had just turned a corner to head home, when she noticed a young man up ahead, his trousers low, his dark hooded sweatshirt pulled up. Her immediate impulse was to cross the street and avoid him. But earlier that morning, she’d been reading Deepak Chopra who says, ‘we are all one.’ So, she had a little back and forth with herself, and giving the nod to Deepak, she walked on without crossing the street. She came up beside the man as he had observed a red light, though there wasn’t any traffic on the street. Mae says, “As soon as I came to stand beside him, the hooded head turned to face me head on. And it revealed a young, dark skinned face, lit with the brightest, most penetrating smile I will ever receive. He said, “Hi.” This young man knew that I had debated with myself and decided against my fears. Some generosity in him enabled him to forgive me and greet me. I said, “Hi” returning his generosity. In that moment, Mae says, ‘the young man and I were one. I still carry his generosity with me today.’
居住在明尼苏达州圣保罗市的梅西尔维斯特（Mae Sylvester）在TED关于存在感的演讲中分享了让她敞开心扉的故事。一个星期天的清晨，梅正走在圣保罗市中心荒无人烟的街道上，她刚拐个弯准备回家，这时她注意到前面有一个年轻人，他的裤子很低，黑色的连帽运动衫也拉了起来。她的第一时反应是过马路避开他。但那天早上早些时候，她在读迪帕克乔普拉（Deepak Chopra）说的“我们是一个整体”。所以，她自已来回走了一点，向迪帕克点头，她没有过马路而选择继续往前走。她走到那个男人身边，因为他看到红灯了，尽管街上没有任何车。梅说：“当我站到他旁边时，戴着兜帽的头就转过来面对我。它露出了一张年轻的、皮肤黝黑的脸，脸上闪耀着我所能得到的最灿烂、最具穿透力的微笑。他说：“嗨。”这个年轻人知道我和自己辩论过，决定克服我的恐惧。他身上的慷慨使他能够原谅我并向我问好。我说了声“嗨”回报他的慷慨。在那一刻，梅说，“那个年轻人和我是一体的。我今天还带着他的慷慨”
Grace is free. But loving our neighbour is costly. Addressing ways, the church discriminates may cost our very lives and the church as we know it, but Jesus says when we lose our lives, we will find them. It involves moving into a place of discomfort for the sake of love, trusting the God of the universe is with us, that immersed in the waters of our baptism, we are called to walk wet into the world, take risks for the sake of love, each day, in simple acts like Mae walking next to the young man on the street, to receive his greeting. We know that Jesus lost his life, pouring it out for love of the world but Christ is no longer dead. Because he lives, among us in our church without walls, in the faces of our neighbours, we know we are not alone.
Get behind me; Jesus names evil for what it is, a mindset trying to prevent Jesus from being the One who moves through suffering to bring life, the One who sets the captives free. Peter is called to change his position…to get behind Jesus, to walk the way Jesus is walking rather than against him. The word we translate as “get behind me” is the same Greek word we translate as “follow me.” So, Jesus is calling Peter to follow, to change his direction. Jesus doesn’t give up on Peter, when he stumbles, Jesus reroutes him.
We as a church have been rerouted by the pandemic. Which path will we follow in the future? Jesus says any who want to become my followers let them deny themselves. What does it mean to deny yourself? Is it as simple as denying some of your cravings, like saying “no” to the Tim Horton’s drive through? Some of us may think denying ourselves means that we negate ourselves…women who cry out, “I’m melting.” Caring for their families while neglecting their own mental health. Then they are unable to love anyone.
Peter refuses to let Jesus be who he’s called to be. Denying ourselves is about finding the path that leads to life. Could it be we are called to deny what is comfortable, familiar, in order to see the radical in-breaking of Christ, as Mae denied herself, moved through her fear, claimed the truth that ‘we are all one’ on her early morning walk in order to see Christ in the face of her neighbour. What might it mean for the church today to dismantle what we are familiar with in order to find a new path, a new way for all people to follow as one beloved community?
August 23, 2020 TLC Power of Peaceful Resistance
Exodus 1:8-2:10, Matthew 16:13-20
Welcome: If someone were to come up to you and ask, “Who do you say that I am?” what would you say? Jesus is asking that question of us today, just as he asked his followers centuries ago… how we respond can make all the difference…for our lives and for the life of the world.
Kids’ Message: How do you know if something is alive?
Starts by observing it, watching it…take a banana slug…watching it slowly move across a hiking trail…garter snake…slithering quickly. Spider on a web…all curled up waiting for an insect to get caught in its web…not sure until you tap the web…and the spider springs into action. The daisies in our front lawn turning brown and shriveling…signs they are dying…the apples on Starheim’s tree…still connected by a stem or fallen on the ground…
How do you know if something is alive?
IT: Moves, breathes, eats, poops, smells, grows
Are you alive? How do you know?
Is Jesus alive? How do we know?
…story of Naomi on a beach in Bozeman, MT…two 7-8-year olds came up to her and asked where she was from. She said her mom was from China, her Dad was from Bozeman…these 7-8-year olds told six-year-old Naomi that China was a bad country…and that her Mom brought the coronavirus to Bozeman! What would you say to Naomi if you were her mom or dad, sister or brother? When any one of us has the power to say NO to hatred, evil, racism…to say YES to love, mercy, peace we know Jesus is alive。
Jesus asks his disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ If Jesus were to ask you, how might you respond? What difference does it make how we respond? How does the One in whom we trust, or whom we fail to trust, shape our life? Some say it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. …hummmm…I would venture that whom we trust makes all the difference as we move through our lives. Do we trust in someone bigger than ourselves, than our loved ones, than our political leaders? Is this one in whom we trust out to get us? Or does God actually care about us? about our neighbors, about all living things?
As those who are trying, I emphasize trying…because none of us does this perfectly, nor is that the goal. As we try to follow, the goal is to become more fully human and let God be God, who fills us with a love deeper than we can imagine. As we try to follow the way of Christ in the world, a world in desperate need, we affirm that God is with and for us, not against us, that God is with and for our neighbors, with and for every living thing. This is a bold claim. If it is indeed true, this changes everything. It shapes a life lived for something greater than our own well-being. As those trying to follow Christ, those “on the way” to becoming fully human, we answer yes, God does care, enough to become one of us, to enter into the limitation of being human, to fully embrace being human to the point of suffering and death. How might this reality shape our lives and call us outside of ourselves?
Perhaps the One in whom we trust matters the most when we suffer or when those whom we love suffer …it shapes how we move through the suffering, who we become in the midst of it. As our hearts turn towards our brothers and sisters in Beirut, struggling to move on in the midst of human devastation, injuries impacting the rest of people’s lives, hunger crippling the entire region, we are moved to respond. Trinity Lutheran Church Women have responded with funds raised from the 2019 bake sale offering a $250 gift, which will be matched by the Canadian government. We all trust the TLCW to use these funds to help those who need it the most, as they listen for the Spirit’s lead. They set an example for all who may have the capacity to give…
也许当我们受苦或我们所爱的人受苦时，我们所信任的那个人会变的最重要……它影响我们如何在苦难中前进，在苦难中塑造我们。当我们的心转向我们在贝鲁特的兄弟姐妹们，他们正处在人对类毁灭性的灾难之中、伤害会伴随他们后半生，整个地娶陷于饥饿，他们在挣扎中前行，我们感动地作出反应。Trinity Lutheran 教会的妇女们以2019年烘焙义卖筹集的资金作为回应，捐助了 $250，加拿大政府将会给出匹配的捐助。我们都相信TLCW会利用这些资金来帮助那些最需要帮助的人，因为他们在聆听圣灵的指引。她们为所有有能力去付出的人树立了榜样…
This past week, my pastor’s e-mail was used in an iTunes scam, with an invitation for a favor. Those who responded were asked to purchase iTunes gift cards for women in cancer treatment. What is infuriating is how the scammers take advantage of the trust relationship between pastors and the people whom they lead…this same scam went through the email of several key leaders in the United Church of Canada…our own community. The scammers are counting on a compassionate response from those of us trying to follow the way of Christ in the world. Financial generosity in the face of human suffering is one way we express compassion; those who walk with Christ are willing to sacrifice for those who suffer…we receive this power from Christ’s love poured out on the cross. Jesus the Christ knows our deepest sorrow, meets us in the midst of it and walks with us. As we grieve the death of loved ones, the loss of life the way it used to be, Jesus the Christ meets us in the letting go, in letting God love us in this new place, so that we can embrace what is.
In her On Being podcast, Krista Tippett, aired a previously recorded interview with the late US Congressman John Lewis. In 1965, when he was in his 20’s, John led a peaceful protest march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, the capital of the state, seeking voting rights for Black Americans, who until this time, had been denied full humanity by being denied the right to vote. 600 people gathered to kneel in prayer at a church and then walk silently, two-by-two, through Selma. As they crossed the Edmund Pettus bridge the marchers were brutally beaten by police; John was nearly beaten to death. In fact, he thought he was dying. Recalling this with Krista, John talked about how at that time, he was drawn to learn about redemptive suffering from Ghandi, who protested against British rule in India through non-violence. John realized a power in redemptive suffering to bring about social change. Choosing to walk the way of the cross, in the face of hatred, violence and systemic racial injustice. Redemptive suffering involves peaceful acts of protest; in the 1960’s John led Black students would walk into a segregated restaurant in the southern United States and be greeted with “Sorry this place doesn’t serve you.” But they would sit down. They stayed as people spat on them, beat them, poured ketchup and mustard on them, without becoming violent in response. Nashville was the first city to collapse under the power of non-violent protest and desegregate.
克里斯塔蒂佩特（Krista Tippett）在她的播客节目中播出了此前录制的对前美国国会议员约翰刘易斯（John Lewis）的采访记录。1965年，20多岁的约翰领导了一场和平抗议，从阿拉巴马州的塞尔玛到蒙哥马利，为美国黑人争取投票权，在这之前，黑人一直被剥夺投票权， 因此他们的人性也被否定。600人聚集在一个教堂里跪下祈祷，然后两个两个的安静地走过塞尔玛。当他们穿过埃德蒙佩图斯 (Edmund Pettus)大桥时，这些抗议者遭到警察的残酷殴打；约翰差点被打死。事实上，他以为自己快死了。与克里斯塔一起回忆这段经历，约翰谈到当时他是如何被吸引去了解甘地的救赎痛苦的，甘地通过非暴力去抗议英国在印度的统治。约翰意识到了这种救赎苦难会带来社会变革的力量。面对仇恨、暴力和系统性的种族不公，选择走上十字架的道路。和平抗议也就是一种痛苦的救赎行为；在20世纪60年代，约翰领导的黑人学生会走进美国南部的一家种族隔离餐厅，他们会说“对不起，这个地方不为你服务”，但他们依然会坐下。当他们留下来时，人们会朝他们吐唾沫，殴打他们，把番茄酱和芥末倒在他们身上，但他们没有用暴力去反抗。纳什维尔（Nashville）是第一个在非暴力抗议和种族隔离政策下崩溃的城市。
John said to practice non-violence, when faced with an angry, aggressive or hateful person, you need to understand them as much a victim as yourself. One way to do this is to imagine them as a baby. If you can see this full-grown attacker as the child they once were, then you can love them…your enemy. It’s the hardest thing in the world to carry out, John says. Impossible without God’s help. To pursue justice non-violently, you cannot let violence win your heart. If you do, you’re surrendering to the dark force you’re trying to fight. Throughout his life, John prayed with his feet…he was willing to suffer in order to change the minds and hearts of the white community and leaders in America.
This is what Shiphrah and Puah did when the king of Egypt told them to kill the Hebrew boys at birth. They refused to follow the king’s order. They chose what John Lewis called redemptive suffering; in the face of violence they took the risk of saying “no.” Shiphrah and Puah’s Hebrew people had immigrated to Egypt 400 years before, when Joseph provided food for them in a nation-wide famine. And the Hebrews had thrived with the Egyptians until a new king rose to power, a king who saw the Hebrews as less than human, as a way to build cities with cheap human slave labor. The king grew suspicious of the Hebrews growing too numerous, afraid they might join his enemies, fight back and then flee. So the king set taskmasters over them. The Hebrews lived under the thumb of the Egyptians, an entire group of immigrant people who were considered less than human, enslaved in order to be used and controlled like cattle.
当埃及国王吩咐希弗拉 (Shiphrah)和普亚 (Puah) 杀死出生的希伯来男婴时，他们就是这样做的。他们拒绝服从国王的命令。他们选择了约翰刘易斯所说的救赎的痛苦；面对暴力的险境，他们冒着风险说“不”。400年前，当希普拉和普瓦的希伯来人移民到埃及时，正值全国范围的饥荒，约瑟为他们提供食物。希伯莱人与埃及人一同繁衍生息，直到一位新的君王掌权，他认为希伯来人低人一等，把他们看作是建造城市的廉价奴隶劳力。国王开始越来越怀疑希伯来人，害怕他们会加入敌人阵营，反击，然后逃跑。于是国王派督工去管理他们。希伯来人生活在埃及人的控制之下，希伯来人是一个移民群体，他们被视为低一等的人类，被奴役，像牛一样被使用和控制。
But the Hebrews continued to multiply, so the king ordered Shiphrah and Puah to kill the Hebrew boys at birth. Walking the way of the cross, these courageous women refused, in the first act of civil disobedience recorded in scripture. This infuriated the king, who then ordered all people to kill every Hebrew boy by throwing them into the Nile river. The king made murder the law of the land.
Today, our brothers and sisters in Lebanon have been living under such injustice, leading to unimaginable suffering after the explosion. And in North Korea, Kim Jung Un issued an unjust order this week to round up and kill all domestic pet dogs, saying they were a luxury that cannot be tolerated. They must become food. Across North America, families have adopted all the pets from the local shelters, as animals offer unconditional love in the midst of the pandemic. Ripping animals out of the homes of families is an act of cruelty in a time of global distress.
John Lewis told a story of raising chicks on his family farm in the southern US as a teen. He grew to love his flock of chickens; but his family relied on them as a source of food. So, when his parents served chicken for dinner, John protested by going on hunger strike. His first act of non-violent protest was at his family dinner table. As a teen, John began to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, and to recognize what needed to change in America. In his 20’s, John began to learn about how redemptive suffering affects not only ourselves but touches and changes those around us. “It opens us and those around us to compassion, a force beyond ourselves, a force of truth that is the basis of human conscience.” Redemptive suffering, walking the way of the cross, choosing non-violence in response to violence, as John says, “puts us and those around us in touch with our conscience…makes us feel compassion where we need to and guilt if we must.” (Krista Tippet Podcast on Being interview of John Lewis)
Shiphrah and Puah risked their lives to save the Hebrew boys; Moses was one of those boys. The mother of Moses and his sister are two more courageous women who conspire to sustain his life, hiding him for three months. Moses was born in a particular time and particular place so that he might set his people free from slavery, free to become fully human, free to trust God and love their neighbors. Without a circle of women surrounding and standing up for Moses, he wouldn’t have survived birth and infancy. We each have been born in a particular time and place in order to live into God’s dream for our family, our neighborhood, nation, and the universe. What do you see that needs to change in our community? In our world? Who else recognizes it? How might we work together?
Years ago, I took youth on Urban Immersion retreats in Minneapolis, MN. The young adults who led the retreat would ask at one point, “are you uncomfortable yet?” because they were sharing how a family ends up homeless, something outside of the experience of the youth on the retreat. They said they hoped to plant a seed of indignation in the hearts of the youth over the weekend, a seed that blossoms into action in the face of injustice and poverty so they say “this isn’t right. Something needs to be done to change this.” These days, with the end of government CERB checks, businesses closing their doors, many are struggling to make ends meet. How might we respond?
Jesus’ question to the disciples is general at first…. “what are people saying about me?” It’s easy to speak in third person…. oh, you’re a miracle-worker, a teacher with good morals, a crazy man, a prophet come back from the dead. But then Jesus moves in closer and asks the intimate question we whisper to those whom we love, “Who do you say that I AM?” Jesus doesn’t beat around the bush. He comes right out and says directly, where are you at in relationship with me?
Peter is quick to voice his opinion without pondering his response. You remember Peter from a couple weeks ago…. he’s the one who jumped out of the boat when Jesus comes walking on the stormy water. And after he jumps out, again without considering the wisdom or practicality of such a move, Peter notices the wind and waves, begins to sink and cries out for Jesus to save him. When Peter first met Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, he was the first to leave his fish nets and follow. So impulsive Peter says: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Messiah…the one sent from God to set the captives free, bring sight to the blind, to bring down the mighty and lift up the lowly.
If Jesus were to ask me today “Who do you say that I AM?” On some days, as we navigate this pandemic, I would say: “You are invisible; I cannot see, feel or sense your presence. I am all alone, and I wonder if God has forgotten me.” On other days, I would say “You are the One in whom we live and move and have our being. Apart from you, we can do nothing. With you all things are possible. Even walking in the shoes of those who live with racism and discrimination every day of their lives so that together we can change the world.” If Jesus were to whisper in your ear right now, “Who do you say that I AM?” how would you respond?
Pentecost 11a, August 16, 2020
“DOGS” AND GOD’S BOUNTIFUL MERCY
Matthew 15: (10-20) 21-28
马太福音 15: （10-20）21-28
Main thought – Trust in Jesus can spring up anywhere (Here the source is the profound love of a mother for her hurting daughter. This woman had been seen heretofore as somehow being outside the active, present love and mercy of God)
主要思想 - 对耶稣的信任可以在任何地方出现（这里的源头是一个母亲对她受伤的女儿的爱。这个女人以前一直被视为在上帝的积极、爱和怜悯之外）
Sometimes we limit the work of the Spirit of God, being convinced that trust in God (faith) can only rise up in people that we somehow view as “like us”. Then knowingly or unknowingly, we like the disciples, seek to be boundary keepers. As if we keep the love and mercy of God in Christ ‘boxed’ in. We (all of us) need to be freed from such propensities.
Another thought – how do we deal with our realities – when Jesus doesn’t answer our requests, our perceived needs as we had hoped?
另一个想法 - 我们如何处理我们的现实 - 当耶稣不回应我们的要求，我们所感知的需要，如我们所希望的？
O precious ones of God, grace to you and peace, from God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three in One. Amen.
Whenever we actually take the Bible seriously, we are encountered by realities that make us very uncomfortable. Have you ever noticed that? Listen to just some of Jesus’ words. He says, “Love your enemies!” “Pray, do good to those who persecute or harm you.” “You have heard it said, ‘do not kill!’ But I tell you if one has evil in his or her heart, he or she has already murdered.” And then there’s those words just before the text we heard read today, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” ... Wow!
These sayings of Jesus are very important. Here God shows us at least part of God’s intent for our lives. As we begin to glimpse that we necessarily see how far short we fall. We begin to know that we need help from beyond ourselves to be changed and changing. That’s what theologians call the law and the gospel – the oh so necessary new life that comes to us from God in Jesus the Christ. Thanks be to God for all of this! ...
There are also other times when the discomfort we experience as we hear Scripture arises from the way we see God or Jesus acting or speaking. So it is, in today’s Gospel. Did you, do you hear it?
We meet a woman. She’s actually a mom. Matthew tells us that this mom is ‘Canaanite’. In some ways his designation doesn’t make sense because by the time of Jesus there were simply no longer people who would have referred to themselves as being Canaanite. There were however Phoenicians living in the cities of Tyre and Sidon where Jesus and his disciples had just arrived. But no one living there then would have called themselves a Canaanite.
我们遇到一个女人。她其实是个母亲。马修告诉我们这个母亲是迦南人。在某些方面，他的命名是没有意义的，因为到了耶稣时代，已经没有人会把自己称为迦南人。然而，在推罗 (Tyre) 和西顿 (Sidon) 的城市里，有腓尼基人，这就是耶稣和门徒们刚到的地方。但在那时，住在那里的人不会称为自己是迦南人。
For Matthew’s Gospel to designate this mother in such a way, there must have been an important point to be made for his hearers and for us. This term, ‘Canaanite’ would have underlined that this woman came from a people who were somehow opposed to the people of Jesus’ background. Matthew is bluntly saying, this mother isn’t from the people of Israel. She is outside of them. She is different from those Jesus usually lived and moved and shared his being with.
But that’s not all we learn about this ‘Canaanite’ mother. We also learn that her daughter is not well, that her daughter is in serious trouble. Her daughter has a demon. This means then that this woman’s daughter has a life that is anything but normal. Her life is not her own – is out of control, may very well have been in serious danger.
So, this Canaanite mother is very worried for her daughter’s well being. So it is that she comes crying to Jesus. Crying may not even be close to the right word. The Greek word employed here actually means shrieking loudly, like a raven. Are we listening to her words shrieked to Jesus? “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David!” She is pleading desperately with hope that Jesus will help her daughter.
The disciples, Jesus’ closest followers, are not impressed with her. Who is she, to even approach our Jesus? After all, even women of Israel were to remain at least 2 arm lengths from men they didn’t know. Talk about social distancing. And this “woman” isn’t even one of them. And she is so DARN LOUD!
So, the disciples implore Jesus. SEND ... HER ... AWAY. Get rid of her. She’s bothering us. Let’s move on.
As we listen in to this encounter between the desperate Canaanite mother, and Jesus and his disciples, it’s like there are 2 competing riffs. The first is a solo voice, hitting strong, loud notes. That voice arises from the woman’s desperate love for her daughter. Her voice is piercing but oh, so true. Her notes hauntingly plead, “HAVE MERCY ON ME, LORD, SON OF DAVID!”
But then there is also another chorus, dismissive of her, loud, multi voiced, repeating again and again, SEND HER AWAY, SEND HER AWAY, SEND HER AWAY, SHE IS NOT ONE OF US, SHE DOESN’T BELONG HERE.” ...
Whom will Jesus hear? How will he respond?
At first, Jesus says nothing to her. That in itself is disquieting. She is in great need!
But then as those disciples keep encouraging him to get rid of her, Jesus makes what feels like an aside comment, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
Is this the way he understood his mission, his calling at that moment in time? ...
But the Canaanite woman will not leave him alone. She doesn’t let that aside stand in some kind of vacuum. She loves her daughter too much. Now she comes even closer to Jesus falling on her knees right in front of him pleading, “Lord, HELP ME!”
Now, Jesus responds directly to this woman on her knees. But he responds in ways that make me very uncomfortable. His response underlines his humanity, his being rooted at least on that day in his particular culture. He says to her, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” His insinuation is that she is a dog. How derogatory! It’s the way we sometimes have referred to our minority peoples – in words we don’t say in church, we should never say anywhere.
To be sure this Canaanite mom isn’t of the house of Israel. And Jesus says to her, that is to whom his mission is in that moment. She and her daughter are to him at that point in time, somehow other than those he is sent to. And now my heart and mind are racing, full of questions, frustration and pain.
But this Canaanite mother rescues us. She will not be dissuaded from seeking Jesus’ help. She accepts the put down – but points Jesus and all of us far beyond any such thinking, such acting. Now she directs Jesus and us to the great mercy of God, the boundless riches of God’s grace. In doing so she responds to Jesus’ words with her own words. O dear people, hear her. “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Wow!
Now we witness something literally amazing. Jesus is moved! He acknowledges her faith. Her faith, not in the sense of some words articulated through a thoroughly vetted doctrinal confession like the Apostles’ Creed or Augsburg Confession. NO! Rather, her ‘faith’, her trust and hope in God through Jesus arises from the deep realization of her own limitations in helping her daughter and trusting that God alone can help her.
In her plea to Jesus, her profound insight that even mere crumbs from the plentiful table of God will be more than enough for she and her daughter, Jesus’ mind is changed. You heard me correctly. His mind is changed by this Canaanite mother’s earnest trust and hope in God’s ability to help her daughter.
Now Jesus says to her, “Woman”. It is no longer ‘Canaanite’ woman but just woman. “Woman, great is your faith. Let it be done for you as you wish.” And then Matthew tells us that the woman’s daughter is healed....
This is the only time in Matthew’s gospel that anyone is told by Jesus that their faith is GREAT. Usually Jesus says “you of little faith” or to Peter in last week’s Gospel, “Why did you doubt and not believe?” But here, Jesus acknowledges this woman’s GREAT faith.
Somehow, faith in God, trust in Jesus that is beyond mere words or convenience springs up in places, within and among people, where we might least expect it. Thanks be to God! This woman likely didn’t know the Hebrew Scriptures. She probably had never been to the temple or a synagogue. None of the New Testament as we know it had even been put together. Yet, Jesus says, she has great faith...
Are you aware, am I aware of OUR NEED for God’s help, God’s deliverance in our own lives for ourselves, and for others? Whom do we put our abiding trust in – ourselves, our resources, the resources of others around us, God?
Just two days ago, on a beautiful golf course I caught myself saying something to an acquaintance about one of our mutual friends. Initially I felt my words were merely a joke. But later, as I thought about them, I realized that my words were anything but kind.
Do you ever do or say things like that? You say something – and then you wonder, where on earth did that come from? It was so unkind, so thoughtless or even so hurtful, so biased, perhaps even racist?
你有没有做过或说过这样的话？你说了些什么 - 然后在想，那到底是从哪里来的？这是如此无情，如此不体贴，甚至如此伤人，如此偏颇，甚至可能是种族主义者？
The text just before the Canaanite’s woman’s plea to Jesus underlines in no uncertain terms that what disqualifies us from relationship with God or others, what damages our relationship with God and others often has nothing to do with the outward things we do, such as washing our hands, or even attending worship or assuring that we look good to others. Rather, it is what flows out of the inner parts of our beings, our hearts and minds that hurts ourselves, others and damages our relationships with others, ourselves and God.
We notice that about ourselves when we are paying attention and taking Scripture seriously. Because we are often blind to ourselves, we may also notice it in others.
So, what shall we do, as individuals, as parts of Christian communities, as a part of our neighborhood, this city, this province, this country? Shall we just try harder to love others and God? Or, shall we rationalize and delude ourselves into thinking, “Well, at least we are not as bad as some other people we know?” Or, shall we try to convince ourselves that our words and actions don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things? Really – have we heard anything the Scripture says – that Jesus says and does?
We must take care. God is God. God loves us, all people, all creation deeply! So, it is Christ becomes human. So it is, Jesus suffers and dies and is raised.
God is also holy. God has dreams that we would strive to reflect God’s holiness in terms of mercy, hunger to love and work for all people’s inclusion. This doesn’t mean that we somehow then are perfect. Far from it. Nor does this mean that we are somehow better than others. I mean, do we hear God and Jesus’ commands and see how far short we fall from them daily?
But taking God’s love and holiness seriously means that we are called to be aware of God’s love for all in Christ and to seek to live from that love ourselves.
Ah, but we miss that mark, don’t we? So it is we can cry out with the Psalmist from our own need, “Create a new heart within us, O Lord”.
The Canaanite mother cries out unashamedly for her daughter, “Lord, have mercy on me”. Somehow she knew she could cry out to Jesus. Somehow, she hoped in Him.
Do we know that we can cry out to him – that our hope is in Him, now, each day in any and all circumstances?
Should he not respond immediately in the way we had hoped, do we give up? Do we pack it in? Or, do we keep crying? Do we see that sometimes God sends others around us to bear with us, to listen to us, to aid us also?
This Canaanite mother has it right. In her heart of hearts she knew – even the crumbs from the Master’s table are more than enough for her, for her daughter. God’s mercy has the capacity to bring hope, new life, new beginnings for each of us, for all of us.
Lord God we believe – HELP OUR UNBELIEF. Kyrie eleison! Should it, whisper it, unapologetically, for Christ’s sake, for our sake and for the sake of the world. Amen.
主上帝，我们相信 - 帮助我们的疑惑。凯丽埃利森！为了基督，为了我们，为了世界，毫无歉意地低声说出来。阿门。
Pentecost 10a, 20
Trinity Lutheran Church Delta, BC, August 9, 2020
Text – Matthew 14:22-33 (background Psalm 105)
Key verses – 22 – Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
关键诗句 – 22 – 耶稣随即催门徒上船，先渡到那边去，等他叫众人散开。
26 – But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
26 – 门徒看见他在海面上走，就惊慌了，说：“是个鬼怪！”更害怕，喊叫起来。耶稣连忙对他们说：“你们放心，是我，不要怕！”
30 – But when he (Peter) noticed the strong wind, he became frightened and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”31. Jesus immediately reached out his hand caught him.
30 – 只因见风甚大，就害怕，将要沉下去，便喊着说：“主啊，救我！”耶稣赶紧伸出手拉住他，说：“你这小信的人哪，为什么疑惑呢？”
33 - And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
33 – 在船上的人都拜他，说：“你真是神的儿子。”
O precious ones of God, grace to you and peace, from God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three in One. Amen
1.We’re all in the same boat! Have you heard that? Do you believe it?
2. Are we in the same boat as the people of Beirut? Do we know what it’s like to lose our homes, to not know where some of our loved ones are – if they are even still alive, or trapped somewhere in pain? Have we ever been in the situation where we had absolutely no idea whether we will have a home or food for tomorrow. I suspect some of you have had those experiences – in the war or after the war – or even during immigration. But still it’s not present in the same way as those people in Beirut over the last 4 days.
Are we in the same boat as minority peoples who often battle racism and its effects – not just through words as scathing or hurtful as they can be but also through deeds, played out in opportunities that don’t come their way because of the color of their skin, because of the ignorant stereotypes of those in places of influence, in charge of recruiting or hiring to offer such opportunities. Such stereotypes color families where parents and grandparents have been known to strongly discourage or even prohibit their children and grandchildren from dating someone, in their words, who is “different” from them.
Some of you are minority peoples in Canada. Some of you, who have been here the longest are viewed by others as a minority, as somehow different. Are we all together in the same boat?
Over the last 5 months we have been forced to realize that on this globe, like it or not, we are in the same boat. The pandemic of COVID 19 moves surreptitiously among all peoples, young and old, regardless of race, religion or creed.
3. So, let me ask you this: as would be followers of Jesus, regardless of where we are from originally, or how long we have been marked with the cross of Christ and wrestled with the Holy Spirit – are WE in the same boat?
I ask for two reasons. Firstly the Gospel lesson for today literally begs the question. Did you notice how at the very beginning of the text Jesus “made” the disciples get into the boat and head out onto the water of the sea of Galilee. That’s right, MADE.
Secondly, if you were actually physically present with me in this church building – you would be sitting in the part of the church that is not called the sanctuary (that is the part of the church where the altar is, behind the altar railing) but the part of the building which the congregation usually sits in is actually called the nave – from the Latin word Navis, which means boat. How fitting that is for this congregation of Trinity which originally had many fishermen as part of its body.
The reason for church buildings to be constructed and named in this way and named is to remind followers of Jesus that as part of the body of Christ, which is the meaning of the word Church, we are called to be on a journey – a journey that is initiated by God. The purpose of this journey is not just to get to the other side but to move throughout life with a profound sense of God’s presence, God’s empowerment, God’s love and mercy for all people and all creation whatever may or may not be happening in and around us.
4. As Jesus’ followers we are not just to stay put or seek foremost personal satisfaction and stability. Nor are we as followers of Jesus to see “our” faith as something merely “personal” and “private”. We are called to hear God’s commands through time immemorial – to love God with all we have – which most certainly includes the money we have been entrusted with and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Remember - our neighbors are all people including the people in Beirut, the people with COVID, the people who are proclaiming falsely that COVID is fake news – and all the people in our neighborhoods regardless of their racial or religious origins. This includes people we already like, those we are afraid of, those that irritate us. This is a command from God – an integral part of the journey we are on as followers of Jesus.
5. I need to tell you that this journey is and will often be difficult. See those disciples in today’s Gospel, the ones Jesus made get into the boat. They are out on the Sea of Galilee for hours. They are being blown around by winds from all directions. I don’t know whether they were afraid for their lives or not. The text doesn’t tell us. For sure some of them were accomplished fishermen. I am sure they were tired. They may have wondered why Jesus sent them out in circumstances where they couldn’t make any headway. That’s how we see them now, physically and emotionally exhausted. Remember all this occurs within a few days of Jesus hearing that John the Baptist, one whom Jesus knew, respected and loved had been brutally murdered by Herod on a whim, so that Herod “save face” at a party.
Grief was their companion. And then just when they and Jesus thought they could have some ‘down’ time alone, there had been all the people who wouldn’t leave Jesus alone. Over 5000 people had shown up. Somehow, miraculously, Jesus had fed them all. Following that he sent them on their boat. And now, they are caught in this storm and their exhaustion.
7. But then in the very midst of all that they glimpse a figure walking on the water. For their culture water, especially larger bodies of water were symbols of chaos – the home of forces that worked against life and goodness. It wouldn’t be out of the question that something evil could arise from those waters. So as they see that figure they are terrified. They cry out in fear.
8. But now ‘that figure’ identifies himself. It is Jesus. He speaks to them, “Take heart. I am. Do not be afraid. “
Now it becomes even more interesting. Peter, ever one to speak or act without thinking much, says (and here interpreters differ) “If it is you Lord, command me to come to you”. Or, “Since it is you Lord, command me to come to you”.
Jesus responds. “Come!” This part we may remember. Peter begins but stumbles and starts sinking. Can we ever identify. We start something. But then all that the task involves or even the resistance to the task from within or without or both overwhelms us. We give up
Though sinking Peter exercises what Jesus calls his “little” faith. Peter cries out to Jesus for help: “Lord, save me!” And miraculously, Jesus immediately reaches out his hand to Peter, holding him up, guiding him back into the boat to join with the others.
9. Dear people we are in the same boat, with all others! God, the creator of the universe, has placed us here to journey together on this planet earth alongside myriads of others of God’s creatures. There are incredible opportunities, challenges and wonders to be experienced and shared on this journey. May God help us to meet them with expectation and hope.
10. Dear people, in a special way, as followers of Jesus, we are all in the same boat. I am convinced that God has placed us in this boat together with others of many different races, many different political and economic convictions and perspectives. This is not by accident. We are in this boat to be moving at God’s behest, to flesh out the love, the hope, the mercy, the forgiveness of God with each other and all others, the very dream of God.
11. But don’t think that this journey will only be smooth sailing. It won’t. It can’t. Anything that is good that is wonderful, that seeks to include and involve all has challenges. That is something I have learned in my short 66 years of living outside my mother’s womb.
But also know this. Our journey is one with a purpose – a purpose that is God given and God gifted. We who have somehow miraculously become aware of the infinite, communal and personal love of God around us and within us involving blessings that include daily life and breath, minds that can both question and be amazed – friends and family that sometimes confuse, anger, frustrate and birth new life within us – and glimpses that somehow eventually or suddenly move us to the conviction that death and all its powers are no match for the love and mercy of God, fleshed out so powerfully in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus – well, we could never somehow hoard that or attempt to keep it to ourselves. We are called by God to share all of these blessings, hope and dreams, with those whom we meet – not arrogantly but uniquely with the gifts we have been and are being given including our time, our talents and our financial resources. If we are not sure how to do this we are called to ask God for daily direction.
但也要认识到这一点。我们的旅程是一个有目的的旅程 - 一个上帝给的和上帝赐予的目的。我们奇迹般地意识到上帝在我们周围和我们内心无限的、共同的和个人的爱。这包括在日常生活中和呼吸的祝福，可以质疑和惊奇的心灵，有时会困惑，愤怒，挫败的朋友和家人，并在我们心中孕育新的生命。但以某种方式最终使我去们相信，死亡及其所有的力量都无法与上帝的爱和怜悯相提并论，在耶稣的生、苦、死和复活中得到了如此强大的充实，我们永远不会把它藏起来，也不可能试图把它藏起来。上帝呼召我们与我们相遇的人分享这所有的祝福、希望和梦想——这不是傲慢自大，而是独特地拥有我们已经和正在获得的礼物，这包括我们的时间、才干和财力。如果我们不确定如何做到这一点，我们就被呼召向上帝祈求每日的方向。
12. Sometimes this means we may need to stay in the boat with some others, as we wait for God through Jesus and the very Spirit of God to come to us, to direct us in ways we can fathom. At other times this means that one or more of us may need to jump out of the boat, even to invite and challenge others to join us as we seek to follow what we have been moved as Christ’s urging.
Always, always, dear people, this means realizing that we are not alone! This is especially so when we are terrified. Be not fooled. On this global journey as we face climate change, as we realize maybe for the first time the power of systemic racism and our parts in that, and with God’s help seek to make changes beginning with ourselves, will we be like Peter, trying at first by our own “power” or...
13. Will we, as our eyes and ears are opened to hear and see Jesus, sometimes in the places or through the people or things we least expect, with Peter cry out, “Lord, save us!”? As we cry and seek to follow Jesus God will give us the courage. As that occurs like the early physically and emotionally exhausted disciples, we will be enabled to take heart and follow not might take heard and follow not merely ourselves, nor be limited or captured by our fears. As our minds, ears and eyes are opened we can be given the courage to follow Jesus. And then dear people, who knows what is, what can, what will happen? We may get to the other side and by God’s grace be agents of new life and mercy. Yes, even us. I suspect at least some of that is happening right now. Be assured – there is more to do. For Jesus is truly the Son of God and loves his entire creation, including all and all others more than we can imagine. So many have yet to experience the concreteness of that love… Amen.
Job 42:1-17 and Romans 8:26-39 July 26, 2020 TLC
If God is for us, who can be against us? Job: Finding a Foothold
约伯记42:1-17和罗马书 8:26-39 2020年7月26日TLC
We gather on the traditional and ancestral territory of the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples, including Tsawwassen and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam). We recognize our neighbours the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Tsleil-Waututh, Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Hwiltsum, and Qayqayt First Nations. As traditional territories overlapped, they too may have a relationship with the lands we now call Delta.
我们聚集在传统的Hən̓q̓min̓m̓m̓祖先的领土上，包括 Tsawwassen和xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam)， 我们将Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Tsleil-Waututh, Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Hwiltsum, 和 Qayqayt 的原住民视为我们的邻居。由于传统领土的重叠，它们也许与我们现在称之为三角洲的这片土地有联系。
Announcements: Neighbourhood clean-up, badminton and campfire at Pastor’s house Friday night, Virtual Pride week starting Saturday check out events on-line, Walk at Rice Lake in North Vancouver Sunday morning 9AM, tailgate picnic at church parking lot Sunday night 6PM with bell ringing, White Fragility small group
Intro to reading Job 42…Job has argued with his friends for 37 chapters about his innocence in the face of unjust suffering and demanding an answer from God. His big question: WHY is this happening to me? Finally, God asks Job a series of questions. If we listen to these questions, they have a way of showing us our place in the universe, much like an astronaut who glimpses the earth from space. Where were you when the earth was formed from the dust of stars? Who came up with the blueprints and measurements? Where is the way to the dwelling of light? Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or walked in the recesses of the deep? Hearing this barrage of questions, Job is ready to shut up and listen. As Job listens, he comes to see God, to see through God’s eyes. And Job answers the Lord:
Kids’ message: Romans 8 If God is for us, who can be against us? How do we know if someone is for us? Or just with us? Jesus prays for you
***Story of a husband making dinner for his family while his wife teaches a class on-line or story of carrying a backpack too heavy to manage…bring my pack…burdened by the load, Jesus comes alongside us to lighten our burden, to give us a foothold.***
Sin: pride we turn away from God….or self-deprecating we melt…Job doesn’t know his place until he has moved into suffering and voiced his sense of abandonment…Jesus enters into human limitations, he entered into it fully but didn’t fight his creatureliness like we all do. He struggled, “not my will” and cried out “where are you? Have you abandoned me?” and submitted to being fully human in dying on the cross. Jesus comes to us when we think too highly of ourselves or when we are melting into the ground and gives us our rightful place…like lightening the burden we carry on our back…giving us a foothold.
I love to read autobiographies, where you get to walk into someone’s life from their own perspective. Lately, while I make dinner and harvest raspberries from our backyard, I’ve been listening to Michelle Obama tell her life story in the bestselling book: Becoming. Michelle gives me a window into her childhood growing up on the south side of Chicago, her relationship with her older brother, a star basketball athlete who paved the way for her socially and academically. And what it was like growing up with a Dad who was more and more limited by the degeneration of multiple sclerosis. She never remembers her Dad running, but rather beginning to use a cane and refusing to quit working in the water filtration plant or go to the doctor. Michelle tells how her mother intervened when she was in third grade in order to develop a curriculum at her southside public school that stimulated learning for her classmates in a way her teacher was failing to provide, and how that opened up the world to her young mind.
I love listening first-hand to Michelle speak about her life, what she’s learned, how she has become who she is. In the midst of global pandemic, I bet we are all starved for firsthand conversation, hearing another person tell their story to us directly. So much of what we are fed is a regular diet of second-hand information, hearsay is another word for it. A reporter says something about what this person said or did, or what is happening in the world. I wasn’t orbiting the international space station last month, but I heard a report about one of the astronauts who said: “An earth in crisis is still an earth worth returning to.”
As infection rates continue to climb at an alarming rate in the southern United States, and even more in B.C., we continue to be aware of the fragility of our life together here on earth. The systems we had trusted in to keep us safe, to keep us financially secure, are no longer secure. Richard Rohr (Job and the Mystery of Suffering) says “the trouble with so many of us is that we opt to stand in one little system---the American system, the Christian system …. or the white middle class system…and stand in it justified and self-assured. We think we have all the answers, but we’re not very wise.” Job calls us beyond the systems. “The only way the Lord can call us beyond the system we stand in, is by making the system fall apart. That’s called suffering. It’s how God shows us that life is always bigger than we presently imagine it. Faith allows us deliberately to live in a shaky position so that we have to rely upon Another.”
For many years of our lives, we may rely on second-hand knowledge about God… what the church says about God, or what my pastor says about God, or what my parents say about God. We may rely on second-hand knowledge about God until we find ourselves in the trenches, suffering and struggling to understand why. I relied on second-hand knowledge about God until I was 14 years old, when I began to wonder if this god-stuff was real, if God actually listened when I cried, laughed, and wondered about my place in the world. If I prayed, would it make a difference? If someone suffered, did God even care?
When we find ourselves pushed against a wall with no way out, finding no relief, second-hand knowledge of God, hearsay about God, doesn’t hold any power…God becomes like sand sifting through our hands instead of a rock, a firm place to stand. When we are really struggling, hearing someone say about God, “God has a bigger plan” or “all things happen for a reason” falls flat. Hearing Romans 8:28 will bring no comfort to those in pain: “we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose.” These statements all may be true, but it’s not the gospel for someone suffering, not the good news that raises us up from death and despair, a word that sets us free to trust God and love our neighbour. At such times what we want to do is curse God. Hearing this while suffering may lead someone to think, maybe I don’t love God enough…that’s why I’m suffering, or maybe I’m not called to God’s purpose…that’s why I feel abandoned. Such thoughts lead us deeper into despair, just as Job’s friends string him along.
Job’s friends bring him second-hand knowledge about God, one after the other, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. If you read Ch 38-42, you will notice they never speak directly to God, they don’t pray with him, they just spout what they’ve heard about God, second hand, in Job’s face. In the midst of these arguments, Job has hoped to see God firsthand, for himself when he says, “I’m nothing but a bag of bones; my life hangs on by a thread…still, I know that God lives---the One who gives me back my life—and eventually God will take a stand on earth. And I’ll see God—even though I get skinned alive---see God myself, with my very own eyes. Oh, how I long for that day!” (The Message Ch 19:20,26, Eugene Peterson translation)
约伯的朋友们，一个接一个地给他带来了关于上帝的二手知识，就是以利法 (Eliphaz)、比勒达 (Bildad) 和琐法 (Zophar)。如果你读第38-42章，你会注意到他们从来没有直接跟上帝说话，他们不跟他一起祈祷，他们只是在约伯的面前把他们听到的关于上帝的二手知识说出来。在这些争论中，约伯希望亲眼见到上帝，他说：“我只不过是一袋骨头，我的生命悬在一根线上……然而，我知道上帝活着——他把我的生命还给了我，最终上帝会在地球上站稳脚跟。即使我被活剥了皮，我也要去见上帝，亲眼看到上帝。哦，我多么渴望那一天！“（The Message Ch 19:20,26，Eugene Peterson翻译）
Finally, the Lord asks Job a series of questions: If we listen to these questions, one after another, they have a way of showing us our place in the universe, much like an astronaut who glimpses the earth from space. Like Rodger Wu who took the front-page photo of the NEOWISE comet hurling through the universe right now, visible at a distance of 103 km from Vancouver tonight. The comet’s tail leaving a trail of gas and dust debris visible from the night sky of Westham Island. Where were you when the earth was formed from the dust of stars? Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
最后，上帝问了约伯一系列的问题：如果我们一个接一个地听到这些问题，它们会向我们展示出我们在宇宙中的位置，就像宇航员从太空中俯瞰地球一样。就像Rodger Wu，他在拍摄了NEOWISE彗星在宇宙中穿梭的头版照片，今晚在距离温哥华103公里的地方可以看到。这颗彗星的尾部留下了一道从西汉姆岛（Westham Island）夜空中可见的气体和尘埃碎片。当地球由星尘形成时，你在哪里？是谁设计了宇宙的蓝图与尺寸？
With these questions, Job is brought to a whole new place to stand in silence. Last week, as youth and parents joined the Cougar Canyon Streamkeepers to tend to the raingarden at Sungod Rec Center and McCloskey Elementary, they were taking their place in our interconnected world, preventing the death of salmon fry, that you see pictured in the newsletter where this worship service was embedded. Salmon fry that perished as a result of human negligence, dumping a contaminate down the storm drain in our neighbourhoods. When we find our place in the world, we, like Job, are humbled and open to loving those who suffer. CLWR has made an urgent plea for us to stand with those around the developing world for whom the pandemic means their children go hungry.
带着这些问题，约伯被带到了一个全新的地方，静静地站着。上周，当年轻人和父母加入Cougar Canyon Streamkeepers，前往Sungod 体育中心和McCloskey小学的雨水花园时，他们在这个相互联系的世界中找到了自己的位置，防止了鲑鱼鱼苗的死亡，你可以在推送这期敬拜视频的通讯中看到这张照片。由于人类的疏忽，将污染物倾倒在我们附近的雨水排放管道中，导致了鲑鱼鱼苗的死亡。当我们在这个世界上找到自己的位置时，我们和约伯一样，都是谦卑的，愿意去爱那些受苦的人。CLWR紧急呼吁我们与发展中国家的人们站在一起，对他们来说，大流行意味着他们的孩子会挨饿。
Standing in silence, Job says to the Lord: “I’m convinced...I know that you can do all things…you asked, ‘who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head…. I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand---from my own eyes and ears! I had heard of you second-hand but now my mind has been changed; now my eye sees you. I’ll never again live on the crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” (excerpts from The Message, Job 42:1-6 Eugene Peterson, NRSV Lutheran study Bible notes)
约伯默默地站着，对上帝说：“我确信……我知道你可以做所有的事……你问我，‘谁在搅混水，无知地混淆是非，猜测我的目的？“我承认。我就是那个人。我喋喋不休地谈论着我所不知道的事情，在我的脑海里谈论不可想象的奇迹…。我承认我曾经听到过关于你的谣言；但现在我已经掌握了所有一手信息——通过我自己的眼睛和耳朵获到的信息！我曾经通过二手的信息听说过你，但现在我已经改变主意了；现在我的眼睛看到了你。我再也不会生活在传闻的外壳，谣言的碎片上了。”（摘自信息，约伯记42:1-6尤金彼得森 Eugene Peterson，NRSV路德教会研究圣经笔记）
What does it take to see the Lord? In order to move from knowing about God, second-hand, like a rumor, to meeting God first-hand, we need to feel what it means to be empty, abandoned, uncared for and cry out to God directly, firsthand, with our whole being. This change of position is conversion…metanoia…it means turning around or changing our mind. This kind of conversion happens again and again throughout our lives as we enter into suffering, our own and the suffering of other people and all creatures.
Job changes his mind concerning dust and ashes. Dust and ashes are a metaphor describing the place of human beings in relationship with God. We are all made from star dust and will return to the earth as ash. This metaphor of dust and ash comes from Abraham praying to God to have mercy on Sodom: “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.” (Genesis 18:27) We are all but dust and ash. While at the same time beloved of God, a uniquely evolved combination of star dust that will only be in this particular combination once in the span of all time, so how are we called to live this one wild life we’ve been given?
In the end, God is fed up with Job’s friends. What they’ve said about God, their second-hand talk has not been honest with or about God.
Through suffering, and the agonizing process of wondering why, Job has finally been given God’s eye view and realized God’s perspective is not the same as his own… “Job thinks God should be sensible, well-adapted to human purposes and predictable. God calls Job to take his human place in a ravishing but dangerous world…to let go of his personal expectations which are always too small for the huge freedom built into the world.” (Ellen Davis in Getting Involved with God) Job chooses, even at the risk of more suffering, to love again as his wife gives birth to more children. In modern Israel, it’s been said, the most courageous act of faith was to have babies after the Holocaust, to trust God with more defenseless children. That’s what we do when we become parents. We open ourselves to the terrible vulnerability of loving those whom we cannot protect against suffering and death. God restores all of Job’s losses…gives him a new place from which to live out his days.
In all of this, Job realizes what Paul tells the Christ followers in Rome, who are struggling to trust God in the midst of hardship that threatens to separate them from the love of Christ…If God is for us, even in the midst of this pain, who is against us? Not only is God with us, but is for us, coming alongside us to lighten the load we carry, to give us a foothold on the portage, so that we can keep going. Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God revealed fully in Christ, who has gone down into the depths of human struggle to bring us to a new place.
Pentecost 7a, 2020 (July 19, Trinity Lutheran Church) virtual worship
PAINFUL GROANING AND HOPE: GOD, CREATION INCLUDING AND INVOLVING US
Texts - Psalm 139: 1-12, 23, 24; Romans 8:12–25
Key Verses –
Psalm 139 – 1. O LORD, you have searched me and known me... 24. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way ever lasting.
诗篇139 – 1.0 耶和华啊，你已经鉴察我，认识我。。。24. 看在我里面有什么恶行没有，引导我走永生的道路。
Romans 8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
罗马书8:22 我们知道一切受造之物一同叹息，劳苦，直到如今。 23 不但如此，就是我们这有圣灵初结果子的，也是有自己心里叹息，等候得着儿子的名分，乃是我们的身体得输。24 我们得救是在乎盼望；只是所见的呢？25 但我们苦盼望那所不见的，就必忍耐等候。
O precious ones of God, grace to you and peace from God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three in One. Amen.
There is so much pain around us... There is pain within us. Are you aware of it?
I remember, years ago but it seems like yesterday. It was 5 am on a beautiful early summer morning. The sun was just rising. I was getting up to write my sermon. I was walking across our church building’s parking lot. And then I heard it. The yelling was unmistakeably painful. It was frightening. For this wasn’t the kind of yelling that was caused by a slight frustration where someone forgets something that is promised. No this was the kind of yelling where danger is in the air, cutting the air like a knife. This yelling reflected anger and fear where a woman’s very well being was at risk. What should I do? What would I do as I was on my way to write my sermon, in the face of my own fear and my time deadline?
I remember this for a number of reasons but not the least of which is because of the increased danger of domestic violence in this COVID time as people are being inside with just each other for prolonged periods of time. For quite a while people weren’t going into work, places where others might observe the bruises, the cuts. Even now many children aren’t going to school or daycare where others, any other might sense the pain or hear their story.
I also think about this because of Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians. Here Paul talks very directly about the suffering of the present time and the groaning of creation. Ah, yes, the groaning of creation.
Don’t we know, aren’t we intimately involved in the groaning of creation? Suffering is all around us and within us. Often even ads ‘kill’ me. Sometimes they should ‘kill’ us. Have you heard this one on the radio? A young woman speaks. She talks about the inconveniences of COVID 19 for so many of us. She says, “You know they say we’re all in this together. And then you complain about having to stay at home. But I don’t have a home...” She goes on: “You know you complain about waiting in line for groceries. But at least you have money to buy groceries. I don’t.” And I am moved – to think about how I often waste money, God has entrusted to me. I am moved to think about what I can do to help, hear, be supportive of others like her. Her ad – no, her voice gets me to be aware of her groaning and suffering. (bp)
难道我们不知道吗，我们难道不是与受造物的呻吟息息相关吗？痛苦就在我们周围和我们的内心里。甚至广告也常常会令我痛苦，有时候也应该让我们痛苦。你在收音机里听过这个吗？一个年轻的女人讲的。她谈到了COVID19给我们很多人带来的不便。她说：“你知道他们说我们都在同一条船上。然后你抱怨不得不待在家里。但我没有家……”她接着说：“你知道你们抱怨要排队买食品杂货。但至少你们还有钱买食品杂货，可我没有” 我很感动——这令我想到我是如何浪费上帝赋予我的金钱的， 令我想到我能做些什么来帮助、倾听、支持像她这样的人。她的宣告----不，她的声音让我意识到她的呻吟和痛苦。
I am also forced to embrace the groaning of creation as I think about one of my closest friends. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about 20 years ago. His career as a Physical Education teacher then suddenly ended. He was in his 40’s. He was told then by his neurologist that within a year or so he would need to be institutionalized. But he battled and battled. He stayed active, in many ways willing his body to keep, keeping on. Some 17 or 18 years after his diagnosis with Parkinson’s he contracted cancer. With the help and support of many, primarily his wife, he overcame that and now lives with a colostomy. Last year at the urging of a number of Parkinson’s experts he underwent brain surgery to stem the progress of the Parkinson’s disease. But then he developed an infection inside his head and had to have the surgery re done. Can we even begin to imagine? And now he has suffered a serious spinal cord injury and lies in hospital. My friend is only one living example of so many who face incredibly difficult and painful health challenges. But he is my friend, a husband, a father. And I cannot, I must not run from or try to escape all of their suffering, their groaning.
Just lately many of us have become aware of the human suffering and groaning outside of ourselves. There is systemic racism – yes in the US but also here at home. It’s not new. It’s been going on around the world, I suspect from the beginning of time, however we mark that. But for many of us, even despite the Truth and Reconciliation Commission “findings” and call for action from all of us, for the first time we are beginning to be aware of our parts in systemic racism. For the first time many of us are beginning to ask ourselves – how are we contributing to systemic racism? How can we, how must we change? How can we hear others, and be open to the changes that must happen within and without so that all Indigenous and black lives matter to all of us? (bp)
Finally, and just as importantly we need to realize that it’s not only people who are suffering and groaning. No! The entire creation is groaning. Paul underlines this. We, the so-called developed world people have taken creation for granted, often treating it as a commodity, to be seen as something outside of us, disconnected from us, to be treated as a commodity, enslaved to us! Instead, God has shown us that all of creation, including we human beings, people of the earth, are inextricably linked to each other. The polar ice caps are melting, the water and earth is warming. And there are dire consequences. Species are becoming extinct at alarming rates. Fires, windstorms and hurricanes intensify. Small islands are beginning to disappear. And so many, suffer and die. This suffering and dying will involve and effect not only us, but generations to come, people, other species, the fabric of creation - air, water, land. (bp)
All of this has the capacity to plunge us into despair. Sometimes I, myself, teeter on the edge of despair feeling helpless, even hopeless. The suffering, the pain, the death are overwhelming. The powers and forces that are beyond me, of which I am still part, drive the carnage of the earth. The temptations in the light and darkness of all of this, are to hide or literally bury ourselves in self indulgence or in the sands of the busyness of our ‘own’ lives. Some may even give into the temptation to dwell on “their” future in some kind of disembodied state and call that “religion” or even “faith”. Marx rightly called that kind of religion the “opiate of the masses.”
But Paul would lift us up from such temptations. He reminds us that those ways are not Jesus’ way! The Psalmist agrees with Paul. For us to forget others, to disregard them is not God’s way!
The Psalmist makes this crystal clear. God knows, God cares for us and FOR ALL PEOPLE. God intimately knows and cares for us and all people with deep love, abundant mercy and justice that plumbs the depths of all that is. Because God knows us so deeply and intimately, because God links us to God’s own self, to all others and the rest of creation, we are vulnerable! But this vulnerability, though often difficult is also very good. We can love! We can hurt!
St. Paul proclaims incredibly good news. We are given the very Spirit of God through Jesus whom God raised from the dead. And that Spirit of God, dear, precious people births within us hope. Such hope, grounded in God’s action, is not mere optimism. Such hope is far, far removed from wishful thinking, which when troubles arise often disappears as quickly as any other mirage.
圣保罗 (St. Paul) 宣布了难以置信的好消息。神的灵是耶稣赐给我们的，神令耶稣从死里复活。上帝的灵魂，亲爱的，宝贵的人们，在我们心中孕育着希望。这种希望不仅仅只是一种乐观，它根植于上帝的行动。这种希望与一厢情愿的想法相去甚远，一厢情愿的想法在出现麻烦的时候往往会像其他幻景一样迅速消失。
But such hope isn’t easy. For this hope encompasses that which is now but also not yet. This hope is like a baby growing in her/his mother. She and others can feel that baby. Yet the baby is not yet born. The baby cannot be born until and after those birth pangs – those excruciating and anxiety causing birth pangs.
So we are. There are moments when we actually see the Spirit of God vibrantly acting in others, in ourselves, in creation. Think about when you behold God at work! (bp)
I see my 3-year-old granddaughter telling me, “I love you poppy”. I see a man, caught up in the throes of addiction going to his first AA meeting. I see a woman, a mother having the courage and I mean courage, leave her abusive partner. Ah, there is new life. There is God working to bring new life in so many ways.
But such hope is not yet fully completed. I suspect there will be days when my granddaughter doesn’t show her old poppy her love – or worse yet I fail her. The man in AA may have a slip or many. The woman may feel compelled to go back to that abusive partner, to give him one more chance. (bp)
So it is that we gather dear people – in person, or virtually around the Word of God. We must know that this Word can never be contained by a book, as amazing as it is. Rather this Word is embodied in God’s own Son, Jesus the Christ, in His life, in His suffering for others, in His death and in His being raised. We gather to hear of His love for us and all creation. We gather to be empowered by God, the Creator, the Son and the Spirit to share God’s love and forgiveness, to be emboldened by God to try living with God’s love and hope again and again with and for others and creation.
因此，我们跟亲爱的人聚会 -- 面对面，或在网上，我们沉浸在上帝的话语中。我们必须知道，这个话语永远不可能囊括在一本书里，尽管这本书很神奇。更确切地说，这些话体现在上帝的儿子耶稣基督里，在他的生命中，在他为别人所受的苦难中，在他的死亡中，和在他的复活中。我们聚在一起倾听他对我们和所有受造物的爱。当我们聚集在一起时，我们被上帝，造物主，圣子，圣灵赋予力量来分享上帝的爱和宽恕，被上帝鼓舞去尝试心怀上帝的爱和希望，一次又一次地与其他人和其他受造物一起生活。
We all belong to God. We need to be reminded that nothing can separate us from God! In Christ we see God’s love, mercy and suffering for all.
So, dear people, may our eyes, our ears, our hearts and minds be widely opened to each other, to all creation – yes -to the groaning, the suffering, the injustice that is around and within. May God show us and may we be opened to our part in all of that...
May we also be opened to how we must be changed, day by day in big ways and small ways. For dear people, we can be changed and change. We can be part of the change God dreams of, God longs for that we can long for – where indigenous lives matter, where black lives matter to all because God cares. We can work at, we can strive for living as brothers and sisters, hearing each other, bearing one another’s burdens and joys, praying, giving to and for each other, weeping together, dancing together, eating and drinking together.
Dear people, this is the hope that has its source in God, that we behold as Jesus lives, suffers and dies but is also raised again for all people and all creation. This is hope that hears and enters into all suffering and groaning but somehow is also led by God into new life.
Dear people let us live with, die with and live from such hope. Indeed who knows what then can and will happen ... for Christ’s sake and the sake of this world, Amen.
Job 31:35-7, 38:1-11 Psalm 13 July 5, 2020
Out of the Whirlwind
When someone we love is suffering, crying out “How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever? …. How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?” These ancient words from Psalm 13 are on the lips of those who suffer today. In the face of such suffering, often people wonder why; saying, there must be a reason. We may try to take their pain away or try to figure out why so many bad things are happening. Convinced of his moral innocence, at first Job believes that always choosing to do the right thing should’ve warded off disaster, should’ve protected him from suffering. Initially, Job believes he is a man of integrity and the world is a manageable place run by a demanding but predictable God who owes the righteous the good life. But by time we hear him today, Job finally rests his case, takes a break from arguing with his friends. He comes to a new place of quiet, where he listens to God question him: Where were you when the foundations of the earth were laid? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who laid its cornerstone, when all the morning stars sang together…
Job knows the answer to these questions. He wasn’t there at the beginning of all things. Job is not God. This is a really big deal; Job is discovering the way to find true peace. Realizing, like Job, we are not God, that God doesn’t operate the way we’d like, according to the way we humans would prefer, is a way to find true wisdom, to find true peace. We all know the answer to these rhetorical questions…it wasn’t Job who laid the foundations of the earth and shut in the sea with doors and walked in the recesses of the deep. With these questions, God takes Job on a walking tour of the universe.
Barbara Brown Taylor, author, teacher and Episcopal priest, began writing about the way science and faith work together, which I first read twenty years ago in her book, The Luminous Web. She reflects on who God is, which is what these questions invite Job to do:
In Sunday school, I learned to think of God as a very old white-bearded man on a throne, who stood above creation and occasionally stirred it with a stick. When I am dreaming quantum dreams, what I see is an infinite web of relationship, flung across the vastness of space like a luminous net. It is made of energy, not thread. As I look, I can see light moving through it as a pulse moves through veins. What I see “out there” is no different from what I feel inside. There is a living hum that might be coming from my neurons but might just as well be coming from the furnace of the stars. When I look up at them there is a small commotion in my bones, as the ashes of dead stars that house my marrow rise up like metal filings toward the magnet of their living kin. (Barbara Brown Taylor, The Luminous Web: Essays on Science and Religion (Cowley Publications: 2000), 73–74.)
芭芭拉布朗泰勒，(Barbara Brown Taylor) 作家、教师，圣公会牧师，开始写有关科学和信仰如何共同协作的书籍，这是我20年前在她的书《发光的网络》中第一次读到的。她反思上帝是谁，这些问题也一样引导约伯去反思：
Barbara is conceiving God as this vast web of relationship that brings everything to life. We are not alone…we are part of this web, with “energy available to us that has been around since the universe was born.” As I head out on my bike these days, it gives me a chance to notice what is happening in the world around me, to breathe in the exhaust from cars nearby, breathe out as I greet my neighbours walking on the sidewalk, or listen to the vireo singing it’s heart out in the cedar tree. Something happens each day when I venture out, something that reminds me I am a human being, grounded in the midst of a planet orbiting around a star that keeps us warm, allowing seeds to germinate, raspberries to ripen, everything to live.
God invites Job to step outside, beyond himself, take a look around, to notice the stars in the heavens, the intricacy of a spider’s web, and wonder how did all of this come to be? God asks Job to take a giant step backwards to the beginning of the cosmos, with a series of questions that give Job a new place in the universe. With these questions, Job is thrown into the vastness of the cosmos, the chaos of the sea, into forces beyond his control. “Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb…and said, ‘Thus far shall you come and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?” (Job 38) With these questions, God walks Job through the beginning, what we now call the big bang, as scientists make an educated guess about what sparked a singularity to explode into elements containing the seeds of carbon life forms. God isn’t addressing his suffering directly. Instead, God seems to be asking: where are you, what is your place, Job, in all of this?
Job finally comes to the end of his argument with God and his friends, to realize there may be no good reason that he suffers. God says, “Look away from yourself. Look around you, far back in time right up to now, Job.” For a moment see the world with my eyes, in its intricacy and wild beauty. The beauty is in the wildness. You cannot tame all that frightens you in this one wildlife you’ve been given without losing the beauty. (adapted from Ellen Davis in Getting Involved with God)
Consider the great sea dragon, the Leviathan. Both the sea and Leviathan in the ancient Near east were a symbol and force of chaos. Many stories in ancient Mesopotamian and Canaanite literature are about the gods’ defeating the sea at the beginning of the cosmos. It was thought that a battle with the sea needed to happen before creation came into existence. But here in Job, as in Genesis, the God revealed in the scriptures doesn’t fight against the sea, but rather is a midwife, giving birth to the sea. And like a rambunctious toddler who needs to be restrained so that it doesn’t hurt itself or others, God makes sure the sea has a place in creation with boundaries, so it doesn’t overrun the rest of creation. God delights in everything, even the sea and the great Leviathan, swimming wild and free. God asks Job, will you make the great Leviathan your pet? Tame and control it?
想想伟大的海龙，利维坦 (Leviathan)。古代近东的海洋和利维坦都象征着混乱和力量。在古代美索不达米亚(Mesopotamian) 和迦南石 (Canaanite) 文学中，许多故事都是关于神在宇宙开始的时候是如何打败大海的。有些人认为，在造物主出现之前，需要与大海进行一场战斗。但在约伯记中，正如在创世纪中一样，圣经中所揭示的神并没有与海争战，而是象一个接生婆，生了海。就像一个挑剔的蹒跚学步的孩子一样，他需要克制自己，以免伤害自己或其他人，上帝确保海洋在受造物中有其边界，这样它就不会侵犯其他受造之物。上帝爱一切事物，即便是大海和巨大的利维坦，上帝也爱，让它们自由地游动着。上帝问约伯，你愿意把大利维坦当作你的宠物吗？驯服并控制它？
One year ago, I was driving into White Rock on Oxford Road, and caught a glimpse of a huge gray whale, at least five times the size of the whale watching boat that was pulling up nearby, with people who’d paid good money to catch a view. I was determined and terrified to launch my kayak and paddle near this magnificent creature who calls the ocean home, swimming from the birthing bath of Mexico to the coast of Alaska to feed each summer. Paddling nearby gave me a glimpse of the power and freedom that expresses who God is in this vast universe.
According to commentator Ellen Davis, the great question God poses to Job and every other person of integrity: Can we love what we do not control?
根据评论员艾伦戴维斯 （Ellen Davis）的说法，上帝对约伯和其他人提出了一个伟大的问题：我们是否能爱我们不能控制的东西？
Anyone who has raised a child knows that we are called to love our son/daughter whom we cannot control. When teens begin making their own way in the world, every parent realizes they are not in control of choices their child makes. As parents, we are called to love, not control, our children. Love is, ultimately, about allowing another to live freely, which is tricky as a human being grows, right? Every human being is created with the freedom to become their own person, separate from their parent, unique from every other human being. As parents, we try to figure out how to love in such a way that leads to freedom for our sons and daughters. If we dictate their every move, they will never develop the confidence and freedom to live on their own…and they will live under their parents’ direction forever.
Could it be that God’s way of being in the universe has nothing to do with our human standards of right and wrong? Ellen Davis presumes that ‘God’s involvement with the world is expressed in huge, unapologetic delight in creation whose outstanding quality is magnificent: power and freedom on a bewildering and terrifying scale.’ We see this in the sea, in creatures like a Leviathan, a great sea dragon, in a gray whale navigating Boundary Bay.
God shows Job a self-giving generosity that brings another into free being. Like a loving parent raising a son/daughter, God loves but does not control us or any created thing…May the peace that surpasses human understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Job 14:7-15, 19:23-27 Psalm 31:1-10, 14-15 June 28, 2020 TLC
When God seems hidden: I Know That My Redeemer Lives
约伯14:7-15，19:23-27诗篇31:1-10，14-15 2020年6月28日 TLC
On the streets of Minneapolis, where protests have taken place, artists are calling out for racial justice on the boarded up store fronts …Be the change you want to see in the world: Ghandi, Strange Fruit: Billy Holiday’s song about racial violence in the south, embrace hope, I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow, and that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow: Stevie Wonder, Living in the City
在明尼阿波利斯街头上，发生抗议的地方，艺术家们在用木板围起来的店面上呼吁种族正义……成为你想在世界上看到的改变：甘地 (Ghandi)，奇异的水果 (Strange Fruit)：比利霍利德 (Billy Holiday)， 关于南方种族暴力的歌曲，拥抱希望，我希望你能听到我内心悲伤的声音，它激励着你去创造一个更美好的明天：史蒂夫旺德(Stevie Wonder)，住在城市里 (Living in the City)
Last Friday, the 19th, was a day called Juneteenth. I was not familiar with this day when it popped up on my calendar, so I found out more. When you don’t know something, go investigate. Juneteenth is a day for commemorating something enslaved African people prayed for, fought for, hoped, for centuries after arriving in America. Many hoped yet believed the day of freedom would never come. The freeing of slaves was legislated by the thirteenth amendment to the US Constitution in January 1863 with President Abraham Lincoln’s signature. But until the civil war between the northern and southern states ended in April 1865, the proclamation was meaningless. On June 19, 1865, the Union Army General Gordan Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas where slaves had not yet been set free. The General said, “In accordance with this proclamation, all slaves are free,” announcing the thirteenth amendment for the first time in Texas. This led to the freeing of 4 million slaves in the southern United States. For a short while federal troops from the north provided food, medicine and shelter for the freed slaves; protecting them from those southern slave owners who wanted them to remain enslaved. When the federal troops pulled out of the south, the freed slaves were no longer protected. Racially fueled violence against the black community has continued randomly down through the decades since 1865 in America. From 1865 to the 1960’s many southern states passed Jim Crow laws that kept the black community segregated from public spaces such as churches, schools, restaurants, sporting events, and many opportunities such as jobs. If anyone spoke out against the Jim Crow laws, they would be shunned at church, work, school. The police force evolved from vigilante groups who enforced this racist legislation in local communities.
上个星期五，也就是19号，是一个叫Juneteenth的日子。当它出现在我的日历上时，我并不了解这一天是什么日子, 就多了解了些。当你不知道的时候，去调查。Juneteenth是一个纪念被奴役的非洲人民在到达美国几个世纪后为之祈祷、战斗、希望的日子。许多人希望自由的日子永远不会到来。1863年1月，美国宪法第十三修正案在亚伯拉罕林肯（Abraham Lincoln）总统的签署下，通过立法，释放奴隶。但直到1865年4月南部和北部各州之间的内战结束，这一宣言才有意义。1865年6月19日，联邦军将军戈尔丹格兰杰（Gordon Granger）抵达德克萨斯州加尔维斯顿，那里的奴隶还没被释放。将军说：“根据这一宣言，所有奴隶都是自由的。”他在德克萨斯州正式宣布了第十三修正案。这导致美国南部400万奴隶获释。有一段时间，北方的联邦军队为获释的奴隶提供食物、药品和住所；保护他们免受南方奴隶主的奴役。当联邦军队撤出南方时，被释放的奴隶不再受到保护。自1865年以来，在美国，由种族引发针对黑人社区的暴力事件在几十年中一直持续不断。从1865年到1960年，许多南部州通过了吉姆克劳法案 （Jim Crow Laws），将黑人社区与许多公共场所，教堂、学校、餐馆、体育赛事，以及许多工作机会等隔绝。如果有人公然反对吉姆克劳法案，他们就会在教堂、工作场所、和学校受到排挤。警察部队就是从当地社区执行这项种族主义立法的团体演变而来的。
Ta-Nehisi Coates says the enslaved African community made a down payment on America’s mortgage. Americans are indebted. Here in Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has at least opened a door to healing between Indigenous and Settler communities. The question then becomes how do we walk in the way of repairing the debt? What do we owe one another? What could Americans learn from Canadians in opening such a door?
塔内希西科茨 (Ta-Nehisi Coates) 说，被奴役的非洲裔社区支付了美国抵押贷款的首付款，意指美国人负债累累。在加拿大，真相与和解委员会至少为土著社区和定居者社区之间的关系的修复打开了一扇大门。现在的问题是我们如何走在这条关系修复的道路上？我们欠对方什么？美国人能从加拿大人那里学到什么？
Like our brothers and sisters crying out in pain at racial injustice, Job rails against God not as a skeptic or stranger to God’s justice but as a believer, struggling to understand why. Suffering loss of wealth, senseless death of his sons and daughters, loss of health and human dignity, Job cries out at the injustice, saying its more than he can bear. The more he talks, the more confident he becomes in arguing his case against his friends and with God. His friends keep looking for what he’s done to deserve such foul treatment. Eliphaz accuses Job of being a wind bag, arguing with unprofitable talk, in words which do no good. Bildad insists Job should repent, saying Job has forgotten God. And that his children must’ve sinned in order to be killed. If you repent, Bildad says, then God will restore you to your rightful place. But Job refutes his friends, insisting he has does not deserve such pain and loss, turning directly to God as a Judge from whom he demands mercy. German poet from the 18th century, Goethe, expresses the strong way Job lays hold of God, our Rock:
And so at last the sailor lays
Upon the rock on which he had
就像我们的兄弟姐妹因种族不公而痛哭流涕一样，约伯不是以怀疑论者或陌生人的身份对待上帝的正义，而是以一个信徒的身份，竭力想弄明白为什么会这样。约伯遭受着失去财富、失去儿女、失去健康和失去尊严的痛苦，他对这种不公大声疾呼，说他无法忍受。他议论得越多，就越有信心与朋友和上帝辩论。他的朋友们一直在寻找他所做的某一件事导致他遭受如此恶劣的境遇。以利法 (Eliphaz) 指责约伯是个夸夸其谈人，用无益的言语争辩。比勒达 (Bildad) 坚持认为约伯应该忏悔，说约伯忘记了上帝。他的孩子一定是犯了罪才被杀。比勒达说，如果你悔改，上帝会恢复你应有的地位。但约伯驳斥他的朋友，坚称自己不该遭受这样的痛苦和损失。 他直接转向上帝，上帝是他的法官，他向上帝求怜悯。18世纪的德国诗人歌德（Goethe）表达了约伯坚定地相信上帝，我们的磐石的方式：
When Job first suffers deep loss, he curls up the fetal position, wishing he’d never been born. But gradually he opens his eyes to realize his agony is not unique. Others also suffer for no fault of their own. As he finds his voice, Job says:“Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, they will tell you, ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you, the fish of the sea will declare to you…in God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being…if God tears down no one can rebuild; if God shuts someone in, no one can open up…God loosens the sash of kings, overthrows the mighty, deprives of speech those who are trusted.” Raging in this way before God is a valid way for us to live faithfully. Job’s outcry extends over several chapters; we who seek to follow God’s ways in the world may stay in this place for a long time。
As restrictions lift and people get outside to explore B.C., I heard one-man voice pain…he said, BC may have flattened the curve, but we have not been doing well, day-time drinking and night time binge watching leads to mental anguish. So, Psalm 31 resonates with us…be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also. As we listen to Job’s cry this morning, we hear the cry of all those generations who’ve suffered injustice through no fault of their own.
In the midst of his pain, Job observes creation and notices “there is hope for a tree; if it is cut down, it will sprout again, that its shoots will not cease. Though its roots grow old in the earth and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud. But human beings die and are laid low. Humans expire and where are they? …Oh, that you would hide me in Sheol!” Sheol was understood in the ancient world as the place of darkness and death for all people, regardless of their track record with God, where they are cut off from life. Job’s suffering brings him to the point of pondering his own death, with no hope of being resurrected. His only hope is to be shielded from the pain and suffering of being alive.
The Book of Job hints at a strange truth connected to the mystery of suffering. Though our culture says, “don’t feel your pain” scriptures like Job and Psalm 31 give room to voice our pain. When we fully admit our pain, allow ourselves to weep in the face of loss, own our anger at God for senseless suffering, a door opens. A place opens within us that otherwise would’ve remained locked, a way of communing with God that would’ve remained closed if we had refused to feel our pain. Vancouver therapist Dr. Hillary McBride says “our pain is a doorway to God. Think of your life as a house full of rooms. When we neglect our pain, we close doors to God. There is room for grief, pain, uncertainty, not knowing in relationship with God.” As Christ followers, we may think we’ve always got to be happy and think positive, otherwise we are not being faithful, or in fact we are in danger of losing faith. But when we move into our brokenness, admit we are afraid and anxious, we are entering into the life of God in the world. When we weep, the Trinity, a living relationship between the Creator, Savior and Spirit, weeps with us.
《约伯记》暗示了一个与苦难有关的奇怪真相。虽然我们的文化认为，“不要感觉到你的痛苦”。 而在圣经里，约伯和诗篇31给了我们空间来表达我们的痛苦。当我们完全承认自己的痛苦，让自己面对失去而哭泣，为无谓的痛苦向上帝宣泄我们的愤怒时，一扇门就会打开。在我们内心里的某个地方会被打开，否则它将一直被锁着，这是一种与上帝沟通的方式。如果我们继续拒绝感受我们的痛苦，这种方式将一直被关闭。温哥华的心理医生希拉里麦克布莱德 （Hillary McBride）博士说：“我们的痛苦是通往上帝的大门。把你的生活想象成一个有很多房间的房子。当我们忽视我们的痛苦时，我们就关闭了通往上帝的大门。在与上帝的关系里，有悲伤、痛苦、不确定和我们不知道的空间。”作为基督的信徒，我们可能认为我们必须永远快乐、积极正面，否则我们就不忠诚，或者事实上我们有失去信心的危险。但当我们进入我们的破碎，承认我们的确害怕和焦虑，我们就进入了在这个世界上的上帝的生活。当我们哭泣时，造物主、救世主和圣灵三位一体的神与我们一同哭泣。
Sheltering at home, practicing physical distance, for some, has become like being trapped in Sheol, a place of darkness cut off from life. In these seeming endless weeks of sheltering at home, our friends in the recovery community struggle to maintain sobriety. Those who have just started the journey towards sobriety are struggling the most, with sponsors reaching out by phone and meetings on zoom. But without attending a human gathering where hugs are shared and tears can fall, lament can be heard by another who doesn’t try to fix or help us escape our pain, we struggle. The lack of human connection results in depression and anxiety that has led to overdose and at least three deaths in the recovery community here in Surrey/Delta. When we are in pain, because our cultural says, “don’t feel pain…cover it up at all costs…don’t admit you are suffering” we tend to isolate ourselves, ashamed of admitting our pain to others. AA meetings on video conference call are not the same as being in person. Just as pre-recorded worship is not the same as singing together, passing the peace with a handshake or hug, and sharing coffee and conversation. But being cut off from a community of deep acceptance, love and accountability can lead to death for those who struggle with addiction. So how do we come alongside one another in these days? As fellow sufferers, those who help unlock the door of pain, we come willing to listen to another’s pain, not to fix it, or take it away. Nor to pray the person into silence or try to defend what God is doing like Job’s friends.
Together we live in the tension between raw grief and the hope of the resurrection. This means that as we open the door into the pain of our losses, alongside our human family, we look forward to a time when all things will be made new. As we come alongside our brothers and sisters who are grieving violence fueled by racism, admit how prejudice distorts our way of treating one another, we will be raised up together into a new human family. Job’s words: I Know that My Redeemer Lives are the basis for the song we are about to sing. As Christ followers we hear Job’s words speaking of the One who finds us in our distress, when our bones are wasting away, and raises us up. Our Redeemer lives in Christ, who was raised from death, God of both the living and the dead. We have hope in the midst of our pain, because our Redeemer Lives, among us now, and entrusts each of us with the power to change the world one interaction at a time.
(show slide) Change starts here…with each of us. Together we trust in you, O Lord; our times are in your hand.
Job 3:1-10, 4:1-9, 7:11-21 Psalm 42, June 21, 2020
My Sighs Are My Food
Since the week before the pandemic restrictions, we have been disoriented by the loss of our car. Since I want to stay physically active when the gym is closed, I’ve outfitted my bike with saddle bags for grocery shopping and other errands. We can get everything we need by walking or biking from our home. Church is accessible by bike within 10 minutes. But it takes more planning ahead to get what we need. We continue to do this with the hope of investing in a condo in near future and are grateful to Helen and Kathryn who allow us to borrow a car when necessary. It is disorienting and at times, frustrating, to make life work by leg power. In these pandemic days, it seems that what used to be manageable obstacles or irritations can easily become big frustrations. Like Job, in these days of continuous adaptation, my sighs are often my food, my groaning poured out like water.
We have all been disoriented for the last 95 days. In these disorienting times, what we thought we could count on, our health, our income, our supportive relationships, have fallen away or is unstable. Gradually we’ve gotten used to new daily patterns, while taking a walk we detour from our path when we meet another person. You may find yourself staying up later to get things done after the kids go to sleep, or your kids are awake throughout the night, wanting snacks. Many of you tell me you can’t keep track of what day it is; one day blends into another. Others of you who are working full time you wonder how you are going to take a refreshing vacation while sheltering at home. The words of Psalm 42 give voice to our disorientation: “Why are you cast down O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?”
Job has been completely disoriented. He who seemed to have everything; more than any human being could ask for, loses it all in a short span of time…his wealth, his entire family, and his health. In the shock of many losses, Job sits in silence for seven days with his friends sharing his pain. At first, both he and them are speechless. The silence opened a place for Job to access his whole mind and find words to speak his pain.
During the Sanctuary small group this week, we took time to understand the healing power of grief. Ruth Lawson McConnell shared what she learned from psychologist Gordon Neufeld who worked on the premise that frustration underlies all our lives. When we face frustrations, we have three options: 1) Change our external circumstances, 2) adapt, meaning we change our response on the inside, or 3) attack. If we allow ourselves to find what Ruth calls ‘our deep tears of futility’ we can find the resources to adapt to the frustrating changes the pandemic has brought, to ‘live soft-hearted in the world’ instead of attacking.
在本周的圣所小组活动中，我们花时间了解了悲伤的治愈能力。露丝劳森麦康奈尔（Ruth Lawson McConnell）分享了她从心理学家戈登纽菲尔德（Gordon Neufeld）那里学到的知识，在Neufeld的书里他说沮丧是我们生活的基础。当我们面对挫折时，我们有三个选择：1）改变外部环境，2）适应，这意味着我们改变内部的反应，或3）攻击。如果我们让自己找到Ruth所说的“我们徒劳的眼泪”，我们就能找到资源来适应这场流行病所带来的令人沮丧的变化，“以一颗温柔的心活在这个世界上”而不是攻击。
Silence opens a place in us for pain to do its work and then be released by tears. Silence allows us the chance to let pain penetrate our heart… in the words of Psalm 42: ‘deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts, all your waves and billows have swept over me.’ Silence says, “Come more deeply into yourself, in the dark places in which doubt emerged and pain can be perceived, loss can no longer be denied.” Ellen Davis in her book Getting Involved with God, says that “Silence is the friend that challenges us to be healed when we wish simply to be soothed.”
(show image) This sculpture by Albert Gyorgy depicts the way in which silence heals us: first by making us emptier, carving a space in our hearts. From that emptiness, Job finds his voice so that he can speak honestly of pain to himself but also to God. After this… Job opens his mouth and curses not God, but the day he was born. Why didn’t I die at birth? Job asks. ‘Now I would be lying down and quiet. I would be at rest instead of feeling all this pain.’ Job complains to God saying, if he didn’t exist, if he’d never been born, he wouldn’t be suffering so much.
Job’s friend Eliphaz is the first to speak in response to Job’s pain…Eliphaz starts out gently, pointing out how Job has supported others who stumble, strengthened the weak hands, and made firm the feeble knees. But then Eliphaz starts to think he can read God like a book. Eliphaz presumes to know what God is doing. This is dangerous ground. Eliphaz decides that Job must have done something to deserve this suffering, for God to punish him with such unimaginable losses. Both Eliphaz and Job have the same belief system; they believe that God will punish human beings for their sinfulness. The idea that the universe operates according to a system of just deserts… We get what we deserve. God blesses those who obey God’s law; God punishes or curses those who disobey. This was the traditional wisdom of the ancient world. Sinners will be punished by loss of wealth, family, blessings. Righteous will be rewarded with the same. So the reason Job is suffering, according to his friends, is because he must’ve done something to deserve it. Eliphaz and his friends are determined to figure out how Job messed up. Because that would justify his suffering in their minds. But the whole book of Job is an argument against this belief system. God doesn’t punish people by making bad things happen.
Job refuses to buy what Eliphaz is selling. Job insists he has done nothing to deserve his losses. His suffering is not God’s punishment for sin. The silence has given him confidence to speak in the anguish of his spirit not only to himself but directly to God. Job gets angry with God. His anger is a confession of faith because he holds God to account. Job rewrites Psalm 8. You may recall hearing the psalm from a couple weeks ago…’O Lord, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth…when I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers…what are human beings that you are mindful of them, that you care for them?’ Job mockingly restates the psalm, furious at God: “What are human beings that you make so much of them, that you set your mind on them, visit them every morning, test them every moment? Will you not look away from me for a while, let me alone until I swallow my spittle? If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity? Why have you made me your target?”
After his release from a Siberian prison in the Soviet Union, Alexander Solzhenitsyn became famous overnight as a novelist. One day he was summoned to the lavish office of a Soviet official who admired him. In those comfortable surroundings, the agony of the Soviet prison camps seemed very far away. “It is impossible for a man who is warm to understand one who is cold,” Alexander concluded. Job accused his friends, and even God, of the same lack of sympathy.
Job’s friends think they know how God is at work in Job’s suffering, but wisdom starts with admitting what we don’t know. Before all of his losses, Job was piously religious…he prayed and sacrificed to God every day, thanking God for his blessings and asking forgiveness for any sin. Job was pious but he wasn’t yet wise. He doesn’t become wise until he realizes how much he doesn’t know. Job doesn’t understand why he is suffering or how God is at work in his life anymore. So he makes a case against God, arguing toe to toe with God, against the traditional wisdom of his day. Job is determined not to let God off the hook. Job wrestles with his friends, who argue that he deserves his suffering and loss, that he somehow brought it upon himself.
Job’s silence gives him the courage to challenge God, to demand that God meet him in the dark abyss of loss and be revealed to him there. Job’s complaint gives each of us room to pour out our hearts, to be honest with ourselves and with God. This way of being with God may be new for you; the pandemic has been pushing us to do many new things.
Have you made time for silence in these days? Have you made a space in which you can be alone? Such silence will lead to emptiness. God heals us first by making us emptier, carving a space in our hearts healing… God longs to meet us in the silence, and give us words where deep calls to deep, allowing tears of futility to fall, giving us a song to sing in the night. Hope in God, for we will yet again give God praise.
Job 1:1-22 Psalm 6 June 14 2020 TLC
约伯记1:1-22诗篇6 2020年6月14日 TLC
Undeserved Suffering…how do we deal with suffering?
Intro: For the next four weeks, we will be exploring the mystery of suffering. How do we human beings deal with suffering and how God is at work through it all. We will do this by coming alongside Job, a human being who had all you could want and more and lost it. And by praying a psalm of lament, today Psalm 6. The book of Job is part of a collection of wisdom books in the Bible which includes Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs. Job is a legendary hero, not a historical figure who actually lived, but a hero who seemed to have all you could imagine (wealth, family, opportunity) and suddenly, for no apparent reason, Job loses it all. Job is pushed to his limits by senseless, unjust suffering.
We are tempted to buy into a distortion of the good news made real in the dying and rising of Christ; it’s called the prosperity gospel. The idea that good things will happen to those who follow God’s way. This way of thinking is shattered through the parable of Job. If we were to tell the parable of Job in 2020, what might Job’s life look like? There once was a man from La La Land who had everything you could imagine and more. He drove a BMW, ate king crab and lobster every week, owned a yacht and a crew to sail it, owned several million-dollar homes, he and his wife had seven sons and three daughters and never lacked a thing. He didn’t hoard his money; he was generous beyond measure, walking with God in all his dealings with people. There was no one like him on earth. But living right didn’t protect him from suffering.” Several other ancient cultures told stories about Job, not only the Israelites.
In this parable of Job, the heavenly council, God’s leadership team holds a meeting, and surprisingly the divine team includes Satan…. the Satan, in the book of Job is not a character tempting poor souls to evil, wearing a red suit and carrying a pitchfork. Satan is not a name, but a job title best translated as “the accuser”; more like a chief prosecutor in the divine realm, or a CIA detective, who investigates the entire earth. Upon finding Job, the Accuser says to the divine council: “Did you notice my servant Job, that there is no one like him on earth, a man of integrity, and straightforward, who fears God and turns from evil?” The Accuser then asks a question of the divine council: Does Job love God only because everything is going his way? Because he’s been blessed with more than any human being needs? He is a man who lives with privilege; a fence is built around him and everything he has. What if we remove those good things, then Job’s faith would melt away along with his riches and his health? Would Job continue to trust God when his life was falling apart?
在约伯的寓言中，天堂里的议会，上帝的领导团队召开了一次会议，令人惊讶的是，神圣的团队中竟包括撒旦…。《约伯记》中的撒旦并不是一个引诱穷人堕落，身穿红色套衫，手持干草叉的角色。撒旦不是一个名字，而是一个翻译为 “指控者” 的职位；更像是一个神圣领域的首席检察官，或是一个对整个地球进行调查的CIA侦探。找到约伯的时候，指控者对神的议会说：“你注意到我的仆人约伯了吗？世上没有一个人像他一样，一个正直，直率的人，敬畏上帝，远离邪恶？指控者接着向神的议会提出一个问题：约伯之所以爱神是不是因为他事事如意？因为他比任何人都要幸运？他有特权？在他和他所有的一切的周围都筑了篱笆，受到保护？如果我们去除这些好东西，那么约伯的信仰会不会随着他的财富和健康而消失呢？当约伯的生命崩溃时，他还会继续相信上帝吗？
Job’s world crumbled around him. First raiders stole his belongings and slaughtered his servants. Then fire from the sky burned up his sheep, and a mighty wind destroyed his house, killing his sons and daughters. What did Job do in response to these losses? Job tore his clothes, a sign of his deep pain, shaved his head, and fell on the ground…and worshipped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” At first, Job grieved and turned to God, in this statement of trust…the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.
These days we’ve been faced with losses on all sides. With the pandemic, a loss of freedom, loss of financial security, potential loss of mental and physical health. We’ve all been re-oriented from our daily patterns. But now with the unjust killing of yet another black American man George Floyd, pinned between a police officer’s knee and a Minneapolis street, we see the losses faced by African American and Indigenous communities who have endured centuries of racism. The loss of dignity, of being treated with equal respect, the loss of countless opportunities afforded those with white privilege. As we listen to the news, we may be asking: What is happening to the world we’ve known? Can we endure this? Nothing seems to make sense anymore. Or could it be the collective human family is waking up and ready to become WE? Perhaps you, like me, wonder: what is our part in dismantling the ideas that have shaped an unjust society where people suffer loss of dignity every day?
George Floyd was a tall, gregarious, legendary athlete in high school in Houston, Texas. One of his high school classmates, Jonathon Veal, recalled walking home from school 30 years ago with George and a group of friends. As they were all nearing graduation, they were asking one another what they wanted to do with their lives. George turned to Jonathan and said, “I want to touch the world”, thinking then of becoming a professional athlete. Jonathan says, “It was one of the first moments I remembered after learning what happened to George…. He could not have imagined that this is the tragic way people would know his name.” In witnessing the last eight minutes of George’s life when he was arrested for attempting to use counterfeit $20 bill, the world has been galvanized. It’s drawn millions to the streets to protest in spite of the pandemic, speaking with their bodies, demanding change to stop police brutality and systemic racism. The call to defund the police force has been heard by the Minneapolis city council as they seek to reimagine how we build up communities broken down by discrimination. Perhaps Minneapolis can lead the world in reimaging how to build community-based policing, how to live together.
George Floyd在高中时，是德克萨斯州休斯顿市一位高大、善于交际、富有传奇色彩的运动员。他的一位高中同学乔纳森维亚尔（Jonathon Veal）回忆说，30年前，他和乔治一帮朋友一起从学校走回家。当他们快毕业时，他们互相问他们想做什么。乔治转向乔纳森说：“我想接触这个世界”，然后想成为一名职业运动员。乔纳森说：“在得知乔治的遭遇后，这是我第一件想起的时刻…。他无法想象人们会以这种悲惨的方式知道他的名字,”在目睹乔治因试图使用20美元假钞而被捕的最后8分钟时，全世界都被刺痛了，尽管处在一场大流行期间，这还是导致了数以百万计的民众上街抗议。他们与自己身体语言，要求改变，阻止警察的暴行和系统性的种族主义。明尼阿波利斯市议会听到了解散警察部队的呼吁，他们试图重新考虑我们会如何建立被歧视破坏的社区。也许明尼阿波利斯可以引领世界重新思考如何建立社区警务，如何共同生活。
The New York times interviewed several people this week, who shared about the moment in their life that brought him to the streets in protest. Donfard Hubbard, shared about growing up in his North Minneapolis neighbourhood. One day his parents were fighting, and the police were called. When they arrived, the white police officers pointed a gun in seven-year-old Donfard’s face and forced his entire family onto the ground in their front yard at gun point. From that day on, he has never trusted police officers. What would it take to build a world that has not yet been?
《纽约时报》本周采访了几位民众，他们分享了在他们生活中把他们带到街头抗议的那一刻。唐法德哈伯德 （Donfard Hubbard），分享了他在明尼阿波利斯北部社区长大的经历。一天，他的父母正在吵架，警察被叫来了。当他们到达时，那些白人警察用枪指向着7岁的唐法德的脸，在枪口下，他的全家被逼到了他们前院。从那天起，他就再也不信任警察了。要建立一个尚未实现的世界需要什么？
It starts with acknowledging the injustice, simply by saying the names of unarmed black people killed across America by police. On a chain-link fence circling the Silver Lake Reservoir in Los Angeles, a recently installed art protest weaves into the fence over 100 names. Co-organizer Eli Caplan says, “we may hear about the George Floyds, the Breonna Taylors. But for each of those, there are hundreds of other names that get lost…those gunned down by police while unarmed. Say-their-names memorial is part of the shape protest is taking. African American and Indigenous communities have endured unjust suffering in the United States, in Canada.
开始承认不公正，只需说出美国各地被警察杀害的手无寸铁的黑人的名字。在洛杉矶银湖水库周围的铁丝网围栏上，最近安装的一个艺术抗议活动在铁丝网上刻了100多个名字。联合组织者伊莱卡普兰（Eli Caplan）说：“我们可能会听说 George Floyd，Breonna Taylor。但每一个名字背后都会有数百个其他死者的名字…那些在没有武器的情况下被警察枪杀的人。说出他们的名字是抗议活动的一部分。非裔美国人和土著社区在美国和加拿大遭受了不公正的痛苦。
How do we deal with our suffering? With the suffering of our brothers and sisters who are pushed away to the margins by white privilege? Other than turn to alcohol or binge watch Netflix…how do we allow ourselves to weep, to speak out about our pain, to fall on the ground before God? In these days we need to allow room in our lives to grieve, to cry out at the pain and injustice of the world. Black communities across the United States are grieving as they take to the streets, grieving what happened to George Floyd and hundreds more, saying “we are done…time for a change.” As I listened to George Floyd’s funeral aired live from Minneapolis, Rev. Al Sharpton’s words challenged the world: it’s time to take your knee off of our neck!
我们如何对待我们的痛苦？当我们的兄弟姐妹被白人特权推到了边缘？除了酗酒或看看Netflix……我们如何让自己哭泣，说出我们的痛苦，在上帝面前倒在地上？在这些日子里，我们需要让我们的生活有空间去悲伤，去为世界的痛苦和不公而哭泣。全美国的黑人社区都处在悲伤之中，他们走上街头，为乔治弗洛伊德和其他数百人的遭遇而哀伤，说 “我们受够了……是时候改变了”。当我听到乔治弗洛伊德的葬礼在明尼阿波利斯现场直播时，阿尔夏普顿 （Al Sharpton）的话向全世界发出了挑战：是时候把你的膝盖从我们的脖子上挪开了！
Too often, when we suffer loss, we Christ followers think we should only praise and thank God instead allowing ourselves to lament. Job leads us by tearing his clothes, shaving his head and falling on the ground before God…an image of what lament looks like…what grief looks like. The psalms give us the words, if we are unsure how to lament…Psalm 6… “be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror…my soul is struck with terror…how long, O Lord will this go on? …. I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears, I drench my couch with my weeping. My eyes waste away because of grief” …Complaining to God, pleading with God, railing at God, not letting God off the hook for a minute…at last we will be admitted to a mystery. We pass through a door that only pain will open, says Ellen David in her book, Getting Involved with God and are thus qualified to speak of God in a way that others, whom we generally call more fortunate, cannot speak.
很多时候，当我们遭受损失时，我们基督的追随者认为我们应该只称赞和感谢上帝，而不是让自己哀怨。约伯带领我们撕破衣服，剃光头，在上帝面前伏倒在地……哀叹的样子……悲伤的样子。如果我们不知道如何哀叹，诗篇教给我们这样的话， …诗篇第6篇…“耶和华啊，求你可怜我，因为我软弱！耶和华啊，求你医治我，因为我的骨头发战…我的心也大大地惊惶…耶和华啊，你要到几时才救我呢？…. 我因唉哼而困乏，我每夜流泪，把床榻漂起，把褥子湿透。”……向上帝抱怨，向上帝求情，对上帝怒斥，一分钟都不让上帝脱身……最后我们将进入一个神秘的世界。 “我们通过一扇只有痛苦才能打开的门，” 埃伦大卫 （Ellen David）在她的书中说，与上帝接触(Getting Involved with God)，这样我们才有资格用那些通常被认为更幸运的人不能说的方式来谈论上帝。
As Job falls on the ground, and soon finds himself covered in boils. Suffering alone, his wife tells him to curse God, but three of his friends show up, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. They met together to go and console and comfort him. When they see him, they raise their voices and weep aloud, tore their robes in grief and threw dust upon their heads. They sat with him on the ground for seven days and nights, an no one spoke a word to him. Those seven days of silence where they share his grief lead to a transition for Job. In the Jewish tradition this is called “sitting shiva” a form of care for those who are grieving. In the shared silence, Job finds the words to speak his whole mind, to admit the pain of all he has suffered. Are we listening to the pain of George Floyd’s family and community?
约伯跌倒在地，很快就发现身上长满了疖子。独自受苦，他妻子叫他咒诅神，但他的三个朋友，以利法 (Eliphaz)，彼勒达 (Bildad)，琐法 (Zophar)，都来了。他们聚在一起去安慰他。当他们看见他时，就高声哀哭，撕裂衣服，把尘土撒在头上。他们和约伯一起在地上坐了七天七夜，没有人跟他说话。七天的沉默让他们分担了他的悲伤，这导致了约伯的转变。在犹太传统中，这被称为 “坐地湿婆” （服丧七日）一种照顾那些悲伤的人的形式。在共同的沉默中，约伯找到了表达他全部思想的话语，承认他所遭受的一切痛苦。我们在倾听乔治弗洛伊德的家庭和社区的痛苦吗？
If we listen, perhaps we will we be brave enough to imagine a new way of living together? What might our neighbourhoods look like? Maybe a place where people all come outside together, like a mother of a Grade 6 student in North Delta shared this week…she didn’t know until the pandemic that seven kids lived in their cul-de-sac…she thought there were only three her son’s age. Now there are basketball hoops and seven new kids outside together.
如果我们倾听，也许我们会勇敢地想象一种新的生活方式。我们的社区会是什么样子？也许是一个人们都聚集在外面的地方，比如本周North Delta 的一个六年级学生的母亲分享……直到大流行爆发，她才知道七个孩子住在他们的钥匙扣里……她原以为只有三个和她儿子一样大的孩子。现在外面有篮球网，七个孩子在一起。
Holy Trinity Sunday, June 7, Trinity Lutheran, Delta BC
Texts – Psalm 8:1,4,5,9 – O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! What are human beings (sons and daughters of the earth) that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion... O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
诗 8:5你叫他比天使〔或译： 神〕微小一点，并赐他荣耀尊贵为冠冕。
Matthew 28:16,17, 19,20 – Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted (could be and doubted)... Go therefore and make disciples of all (Gentiles) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
马太福音28:16、17、19、20 16 十一个门徒往加利利去，到了耶稣约定的山上。 17 他们见了耶稣就拜他，然而还有人疑惑。 ….. 19 所以你们要去，使万民做我的门徒，奉父、子、圣灵的名给他们施洗[a]， 20 凡我所吩咐你们的，都教训他们遵守。我就常与你们同在，直到世界的末了。”
O precious ones of God, grace to you and peace, from God the Creator, God the son and God the Holy Spirit, three in One. Amen.
How ARE YOU these days? This isn’t a question to be asked or taken lightly. How are you doing in the light or darkness of COVID 19, when so many people have become ill and died – particularly those most vulnerable, older people, people who have to go to work because they have jobs that don’t pay them enough to stay home ever, people who have no homes for many, many different reasons. How are you doing when to be physically safe we are prevented from gathering together to hug, to be with each other in large groups – even as faith communities to celebrate weddings or anniversaries, to mourn together? Yes, how are you doing?
I must confess, these days I am ... DISTURBED. I am deeply disturbed as I have watched the video of a white police officer in Minneapolis pressing his knee violently on the neck of George Floyd, a black man until Mr. Floyd died. I am disturbed as 3 other police officers watched Mr. Floyd die. I am disturbed as I read about a black man in Georgia out jogging and then being shot and killed by two white men. And I am disturbed as the reality continues to unfold regarding Regis Korchinski-Pacquet, a young black woman in Toronto who fell to her death after police were called to her home.
我必须承认，这些天我有些不安。当我看到明尼阿波利斯 （Minneapolis）的一名白人警官用膝盖猛压在黑人George Floyd的脖子上，直到弗洛伊德先生去世的视频时，我深感不安。当其他三名警察看着弗洛伊德先生死去时，我也很不安。当我读到乔治亚州 （Georgia）的一名黑人男子在外慢跑，然后被两名白人开枪打死时，我感到不安。多伦多一名年轻的黑人妇女，里吉斯科尔钦斯基（Regis Korchinski Pacquet），在警察被叫到她家之后摔死，同样的现实令我感到不安。
I am also disturbed as I face racism here at home. A few short weeks ago an elderly Chinese man was literally shoved out of what I think was a convenience store in Vancouver, falling to the sidewalk. I am disturbed when I hear about serious verbal assaults and even physical attacks being launched at innocent people, simply because they are of Chinese or certain Asian heritage. And I continue to be disturbed, although ashamedly I must confess, my frustration and anger ebb as I get busy in my life, over the reality of the way I myself and many of the majority of Canadians have treated our first Nations people. If you doubt me witness the reality of Missing and Murdered indigenous women and girls, go over the different testimonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The racism, the hatred, the injustice and violence perpetrated against minority people is not just a major problem in the United States. It is also a major problem for we Canadians. Nor is it only a problem amongst the police and judiciary. It is also our problem – yours and mine – often living, flickering or roaring within us.
So I ask, “What we are called to do and be as Christians in the midst of these realities, the prejudice, racism and injustice around us and within us?”
As I watch the protests unfold in Minneapolis, London, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver – some peaceful, some violent, I am sure that I cannot even begin to fully understand what those people protesting are thinking and feeling. After all I am a white male, very middle class. I have enjoyed my white privilege for all of my life. Should the police pull me over their guns are not drawn. It has never even entered my mind that they may hurt me or worse yet kill me, my wife, my children or grandchildren. I have felt free to go for a jog or a walk anytime day or night whenever, wherever I want. But that isn’t true for my daughters or my wife who are white and very middle class. Sometimes they are the ones to remind me that Not everyone is safe in our society!
Given all of this – what are we, we who seek to follow Jesus, who are convinced that God is sovereign of the earth and cares deeply about all people and all creatures, what are we to do and be? Is this violence, hatred, violence God’s fault? Why is God allowing it? Is it God’s responsibility because God has had the audacity to give we human beings degrees of freedom: to organize ourselves in societies as we see fit, to allot power to those with the most wealth - to explore new lands while exploiting resources and plundering the earth and many of her creatures? Is it God’s fault that as we have done this we have even gone back on our promises made to peoples long ago as we “claimed” their land?
As human beings we have a tendency to assign blame – especially to others. I have observed children do that again and again when there’s an accident at home or at school, “It was him, it was her, it was anybody but ME!”
So, we could seek to blame God for all of this, but doing so avoids our part in creating such injustice, in perpetrating it. Doing so would also in no way address the problem. Psalm 8 shows us that God has entrusted us with significant responsibility to care for each other and all creatures.
Many times Psalm 8 has brought peace and order to my life reminding me that God is God – and that I am not. This is most certainly true. Look and see creation, from our tiny sphere of this earth and the earth’s amazing wonder to the universe, or at least what little we can glimpse of it, the stars and sun in the sky, a planet or two. God the Creator is God and we are not. Thankfully this is true.
But Psalm 8 also confronts us with more truth. As we look at the stars and the moon we are told that God is very mindful of us, we creatures of the earth. We are called by God to care for the earth, fellow human beings, all other creatures and plants. This is our vocation.
And that is humbling. Frankly when we hear that call – I mean really hear it not just with our ears but with our minds and our hearts – well, we can no longer focus solely or most importantly only on ourselves, or our nuclear families or congregations. To be sure, that is disturbing. This call and awareness of our interconnectedness with each other from God shakes us out of our comfort zones to be aware and care about and with and for each other. To do so we need to be still and listen, listen for God, listen for what others are saying and doing, listen to what is going on inside of us. Such listening takes practice, discipline, intention. The resulting dislocation, this being disturbed though difficult can be very, very good – for us, for others and for creation. . .
Such disturbance has caused me to hear today’s gospel lesson in a completely new way.
Can you imagine how disturbed the disciples must have been to see Jesus after his death, now alive, back in Galilee where everything had started for them together? I’m not sure that we ever can imagine how disturbing that must have been for them. They had witnessed his arrest, his great struggles with the oppressive systems he continually encountered, with their own lack of trust in him, with their abandonment of him. Even if they hadn’t personally witnessed his death, being too afraid to be present, they certainly had heard graphic descriptions of his horrific suffering and death on the cross.
But now, today, HE IS ALIVE. HE MEETS THEM BACK IN GALILEE WHERE HE HAD FIRST CALLED THEM. And now He sends them out – those people who had failed him so miserably – who even now when they see him worship him and doubt. That’s right, even now, with him right in front of them, they worship him and doubt. Who can blame them? Whether they doubted at first that he was alive or whether they doubted their own ability to do any of what Jesus is commanding them to do – to go and make disciples, baptizing in the name of the triune God AND teaching them, these new learners, disciples to do everything that Jesus commanded them – to love their enemies, to pray for those who persecute you – to give to any in need – live with great faith, hope and love. How could any of this be? (bp)
But WE NEED TO KNOW THIS. Jesus’ commission isn’t just for those 11 or the thousands, or millions who have come after them attempting to follow Jesus. No, Jesus’ commission is also for us. We are to go and make disciples, to baptize and teach all that Jesus has taught us. We can only do that by living discipleship ourselves.
This commission from Jesus is both disturbing and miraculously, incredibly hopeful. It’s disturbing because we are called to action – to be and do, in the light of Christ’s love and authority. We are to show and be examples of what we ourselves have experiencing and know – the love, the mercy, the dream of Jesus the Christ: life matters to God infinitely: black life, indigenous life, Asian life, Caucasian life, the life of this planet and all it enfolds.
Why else would Jesus come, suffer, die and be raised but to show us God’s love for us, God’s power to lift us up form death, hatred, fear, brokenness with each other, with God and with creation, delivering us sometimes kicking and screaming to new life, a different life. Sometimes, maybe always, we need to be dislocated, disturbed from where we are to realize who God is, to be open to God’s presence so that we can see and be reminded of whose we are and who we are called to be.
We are sinners and saints. We are the people who too often have hatred, fear, prejudice arise and flow out from our hearts and minds. We are also people who too often will take the path of least resistance and remain silent even as we see abuse, neglect or ourselves benefit from such abuse or neglect. We people need to see this, to be honest about it, to be turned to God and to be redirected, empowered by God to be different, to be the people God names us as in our baptisms, to be reflectors of Jesus the Christ, his love, his burning ardor for justice and mercy – especially for those who are most vulnerable.
As such we are to be people of hope. Not the kind of false hope that lotteries sell – having us imagine that if we just had a million or ten million or gazillions millions all would be well. That’s not true.
It’s not true because life matters. Until all lives matter and all are treated with justice we are far less than God intends.
So, yes I am disturbed. I trust that many of you are also disturbed. Although that may make us and many uncomfortable– it is necessary for us to be changed and for us to be included among the agents of change that God calls us to be in this world.
May God help us not to resort to self escaping blame of others in this time of disturbance. Instead may God move us to a living, active disturbing hope as we face the darkness of this present time both within and without.
As the church father Augustine once wrote, “Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger at the way things are and courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”
May God move us through the Spirit to such honesty with ourselves and others to such hope, including both anger and courage for the good, the safety, the well being of all, particularly those who are now being excluded the daily bread of justice, love and safety.
And now may God the FATHER/MOTHER/CREATOR, SON/REDEEMER/SUFFERER, SPIRIT/STIRRER/COMFORTER lead us in this disturbance to hope for all. Amen.
I Corinthians 12:1-13, Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost May 31, 2020 TLC
Gifts of the Spirit
Two thousand years ago, the Spirit showed up on Pentecost, in Hebrew Shavuot, the Jewish Feast of Weeks, 50 days after the dying and rising of Christ. All the disciples were gathered together in a home for the festival in Jerusalem. Suddenly the rush of a violent wind filled the house where they were sitting, and tongues of fire rested on each of them and they began to speak other languages as the Spirit gave them power.
两千年前，圣灵在五旬节 (Pentecost) 显现，希伯来语是Shavuot，在基督死亡和复活的50天后，犹太人连续几个星期庆祝的节日。门徒都聚集在耶路撒冷 (Jerusalem) 的家里过节。突然一阵狂风吹过他们的房屋，火舌掠过他们，他们开始说不同的语言，好像圣灵赐给了他们这个能力。
A Mighty Wind surprised them, took their breath away with tongues of fire descending upon each of them as they were then filled with the ability to speak multiple languages. They weren’t ready for this…it was not something they expected. The Spirit of the living God blew in, with and through them to transcend differences between peoples, build a bridge between nations, cultures and languages. Now, as we fight an invisible enemy and seek to protect our neighbours who speak many different languages, we need the Spirit to build bridges between us, to break down stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination.
When the mighty wind showed up some three thousand people were drawn around them, from all the nations: Greeks, Arabs, Romans, Africans, and Asians could understand what the disciples were saying about God’s acts of power in their own languages. As they heard what God was doing, they were moved to respond and some three thousand joined the disciples in following the way of the Risen Christ. The Spirit brought them together as one, united by a common understanding. And the good news went viral, not through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter but one person to another, sharing good news. The good news of God becoming one of us, entering into our deepest pain and suffering, transforming it on the cross, rising to bring hope and healing to the world.
This week we grieve the senseless, violent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during his police arrest. That viral video led to peaceful protests that turned violent in Minneapolis with burning and looting of buildings. The video shows the knee of the police officer on Floyd’s neck as he cries out: “I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe” and finally stops moving. George Floyd died shortly afterwards. This shows us the kind of brutality we human beings are capable of when instead of good news, prejudice and discrimination, are passed from person to person, down through the generations.
这个星期，我们为乔治弗洛伊德 (George Floyd) 在明尼苏达州明尼阿波利斯市 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)警方逮捕期间的无谓暴力死亡而感到悲痛。这段视频导致了明尼阿波利斯的和平抗议活动演变成了暴力，抢劫和焚烧建筑。这段视频显示，警察的膝盖压在 Floyd的脖子上，他大声喊道：“我不能喘气，我不能喘气”，最后不动了。乔治弗洛伊德之后不久就去世了。这向我们展示了， 当代代相传的不是好消息，而是偏见和歧视时，人类会何等残忍。
Whenever we judge someone as less than or not worthy, based on the color of their skin, we fail to see them as fully human. This happens whenever we look at someone and think “I am better than you.” This week during Sanctuary, we learned about the stigma associated with those who struggle with mental health. Stigma originally referred to “a mark or sign of disgrace of discredit.” The word stigma comes from the slave trade; a mark slave masters placed on men, women and children brought from Africa to the American colonies that gave them an enslaved identity. Their own story was no longer valid for identifying themselves. They became chattel, property owned by their slave master. Stigma today refers to the experience of being set apart or seen negatively due to stereotyping. Prejudice and discrimination happen, not only between people whose skin color differs, but also with the hidden struggles with mental health. Three out of four people who are diagnosed with mental illness experience stigma. With the pandemic causing grief in many ways among us, we can be certain that behind every door in our neighbourhood of well-manicured lawns is pain. People may not admit it. Those who already struggle with mental health may isolate themselves even more. What can unbind the power of stigma?
To each one of us, Paul tells the Corinthians, has been given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To manifest something is to reveal it, to show it, to make it real. When you show up with another and take time to listen to them pour out their heart, to be open about their struggles, you unbind the power of stigma, you allow them to become fully human. Each of us has a way that the Spirit shows up through us in order to build up others. That includes YOU! You have been given a gift of the Spirit of the living God in order to build up everyone around you. How many of us wake up every morning and think, I wonder how the Spirit is going to move through me today to build up someone else?
保罗对哥林多人 (Corinthians) 说，我们每一个人，都被圣灵赐予了为了共同利益的灵。展现某物就是揭示它，展示它，使它成为现实。当你出现在另一个人面前，花时间倾听他们的心声，用开放的态度去面对他们的挣扎，你就解开了耻辱的束缚，并让他们成为完全的人。我们每个人都有一种方式，使圣灵通过我们显现出来，以建立其他人。这也包括你自己！你们都拥有永生神的属灵恩赐，去建立你们周围的人。我们当中有多少人每天早上醒来会想，我想知道今天圣灵会如何通过我去建立另一个人？
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes about spiritual gifts entrusted to each of us, not only to the followers in ancient city of Corinth or to the 12 disciples or to pastors, but to each of us. It is only through the Holy Spirit that anyone can say Jesus is Lord of every created thing in the universe including us. We cannot by our own reason or understanding trust Jesus Christ or come to him, but the Holy Spirit has called us through the good news and given us spiritual gifts. By spiritual gift, we are not talking about a gifted individual who has the ability to get ahead, earn the admiration of others or get promoted at work. A spiritual gift is a way God’s mercy and grace are released into the community for the common good. When our abilities are energized by the Spirit for the common good, they are no longer oriented towards self-interest and promotion.
The City of Delta’s Mayor George Harvey and his wife chose to give 10% of the mayor’s salary, $16,000 to Deltassist and the Delta Hospital Foundation. The Spirit has energized them to release what’s entrusted to them for the common good, exercising the spiritual gift of generosity. The City of Delta staff has pooled their resources to exercise the spiritual gift of generosity, in the midst of the uncertainty of economic impact of the pandemic, together raising: over $17,000 for organizations that build up the common good.
Delta市市长乔治哈维 (George Harvey) 和他的妻子选择将市长工资的10%，共计1.6万加元捐给Delta 互助协会和Delta医院基金会。圣灵激励他们为着共同利益，释放自己所赋予的，发挥了他们在慷慨这方面的属灵恩赐。在这场大流行对经济影响的不确定性中，Delta市的工作人员发挥他们慷慨大方的属灵恩赐， 汇集他们的资源，共同募集，为构建共同利益的机构筹集了17,000 加元。
What gifts have you been given by the Spirit? Gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, mercy, generosity, encouragement, healing, administration, hospitality. The TLC youth exercised the gifts of mercy and encouragement by putting together and delivering care bags. Hilde received hers last week and offered this reflection: Thank you for the wonderful package of goodies…from the turquoise bag, with floral art and my name on it, the comforting letter mentioning my mother and my children, the card of prayers to find meditative music and prayer, and light the candle while listening to the song. Then the card of the hummingbird butterfly and flower to colour and share with a friend…. the lovely Jergens moisturizers, and of course, all the sweets. Thank you again. All this arrived the week of my 78th birthday, so it was extra special. My very best, Love, Hilde.
When we exercise spiritual gifts, people receive God’s grace and mercy. We are one body with many members…we are all interconnected in Christ, like a grove of Douglas Firs connected to the mother nursery tree, God’s Spirit…is a benefit with which we are graced for the common good, the benefit of all those around us, for the world…a gift of grace we are freely given.
当我们运用属灵的恩赐时，人们就会领受到神的恩典和怜悯。我们是一个身体，有许多成员…我们在基督里彼此连接，就像一片道格拉斯冷杉林 (Douglas Firs)，都连在母树上，上帝的灵…是一种恩惠，我们因着共同的利益，因着我们周围所有人的利益而接受恩典， …我们被赐予的恩惠礼物。
Now may the peace that surpasses human understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 15:1-12, 51-52, 54b-57 Life After Death May 24, 2020
哥林多前书 15: 1-12, 51 -52, 54b-57 死后的生命
For the last two months we have all been starved to hear some good news. Last Sunday was the eighth and final edition of SGN, John Krasinski’s weekly news show; a counterpoint to the major news headlines, he’s been keen to show how human beings are being raised up during the pandemic by celebrating stories of front-line health workers. In one episode, John surprises a teen with Miranda Lin Manuel and the cast of Alexander Hamilton singing her favorite song, on another he hosts a virtual prom dance with a visit to the astronauts on the international space station and guest Billie Eilish. If you haven’t seen it, just google SGN.
在过去的两个月里，我们都渴望听到一些好消息。上周日是约翰克拉辛斯基（John Krasinski）每周新闻节目SGN的第八期，也是最后一期；与主要标题新闻不同的是，他一直热衷于通过庆祝前线卫生工作者的故事，来展示在大流行期间人类是如何受鼓舞的。在其中某一期节目中，约翰与米兰达林曼纽尔 (Miranda Lin Manuel) 和亚历山大汉密尔顿 (Alexander Hamilton) 的演员一起演唱了她最喜欢的歌曲，而在另一期节目中，他主持了一场虚拟舞会，拜访了国际空间站的宇航员和嘉宾比利艾利斯 (Billie Eilish)。如果你还没看过，可以在网上搜索 SGN.
Around the world we’ve been digging graves. Perhaps you’ve seen the mass graves on Hart Island in NYC is a burial ground for those who’ve died from COVID19 and whose bodies are unclaimed or those whom the overwhelmed funeral homes cannot bury. As businesses open up, we are bracing for a second wave of outbreak. The reality of death surrounds us in the daily reports of infection rates and deaths in our province and around the world.
在世界各地都在挖坟墓。也许你见过纽约哈特岛上 (Hart Island) 的万人坑，那是为那些死于COVID19，尸体无人认领的人，或者那些不堪重负的殡仪馆无法埋葬的人准备的墓地。随着工商企业的开放，我们正准备迎接第二轮的爆发。在省里和世界各地的每日感染率和死亡报告中，我们意识到自己被死亡的现实围绕。
But death is not merely the last breath we take. Death is all those forces that diminish life…that rob all living things of life and dignity. Moving into the third month of physical distancing, we are discovering new ways of being together, of stepping out of overpacked schedules, trying new hobbies, growing vegetables, and listening to artists produce music that lifts us beyond ourselves. But on the whole, we are being robbed of life. Crisis help lines are continuously busy…across Canada this last week, 8000 people have stepped forward to offer support to those who are struggling with mental health. Offering to help others will contribute to our own mental well-being. I know that was the case for me last weekend, as I had the incredible privilege of delivering a few care bags put together by TLC youth. Having a brief conversation outside someone’s home, just seeing another human being whom you know face to face, helps you to breathe more deeply, filling your lungs with life-giving oxygen molecules.
The words of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians stands in stark contrast to the death-dealing pandemic: “Remember the good news in which you stand, through which you are being saved...hold firmly to this message.” What is the good news? Though death is real, it’s all around us, we will not be swept away in the end. We need not fear death; because Jesus Christ died and was raised, we too shall be raised. And raised not only after our physical death, but as the pandemic restrictions are lifted, we are being raised up from all the forces that diminish our lives. In brief, outdoor, face-to-face two-meter distant conversations, we are raised up to new life.
This account of the resurrection in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is the first one written down…twenty years after the crucifixion, before Matthew, Mark, Luke and John told their versions of the resurrection. Some of the Christ followers in Corinth were teaching that the resurrection didn’t happen. Dead bodies don’t come back to life. They decompose. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But Paul says the risen Christ appeared to Peter, then the 12 disciples. Then to more than five hundred people at one time, most of whom are still alive. Paul then shares his own account… the risen Christ appeared even to me, the least of all people, unworthy of being chosen and sent by God, for I was hellbent on wiping out the Jesus movement, silencing those who shared good news.
这篇保罗写给哥林多的书信第一次记载了对复活的描述……这写在耶稣受难二十年后，在马太、马可、路加和约翰讲述他们的复活版本之前。在哥林多 （Corinth）的一些基督信徒教导说，基督的复活并没有发生。死尸不会复活，它们会腐烂，尘归尘，土归土。但保罗说，复活的基督向彼得 （Peter）显现，然后向十二个门徒显现。然后在500多人前显现，他们中的大多数还活着。保罗也分享了自己的经历…复活的基督甚至向我显现，在所有人中最不配的，不配被神拣选，因为我一心要消灭耶稣运动，这让那些传讲福音的人哑口无言。
Paul was blinded by a light that brought him to his knees enroute to Damascus to round up Christ followers and bring them bound to Jerusalem. Falling to the ground, Paul, then called Saul, heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” Saul said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city, you’ll be told what to do next.” Though his eyes were open, Saul could see nothing. His companions were dumbfounded, because they could hear the voice but see no one. So they led him by the hand into Damascus…Saul’s old way of walking with God was dying. And his eyes were beginning to open to a new way. Three days he continued blind. He ate nothing. He drank nothing. Until he met Ananias
保罗围捕基督的追随者，要把他们绑去耶路撒冷，在他去大马士革 (Damascus) 的路上，被一道光击瞎了双眼，跪倒在地。保罗，当时的名字是扫罗，仆倒在地， 听见有声音说：“扫罗，扫罗，你为什么逼迫我？”扫罗说，主啊，你是谁？“我是耶稣，你要追捕的那个人。我要你起来进城去。在城里，有人会告诉你下一步该怎么办。”虽然扫罗睁大眼睛，却什么也看不见。他的同伴们目瞪口呆，因为他们能听到声音却看不到任何人。于是他们牵着他的手进了大马士革 (Damascus) ……扫罗旧的与神同行方式结束了。他的眼睛开始有了新的方向。持续三天，他什么也看不见，他不吃不喝直到他遇见亚拿尼亚 (Ananias).
Ananias was called to stand to stand in good news, but it didn’t sound like good news at first. He was called to a rhythm of dying to his own way of doing things and rising to trust God and love his enemies. While praying, Ananias was nudged by the Spirit to go find Saul who’d been blinded. At first, Ananias protests: “Master, I’ve heard about this guy. You can’t be serious. Everyone is talking about this guy and all the terrible things he’s been doing. His reign of terror against those who follow your new way. He’ll carry us off to jail, torture or worse.” But the Spirit says, “Go, for I’ve called him out to bring this new way to all people everywhere.” Dying to his fear, Ananias is left the comfort of his home to risk meeting Saul. As Ananias prays for Saul, something like scales fall from his eyes, and he can see. He gets to his feet, is baptized and sits down to eat with them all.
亚拿尼亚 (Ananias)被呼召为好消息站台，但这在一开始听起来不像是好消息。他被呼召走进一个新的乐章，在旧的生活方式中死去，在相信上帝，爱自己的仇敌的过程中复活。祷告的时候，亚拿尼亚被圣灵带领去寻找那个瞎了眼的扫罗。起初，亚拿尼亚抗议道：“主啊，我听说过这个人。你不可能是认真的。每个人都在谈论这个家伙和他做的所有可怕的事。他对那些追随你新道路的人的恐怖统治。他会把我们送进监狱，折磨我们甚至更糟。”但圣灵说，“去吧，因为我已经叫他把这条新的道路带给世界各地的所有人。” 亚拿尼亚战胜了恐惧，他没有停留在自己的舒适区 ，他冒险去见了扫罗。亚拿尼亚为扫罗祷告的时候，好像有鳞从他眼里掉下来，他就看见了。他站起来，受洗，坐下来和他们一起吃饭。
Paul met the Resurrected Lord on the road, through Ananias, and was raised up to a new way of seeing himself, his fellow human beings, and God’s work in the world. Paul is still amazed that God chose him, and called him to share good news, as he writes: By the grace of God, I am what I am.
Last Friday, I was invited by a friend to kayak out of Steveston harbor around Westham Island…what was thought to be a three hour tour turned out to be a bit longer, so by the time we were ready to cross the Fraser River back to Steveston harbor, I was quite worn out. We watched a couple tugboats pass by with barges before we attempted to cross, we were trying to paddle past an island and into Steveston harbor. Half-way, I discovered that the current was sweeping me quickly downstream, where I would miss the harbor entrance. So I called out to my friend and decided to paddle onto the island rather than around it. For a few minutes, I knew what it would be like to be swept away by forces greater than I could overcome.
上周五，我受一个朋友的邀请，划皮划艇离开西咸岛 (Westham Island) 附近的史蒂文斯顿港 (Steveston Harbor) ……原本以为是三个小时的旅行，结果时间长了一点，所以当我们准备穿越弗雷泽河 (Fraser River) 回到史蒂文斯顿港时，我已经精疲力尽了。我们看着两艘拖船载着驳船经过，然后我们试图横渡，我们试图划过一个岛屿，进入史蒂文斯顿港。半路上，我发现水流很快把我冲到下游，而我会错过港口的入口。所以我向我的朋友喊了一声，决定划到岛上，而不是绕着岛转。在这几分钟里，我知道了被我无法克服的力量冲走是什么感觉。
For many, the pandemic has threatened wash away their hopes and dreams. The retirement funds have decreased in value dramatically. They’ve been laid off from their job or will be forced to close their small business. They struggle to pay their mortgage. Working from home while homeschooling their kids has taken a toll on their mental health. COVID 19 has claimed the life of their loved ones, whom they cannot imagine living without.
Good news lays hold of us, keeps us from being dragged away in the overwhelming current of anxiety, fear, loss of income and meaningful connections… together we stand waist deep in good news. As restrictions lift, Christ Jesus who was raised from death, promises to raise us up day after day, filling us with the breath of life.
I Corinthians 13:1-13 and the greatest is love TLC May 17, 2020
哥林多前书 13： 1- 13 最伟大的是爱 TLC 2020年 5月17日
Welcome: The foundation, cornerstone of our life together in Christ is love. Not a sentimental, romantic or convenient love but what Paul in his letter to the Corinthians called agape: a love freely given for the sake of another. Whoever loves this way is born of God and knows God, for God is love, God is agape.
欢迎词：我们共同生活在基督里的基石，就是爱。不是感性的、浪漫的或随便的爱，而是保罗 (Paul) 写给哥林多 (Corinth) 信中所说的爱：为了他人而自由付出的爱。凡使用这种方式去爱的人，他源于神，认识神。因为神是爱，神是阿加贝。
Message: Like many of you, I’ve been trying some new recipes during the pandemic. And since we only shop once a week, we don’t always have the ingredients we need…so we either ask a neighbour for help or make do without it (improvise). But some ingredients are key; the dish won’t work without it. The other day we wanted to make pizza crust and we didn’t have any yeast. Yeast is a key ingredient in pizza crust. Uschi heard what we needed, she couldn’t find any at the grocery store, but she insisted on sharing some of the yeast she had in her cupboard, dropping it in our mailbox. Thank you Uschi!
The first Christ followers after Jesus died and rose in the ancient Roman city of Corinth were struggling to get along with one another; they seemed to be missing a key ingredient for life together. After Paul had established their community a year earlier, conflicts had erupted about which leader they followed, whether or not to eat food sacrificed to idols, how to worship together. So in his letter to the Christ followers, Paul names the most important ingredient for life together: love.
In the original languages of the Bible: Hebrew, the word for Love is hesed, meaning loving kindness, mercy, faithfulness, loyalty, and steadfast love. And in Greek, there are more than three words describing different kinds of love: philio (brotherly affection…you rub my back, I’ll rub yours), eros (sexual attraction for another) and agape (love willing to give for the sake of the other). Agape and Hesed come from God, poured out on the cross, as a gift to the human family.
I Corinthians 13 is likely the most popular scripture text used for couples getting married…it is quoted as a slogan for weddings, printed on napkins and programs, even engraved on wedding rings. Faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love. Love never ends. When a couple is standing at the altar, they are overflowing with of all kinds of love…definitely eros, hopefully philio and if the marriage lasts more than a year, they will have discovered agape. But when Paul wrote these words, he was declaring agape as the greatest power in a community that seemed to lack it, seemed it was in short supply as they fought about all kinds of things. The situation in Corinth is a far cry from a young couple gazing at one another with adoration, promising lifelong faithfulness.
《哥林多前书第13章》可能是最受欢迎的圣经文本，用于新婚夫妇……在婚礼上被引用，印在餐巾纸和节目单上，甚至刻在结婚戒指上。如今长存的有信、望和爱，其中最伟大的就是爱。爱永不止息。当一对夫妇站在祭坛上，他们充满了各种各样的爱……当然有性爱 (eros)，希望有兄弟般的爱 (philio)，如果婚姻持续一年以上，他们会发现阿加贝 (agape)。但当保罗写下这些字时，他宣称阿加贝 (agape) 是这个社区里最强大的力量，可这个社区似乎缺乏这种力量，当他们为各种各样的事情而斗争时，这种力量似乎是紧缺的。哥林多 （Corinth）的情况与一对年轻夫妇朝思暮想、承诺终生忠诚的情景相去甚远。
Paul says that human achievements are nothing without love, without agape…you can win awards for your Toastmasters speech but without love, you are a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. You can earn your doctorate in astrophysics, uncovering mysteries of the universe, but if you do not have love, you are nothing. You can even exercise faith to move Mount Seymour but do not have love, you are nothing. You could sell your home worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and give it to the homeless, but if do not have love, you gain nothing. Love, agape, is the missing ingredient; without it, we are nothing.
保罗说，没有爱，没有阿加贝 (agape) ，人类的成就就没有意义……你可以为你的演讲赢得奖项，但如果没有爱，你就是一个嘈杂的锣或铿锵的钹。你可以获得天体物理学博士的学位，揭开宇宙奥秘，但如果你没有爱，你就什么都不是。你甚至可以有信心，挪动西摩山（Mount Seymour），但没有爱，你什么都不是。你可以卖掉价值几十万美元的房子，把它送给无家可归的人，但如果没有爱，你所作的就毫无意义。爱，阿加贝，是缺失的成分；没有爱，我们什么都不是。
I Corinthians is typically heard in a wedding ceremony just before a couple is about to speak their marriage vows, affirming their love for one another. But when Paul first wrote those words, he didn’t write to the Corinthians about agape as a way to affirm what is already happening among them. He introduces a new way of being together that is absolutely necessary if they are to survive as a diverse group with many different worldviews, cultures, and expectations. The Corinthians didn’t come from similar backgrounds. They didn’t share similar values and experiences. Quite the opposite. They needed more than a sentimental, feel good kind of love. They needed a love that gives freely, no strings attached, even at great cost to the giver.
During the pandemic, what does agape look like?
Agape is staying home even when your business is in danger of closing, cancelling your travel plans in favor of backyard BBQ’s, all the while trying not to eat potato chips and ice cream continuously.
Agape/love is staying awake for meaningful conversation past bedtime because that’s the time when a loved one wants to talk.
Agape/Love is wearing a mask in the grocery store to protect your neighbour from the virus.
Agape/Love is buying one package of T.P. so that others will have what they need.
Agape/Love is TLC youth delivering care bags to those who live alone and haven’t had a hug or any caring human touch in 9 weeks, to those who work in essential services, risking infection while everyone else stays home.
What does love look like? A nurse at the bedside of a COVID19 patient in ICU. As we recognize International Nurse week, we lift up 400,000 nurses across Canada who work in the most difficult times of people’s lives. Worried whether or not their PPE will protect them from the virus, nurses are removing all contaminated clothing before entering their home, sleeping in the garage, or an RV in the driveway. Fear of bringing the virus home to infect their families can be the heaviest burden they carry.
As Lutherans, we trust that I Corinthians or any passage from the Bible speaks both law and gospel to us. The law is like a mirror, showing us where we fail to live as God calls us to live. I don’t’ know about you, but while “staying home together” patience may be in short supply. When we hear “Love is patient…we may realize we have failed to love.” That’s the law speaking to us. The law is more than the ten commandments; the law is any portion of scripture that shows us our sin, our need for forgiveness. As we read I Corinthians, we hear that “love is kind, not irritable or resentful” …as I went to buy a special treat of Krispy Kreme donuts for Mother’s Day, I found myself irritable as more than 50 cars waited in the drive through line…drove to Tim Hortons with a shorter line and lost it when someone took forever to order. Seems that comfort food is in demand these days.
作为路德教会的信徒（Lutherans），我们相信哥林多前书或圣经中的任何一段，都会对我们讲律法和福音。法律就像一面镜子，向我们展示了在哪些地方我们没有按上帝呼召我们的去做。我不知道你们的情况，但在“待在家里”的时候，可能会欠缺耐心。当我们听到“爱是恒久忍耐……我们可能会意识到我们没有去爱。”这就是律法对我们说的。律法不只是十诫；律法是圣经里任何让我们认识自己的罪，我们需要宽恕的经文。当我们读到《哥林多前书》时，我们听到“爱是恩慈，是不轻易发怒，是不计算人的恶”……当我去为母亲节买一份特别的Krispy Kreme甜甜圈时，我发现自己很烦躁，因为有50多辆车在开车点餐通道上等着……开到了一个排队短一点的Tim Hortons，当有人花了很长时间点餐时，我就完全失去了耐心。似乎这些天人们都需要简便的食物。
The gospel brings us comfort, reassurance, a word of hope, that despite our failure to love, God will forgive and lead us into a promised future. I Corinthians speaks gospel saying “love never ends” even when everything else does. God in Christ comes to each one of us with a love that is patient and kind, keeping no record of wrongs.
Right now, we live between an outbreak of COVID19 and an unknown future yet to unfold. Together we trust agape flows in the midst of the pandemic as a gift…Christ Jesus, risen from the grave, comes among us, pours out loving kindness, a love willing to give for the sake of the other, breathing into the world a love that not even a pandemic can take away, a love more resilient than we are on our own, holding us with agape when human touch is in short supply.
Acts 18:1-4, I Corinthians 1:1-10, Mark 9:34-35 May 10, 2020 TLC
使徒行传 18：1-4 ，哥林多前书1：1-10， 马可福音9：34-35 2020年5月10日TLC
Early Church in Corinth: Message of the cross
This week Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord invited several religious leaders to check in and have a zoom conversation with him. He wanted to hear how our community is coping, offer support and answer any questions. The Chief takes care of keeping the City of Delta safe, leads those first to respond when anyone calls 911, (whether we are in need of medical care or the stress from COVID19 restrictions at home leads to domestic abuse and a mental health crisis.) Among other things, we talked about how we’ve been physical distancing for eight weeks, as long as summer break typically lasts in Canada. And in the first few weeks of March, police and firefighters were invited to participate in nearly continuous birthday car parades like we did for Horst and Joyce’s 60th wedding anniversary. Regrettably they had to pull out because they were being asked to drive around with sirens to celebrate daily. Chief Dubord praised the creative ways families are adapting, appreciated our bell ringing and prayer in support of essential workers. Of all the community leaders who have a pulse on the community, Chief Dubord knows our full humanity…the desire to find alternate ways to celebrate and the struggle of being broken human beings who in desperation, boredom, stress, and grief can suffer and hurt one another.
This week we gathered for the second Sanctuary small group to share and learn about mental health and how faith communities can promote healing and growth during the pandemic. We listened to a military veteran and pastor named John, who shared his struggle to admit he needed help with PTSD after serving in a war zone. Quoting Richard Rohr, John said, ‘Why are we so surprised in church when we find an actual sinner, when we find someone who’s suffering?’ Martin Luther, 16th century reformer, said church is a hospital for the sick, a place where we gather to find healing for our sin-sick souls. As you gather around a screen in your home, we are here to admit we are sinners, broken and suffering, standing together at the foot of the cross, ready to find healing and hope together. The coronavirus reminds us we are all vulnerable; we are all in need of God’s grace and our neighbour’s help to stay well.
本周，我们庇护小组第二次聚会，我们一起分享，了解精神健康，以及信仰社区如何在大流行期间促进人们的康复和成长。我们听了一位名叫John的退伍军人和牧师的演讲，他分享了他在战区服役后承认自己需要帮助以克服创伤后应激障碍的困扰。John引用Richard Rohr的话说：“当我们发现一个真正的罪人，一个受苦受难的人在教堂里时，为什么我们会如此惊讶呢？16世纪的改革家马丁路德（Martin Luther）说，教堂是一个病人的医院，是一个我们聚集的地方，来寻找治愈我们的病态灵魂之道。当你们聚集在家中的屏幕周围时，我们在这里承认我们是罪人，破碎而受苦，站在十字架的脚下，一起去寻找治愈和希望。冠状病毒提醒我们，我们都是脆弱的；我们都需要上帝的恩典和邻居的帮助来保持健康。
Worshipping from our homes today, in some ways, mirrors how the Jesus movement evolved in the decades after the dying and rising of Christ. The followers of Christ met secretly in homes, hiding from public view. Facing discrimination and persecution, all Jews had been kicked out of Rome by Emperor Claudius. That is how Paul bumped into Aquila and his wife Priscilla…they had been ordered to leave Rome and ended up in the capital city of a Roman province, Corinth. Corinth was like our neighbourhoods: full of people from diverse ethnicities, cultures, and religions with a large, prospering urban center.
Aquila and Priscilla earned a living as tentmakers, a trade that kept them fed and clothed. Paul went to see them and because he was also a tentmaker, he stayed with them and they worked side-by-side. As they worked, they shared stories…undoubtedly Paul talked about how he had been blinded by a light as he walked on the road to Damascus. He had been intending to round up, arrest and torture any followers of Christ. But stopped by a blinding light, Paul met the risen Christ and found himself in the home of Ananias, a follower whom Paul would’ve arrested….but who now prayed for him, scales falling from his eyes. Opening his eyes, Paul realized he’d been fighting against God; his whole life changed direction. Sharing stories about our human frailty, our struggles, gives God space to meet us in our suffering with amazing grace. And share that grace with others. Eventually Aquila and Priscilla began to follow Christ. After some time in Corinth, in modern day Greece, they joined Paul as he sailed for Syria and ended up in Ephesus, along the Mediterranean Sea in modern day Turkey.
One relationship at a time, these communities developed in along the Mediterranean Sea in Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Galatia…the names of books in the Bible for the communities that received letters from Paul as he traveled around the Roman empire, planting faith communities who followed Christ. Some of those who’d been drawn to listen to Paul were people of considerable social power and wealth, like Erastus, but most were of lesser means and lower social standing. Throughout the city there were small groups who would come together regularly in homes to share a meal and prayers. As they came together, some were more hungry than others, while some were eating more than their fair share. So Paul urged them to make sure everyone has enough to eat when they gather.
随着关系的建立，这些社区在地中海沿岸的哥林多(Corinth)、以弗所 (Ephesus)、腓立比 (Philippi)、和加拉太(Galatia)发展起来……圣经中的书名是以那些在保罗周游罗马帝国时收到信的社区而命名的，他建立了基督跟随者的信仰社区。有些被吸引来听保罗讲道的人，有一定的社会权势和财富，如伊拉斯托 （Erastus），但大多数人都收入较低，社会地位较低。在城市里有一些小团体会定期在家里聚餐和祈祷。当他们聚在一起时，有些人比其他人更饥饿，而有些人吃得比他们应得的多。所以保罗劝他们聚集的时候，要确保人人有足够的食物吃。
We are no stranger to conflicts in the church for the last two thousand years…from the very beginning…this fledgling community trying to follow the way of Christ in Corinth, started dividing themselves along the lines of whom they follow as a teacher of the Way…some saying, “I belong to Paul”, others to “ I’m all about Apollos”, or “I follow Cephas” and still others, saying “I belong to Christ.” Paul wasn’t encouraging them to bow to the authority of any leader, nor to sweep disagreements under rug, but to bend to the message of the cross.
What is the message of the cross? As I walked through the bog this last week, I noticed several two-inch long salmon fry swimming in the creek, freshly hatched from the eggs laid by spawning salmon whose death yielded new life. Dying yields life. We see this in nature…as composted soil worked into our garden provides nutrients for sprouting seeds. Creation is the first Word of God. Observing new life sprouting, hatching, singing all around us, points us to the message of the cross: the rhythm of dying and rising. Take time this week to notice new life around you as you venture outdoors.
In the midst of human conflict, distress and suffering, the message of the cross comes to break down divisions, to reveal and absorb all human violence into Godself once for all. Whenever we take time to share our own struggles or listen to another human being pour out their heart, we participate in the dying and rising of Christ. Dying to our agenda and rising to enter into our neighbour’s need. As we eat and drink the body and blood of Christ, we participate in our Lord’s dying and rising. We join the life of God, a Greater Love than any human being can fully imagine. Eating and drinking, we are drawn into a living presence, who knows and loves us as we are. On the cross, God gives up keeping track of our sin, enters human pain, absorbs the violence humans inflict on one another, and gives us a way to come together. I continue to be amazed at how the human family is coming together during the pandemic, as I listened to Charlotte talk about her sewing team at Chelsea Gardens is no longer able to gather in person to sew mastectomy pillows for women with breast cancer. During the pandemic, sewing groups across Surrey have been stitching pillowcase bags for Delta hospital staff to carry their soiled PPE garments home from work, and keep their families safe from infection. Charlotte sewed 14 of the total 500 pillowcase bags completed in recent weeks. One stitch at a time, she is joining with the life of God, dying and rising among the human family. The message of the cross frees us from ourselves, so that united we may work together for the common good.
Holy God, in whose presence is known the walls we build, and also in their collapse; establish in us a community of hope, not to contain your mystery, but to be led beyond security into your sacred space, through Jesus Christ. Amen. –Janet Morley
神圣的上帝，我们所建造的城墙和倒塌的城墙，都在你的面前；求你在我们中间建立一个盼望的团体，不是要保守你的奥秘，乃是要藉着耶稣基督，领我们越过安全，进入你的圣所。阿门。— 珍妮特莫利 (Janet Morley)
John 10:1-10, Psalm 23, Acts 17:1-9, I Thessalonians 1:1-10
约翰福音 10：1-10， 诗篇 23， 使徒行传 17: 1-9 帖撒罗尼迦书 1：1-10
The world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus, bringing death and yet, new life for the earth and its creatures, in ways we could not have imagined before. As you exercise around your neighbourhood these days, you may see all kinds of messages hung in windows. The messages mirror the George Mackie Library sign: STAY HOME AND SAVE LIVES. All kinds of colorful hearts, created by young artists adorn windows, sending messages of thanks to essential workers and loving from a safe distance. The one that jumped out at me this week was a huge banner that said: STAY SAFE. Staying safe has become our global mantra for the last many weeks as we learn to practice physical distancing and hand washing. We keep our doors closed for now. No unnecessary coming and going. We will likely continue a whole set of “stay safe” practices for many months to come.
In the midst of learning how to ‘stay safe’, Jesus’ words from John’s gospel talk about the good shepherd who leads the sheep, who calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. We are known by name. As we come and go, a love greater than we can fully understand, leads us.
The families who founded Trinity Norwegian Lutheran Church came from around the world at the turn of the 20th century, drawn to the hope of a new life, drawn to salmon fishing. We gather where they gathered their families from Norway, Finland, Japan along the river. They built homes to stay safe, heading out into dangerous waters to bring home salmon. Weeks and months went by when the fishermen were gone fishing with, can you imagine, no cell phone communication. Families wondered when they would walk back through the door to be home for a while. Coming and going was uncertain. So they built a church where they could gather to live in hope, not fear. A place to grieve when loved ones died, when life didn’t go as they’d hoped, and they could begin life anew. The story of Jesus calling the fishermen to leave their nets and follow, learning how to fish for people, has shaped Trinity Lutheran Church.
创建Trinity Norwegian Lutheran教会的家庭来自20世纪初的世界各地，他们被新生活的希望所吸引，被捕鲑鱼所吸引。他们沿着河流从挪威、芬兰、和日本而来，在这里安家落户，我们现在在这个地方聚会。他们建造房屋以保证安全，他们驶入危险的水域将鲑鱼带回家。几个星期，几个月过去了，渔民们都去捕鱼了，你能想象，当时没有手机通讯的情景吗？人们都想知道家人什么时候才能从门口走回来，在家里待上一段时间。他们来去不定，所以他们建造了一座教堂，在那里他们可以聚集在一起, 生活在希望中，而不是恐惧中。这是一个当爱的人死去可以悲伤的地方，当生活没有如他们所希望的那样结束，他们可以重新开始的地方。耶稣呼召渔夫放下渔网，学习如何为人捕鱼的故事，创建了Trinity Lutheran教会。
Jesus gathered his first followers from the fishing community. When Jesus begins to talk about himself as the shepherd of the sheep, he says to the fishermen, “the gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Jesus was speaking to fishermen about sheep and shepherds. They didn’t get it.
So, Jesus says: I AM the gate, the door, for the sheep. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. This metaphor invited them and this morning, us, to imagine that Jesus is the gate and those who listen are the sheep. The gate is a way in which the sheep come in and go out. The sheep metaphor does fall apart at a certain point; sheep are not too clever. They are dependent upon their shepherd for their well-being. Sheep, if you’ve ever been around them, do follow the voice of their shepherd, of the one who gives them food…and they will also follow one another to their own destruction without a shepherd to guide them to pasture. But all metaphors or ways of imagining God eventually break down because God is a mystery beyond our full understanding.
The gate is both an opening and a safe keeping. Without a gate, sheep would wander away and get lost. Jesus did not come among us to start a new religion, but to make a way, a gate, an opening, for all to become fully human. We are free to come in and go out and find all we truly need.
Being saved, as we live in the midst of the pandemic, is about grieving, letting go of how life used to be, as we embrace a new way of being together. Many are grieving…loss of contact with grandkids, loss of income, loss of freedom. For many, anxiety has grown over the last several weeks…that what is outside the door, beyond the safety of our home is dangerous. We may actually be anxious about interacting with anyone outside of our home. They may be carrying the virus…whatever public surface we touch becomes suspect, potentially dangerous. So, as the stay home guidelines are lifted, some may be troubled.
Together, we will find new ways of being. Being saved, is about trusting that we are not alone.
A beloved psalm, which Gerry, Diane, Andrea and Larry all sang for you…uses the metaphor of God as our shepherd and we as the beloved sheep. Psalm 23 is a psalm of trust that some scholars say is a response to Psalm 22 a psalm of lament. Lament is a complaint. Psalms of lament give voice to our deepest human pain. We heard Psalm 22 a few weeks ago on the lips of Jesus as he was nailed to the cross, crying out: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Where are you when I need you the most? Have you forgotten me in my pain? I am all alone with no one to comfort me. O my God I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night but find no rest. Words that in some form, are on the lips of the thousands of families whose loved ones have died from the coronavirus…and on the lips of Roanne and Neil and Scottie as their cousin Cindy died last week on Vancouver Island and in the cries of Roanne’s daughter, Krystal, as her boyfriend died here in Surrey a few days ago. With the tragic death of a top emergency room doctor, Dr. Lorna Breen, who laid down her life at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in New York, we cry out for our human family. Before Dr. Breen’s death, she had told her father about patients who were dying before they could even be taken out of ambulances.
Gerry、Diane、Andrea和Larry为大家演唱了一首深受大家喜爱的诗篇……用上帝作为我们的牧羊人，我们作为被爱的羊来比喻。诗篇23是个信任的诗篇，有学者说是对诗篇22的回应，诗篇22是个哀叹的篇章。哀叹是抱怨，哀歌是为我们人类最深的痛苦发声。几周前，当耶稣被钉在十字架上的时候，我们听到从他嘴里喊出的诗篇22，他喊道：我的神，我的神，你为什么离弃我？我最需要你的时候你在哪里？你在我的痛苦中忘记了我吗？我独自一人，没有人安慰我。我的神阿，我白日哀求，你不应允，在夜间也不得安息。这些话以某种形式出现在成千上万的人死于冠状病毒的家庭的嘴边……也出现在Roanne、Neil和 Scottie的嘴边，因为他们的表妹Cindy上周在温哥华岛去世。这些话也在Roanne的女儿Krystal的哭泣中，因为她的男朋友几天前在素里去世。一位顶级急诊室医生Lorna Breen博士在纽约爆发的冠状病毒疫情中献出了自己的生命，不幸去世。我们为我们的人类家庭而呐喊。在Breen医生去世之前，她曾告诉过她父亲有些病人，他们甚至还没来得及被抬出救护车就已经去世了。
Together we cry out and lean into Psalm 23. Though there are many reasons to fear, the psalmist reminds us that, come what may, together we trust: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me beside still waters, restores my soul. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.
This is good news…we never walk alone, even through the darkest valley. Delta school district and staff are coming and going each week, bringing 125 families to pasture: shopping for, preparing and delivering food hampers every week, the majority here in North Delta…Lisa Flemig, whose friend is on staff in Surrey school district. So, Lisa is baking for Surrey families receiving hampers…see photos…this is what it means to be saved during the pandemic. If you contributed to Deltassist by April 30, a matching grant of $2 million was added, supporting families across Canada with food hampers.
这是个好消息…我们从不孤单，即使是在穿过最黑暗的山谷时。Delta学区和教职员工每周来来往往，为125个家庭带来食物：每周购物、准备和运送食物篮，大部分在North Delta……Lisa Flemig，她的朋友是素里学区的教职员工。所以，Lisa正在为素里的家庭烘焙食物…看照片…这就是在传染病大流行期间被拯救的意义。如果你在4月30日前向Deltassist捐款，就会有200万美元的拨款匹配你的捐款，通过食物篮的方式来支持加拿大各地的家庭。
We are all helping one another STAY SAFE. Jesus makes a way, as we learn new practices, so that we find green pastures each day. Coming and going, none of us walk alone.
Kids’ Message: Today is Good Shepherd Sunday, as the fourth Sunday after Easter is every year, with a reading from John’s gospel, chapter 10. Jesus wanted people to know he would always love them and take care of them. He called himself the Good Shepherd…and told people they were like sheep. I brought with me today a sheep skin from my grandparents’ ranch in Montana…I was given this when I was a child. My grandfather was a shepherd who took care of sheep. He used this shepherd’s hook to pull sheep when they needed to stay safe inside the gate.
Some people didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about being a shepherd, so Jesus told them this story.
Act 3:1-10 Peter and John went to pray April 26, 2020 TLC
使徒行传 3：1-10 彼得跟约翰去祷告 2020年4月26日 TLC
Hearing this story, some may ask: ‘Did this really happen?’ This man who was lame from birth, his muscles atrophied because he had never walked, was suddenly able to dance and leap? Science would say such instantaneous healing is impossible. Science would say the resurrection is impossible. It’s accounts like this in the scriptures that call us to find a way to integrate scientific ways of knowing with religious or spiritual ways of knowing; how do we trust in what we can know through science and yet also trust in a way of knowing that allows us to pray, to trust in a mystery bigger than ourselves, to walk by faith.
With so many people struck down by the coronavirus around the world, undoubtedly many are praying for their loved ones as they struggle to breathe on ventilators or deal with complications related to blood clots and kidney failure. What if we pray for a miracle and it doesn’t happen? Does this mean that God isn’t listening, doesn’t care, or doesn’t have the power to do what we’re asking?
Reidun’s niece, Peggy, who was a healthy 61-year-old, was infected with COVID19 and hospitalized in Washington State. We’ve been praying for her, as she was put into a medically induced coma on a ventilator, with a tracheotomy and feeding tube. After three weeks the doctors had given up hope of her recovering, telling her husband that her brain was unresponsive. They advised her husband to pull the plug and resign himself to her becoming a vegetable. So, last week they removed the ventilator, and stopped giving her drugs through her IV. When she started to come out of her coma, she found her cell phone near her bed and called her husband at 3AM, panicking because she was suddenly aware of how sick she had been. Her husband called the nurses who ran into her room, shocked that she was able to communicate. Peggy is due to be discharged sometime this week, cracking jokes and completely alert, while in need of rest and recovery at home. What doctors said was impossible was shifted, life overcoming death.
Peter and John walk by a man, who’s been lame from birth, as he sits near the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, on a mat, begging for his next meal. Every day his friends carry him to there. He’s chosen a strategic spot; a place where those with privilege and wealth pass by on their way to pray, to meet God. The Temple, as it was understood for centuries before Jesus died, was what the Celtic religion calls a ‘thin place’; a place in which heaven and earth meet, a place where the holy one is made known, where human beings meet God. Everyone who prays at the Temple recognizes this man who begs; he’s become a fixture in their mind, so that they no longer see him.
But when Peter and John walk by on their way to meet the One who raises the dead, who is at work to draw all created things together, they stop. They turn to this man being who is begging. And they see him, not as a piece of furniture sitting next to the Beautiful Gate, holding out his hand every day. But as a fellow human being, trying to make his way through the world. They stop and fix their attention on him and they say, “Look at us.” If there’s one thing that COVID19 has done for us, it’s made us stop, push the pause button on economic productivity. Fix our attention on our families, on reconnecting with friends.
Peter and John say to the man: Look at us. We’ve (ain’t) got nothin’…no money, no food, no clothing, nothing that you’re asking for.
Who were Peter and John? Well they first met Jesus as they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus called them to leave their nets and follow, saying “I’ll teach you how to fish for people.” For several years, they had walked with Jesus around Galilee. They watched Jesus give sight to those who were blind, give hope to the hopeless, listened to him teach about God coming among and within them right now. When Jesus begins to talk about how he must face suffering, rejection and be killed. And after three days rise again. Peter grabs Jesus in protest. Peter couldn’t imagine this happening to Jesus. And certainly not on his watch. But Jesus tells Peter: you have no idea how God works.
On the night of his arrest, Jesus gathered Peter, John and the rest of the rest of the disciples for the Passover feast and what would be their last meal together, Jesus says, “You will all run away when I need you the most, but after I am raised up I will meet you in back in Galilee, at home.” Peter says, “Even though everyone else will desert you when things fall apart, I will not.” Jesus says, “Don’t be so sure. Today, this very night in fact, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” When he hears the cock crow, Peter weeps, because Jesus knew him better than he knew himself. Three days later he runs to the tomb because Mary says it is empty and angels told her Jesus has been raised. Peter and John touch Jesus’ wounds as he appears to say, “Peace be with you.”
Peter and John were there as Jesus breathed on them, giving them the Spirit…all they need to walk God’s ways in the world.
Since the resurrection, Peter and John have been sharing all things in common with the community following the way of Christ together…they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. They may be entering the Temple through the Beautiful Gate where people of privilege and means enter, but they clearly don’t have either. “Look at us,” they say, to the man begging for his next meal. “We don’t have any silver or gold, but what we have, we give to you.” What do they have?
They have all they truly need, the mercy and forgiveness of God…they have received it from Jesus. When the One who could’ve taken revenge, shows up behind locked doors and offers peace instead. Breathing on them the Holy Spirit, they are given the power to forgive, a power the world desperately needs. After Peter denies Jesus, hears the cock crow, and weeps with regret, he is still welcomed by the community…he touches Jesus’ wounds. And he is forgiven.
Peter and John have realized that life is not about them. They are about life. Life is about participating in a larger mystery. In this pandemic …life as we have known it has stopped. Look around you. The people around you are sitting, walking, standing in a pool of tears. All of our celebrations have been suspended: 50thanniversaries, weddings, birthdays, funerals. Tens of thousands have died and the virus has just begun to infect the continent of Africa where medical care is a privilege reserved for the those with economic means. Twenty-two people have tragically perished from senseless violence in Nova Scotia.
Jesus knows our pain, the pain of the human family. On the cross, Jesus gathered all suffering to himself, carried it on the cross---in a cosmic act of love…pouring out his blood. The blood represents all the violence, injustice and death in the world. The cross means that Jesus, who is also fully God, knows human suffering and gathers it into the heart of the Divine.
As I watched the One World: Home Together event filmed around the world from people’s homes. In spite of President Trump threatening to withhold funds from WHO, One World raised funds to support the global collaboration in the fight against coronavirus across political and cultural differences. In today’s fractured world, this kind of collaboration is miraculous, reminding us we are one human family brought to our knees. We trust that the Spirit of the living God is at work in the collaboration of scientists will find a vaccine eventually, if we work together, sharing what we are learning for the greater good.
In the worst of human suffering, God sees us. God suffers with us. God promises to show us a way through the pain, drawing us into a deeper mystery, the way in which new life is born out of pain and death.
John 20:19-31 April 19 2020 TLC God Still Shows Up
约翰福音 20： 19 -31 2020 年4月19日上帝仍会显现
This week, as I cultivated our raspberry patch, I was chatting with our new next door neighbour who was mowing his lawn. He is part of the team enforcing the new by-laws related to the pandemic: making sure we practice physical distancing from one another, regulating the closure of non-essential businesses and how essential businesses function. Perhaps you saw the viral video of a by-law officer giving a $900 fine to someone who was doing chin-ups in a Vancouver Park this week. The pandemic is setting new boundaries for all of us in order to protect those most vulnerable to infection.
这周，当我种覆盆子的时候，我和正在割草的隔壁新邻居聊天。 他是与疾病大流行有关的新法规的执法团队的成员：确保我们彼此保持距离，确保非基本服务生意的关闭以及基本服务的正常运作。 也许您看过一个视频，视频中说到本周一位市执法人员给在温哥华公园做仰卧起坐的某人处以900加元的罚款。 大流行给我们所有人设定了新的界限，以保护最容易受到感染的人。
The pandemic is also forcing us to face our deepest fear: the fear of death. All of us, no matter what our age, are facing this fear together. For some this fear has resulted in increased anxiety, interrupting our sleep. For the first couple of weeks, my greatest fear was that many of you who are older than 65 would catch the coronavirus, become hospitalized or even die. This caused my mind to race, shortened my breathing, I couldn’t focus or concentrate on anything. My fear manifested as anxiety. Knowing I couldn’t keep in touch with all of you while we cannot worship in person, I was drawn to organize the Caring Call Team. A huge shout out to the Caring Call team of Uschi, Helen, Wendy, Janet, Jocelyn, Jack, Andrea, Liz and Rosa Maria who’ve checked in with you over the last month to make sure you have groceries, family support, and to note any prayer concerns. (The caring calls will now happen every other week or once a month for some of you).
(Some of you will need to continue to stay at home for several months until a vaccine is available, to protect yourself and your loved ones from infection. This leads to more mental health challenges…Sanctuary small group to learn about mental health…how to take care of ourselves and others in the midst of the pandemic…announcements)
For those who work in essential services or on the front line in health care, the fear of death is very real. One of my dear friends is a family doctor on the East coast of the U.S. With the rate of infection still climbing and Pres. Trump’s eagerness to get the economy going again, another outbreak may be on the horizon. All doctors, no matter what their specialty, are on-call to join the front lines in hospital care. This has caused anxiety affecting my friends’ sleep patterns; not knowing if tomorrow she may be called into the hospital. Several of you work in essential services or have loved ones who do, so you deal with the fear of death every workday. Those who work in hospital have been told to put on all of their protective gear in the parking lot before they enter the building. Even then, the virus has found a way to penetrate protective gear, claiming the lives of health care workers. Some people suffer from social anxiety, so the additional restrictions on interactions with others have thrown them into a paralyzing fear of any interaction. The fear of death is very real for us as a global community. We are all facing it together. Walking through it together will lead to new life.
On the evening of the resurrection, the disciples were stacked upon one another behind locked doors. Because they were terrified. Fearing death, if Roman authorities could find them. This fear was not unfounded. Roman soldiers wanted to eliminate the Jesus movement in the first century. Persecution by Roman authorities against the followers of the Way of Christ in the first century resulted in death.
Huddled together in fear, the disciples had heard unconfirmed rumors about the empty tomb from the women. The women who had gone to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. The women met angels where Jesus’ body had been. The angels told them to bring a message from Jesus to the disciples: go to Galilee where I promised to meet you. But instead they went home and locked their doors. Even though Jesus had told them he must die and after three days be raised, they were clueless about the meaning of his death. They were deeply disappointed in the cross; their hopes had been dashed. Their hope of Jesus being the Messiah, the One who would save them from Roman political oppression, making all things right in the world. He had died a humiliating death on a cross where criminals die; though he had done nothing wrong. They are all confused, full of disbelief and overwhelmed with fear. The empty tomb wasn’t enough to convince them that all Jesus taught them was true.
These days, we are all hiding, afraid of infection, afraid of contact with our contagious neighbours, afraid of death. In the simple act of going outside of our house for a walk or grocery shopping, we face the fear of death. We put off errands until absolutely necessary. Some are wearing masks and gloves; we all stay two meters away from other shoppers. Many of you need to stay home continuously and rely on family and friends or grocery delivery.
But we may not realize that facing our fear of death is a chance to meet God…walking through our fear of the last thing becomes an encounter with the One who holds all things together. Once we face our fear of death, we are free to live, often for the first time outside of our head. Living in our head, we overthink everything, trying to manage and control it. But in the face of death, none of us are in control.
On the day of the resurrection, with the disciples hiding behind locked doors, Christ Jesus, who died and rose again, walked through the locked doors to be with them. Jesus shows up. Now talk about fear. The One whom they abandoned when he was arrested. The One who asked them to stay awake while he prayed in agony. Instead, they fell asleep. Now they are in big trouble! They can’t run away; Jesus has come to their hiding place. So they face their fear, thinking Jesus is coming back to take revenge, to pay them back for running away, to bring God’s wrath. But no, The Risen One comes to say: ‘Peace be with you.’ He invites them to come to him: ‘Touch my wounded hands and side.’ Holding their breath in terror, they reach out and touch him…breathing a great sigh of relief; they rejoice!
复活的那天，门徒躲在锁着的门后面，死了又复活的基督耶稣，穿过锁着的门与他们在一起。 耶稣出现了。 现在谈谈恐惧。 当他被捕时，他们抛弃的那个人。 一位在痛苦中祷告时，要他的门徒们保持清醒，相反，他们却睡着了的人。 现在他们麻烦大了！ 他们逃不掉了， 耶稣来到了他们的藏身之处。 所以他们很害怕，以为耶稣会回来报仇，为他们的逃跑复仇，带来神的愤怒。 但是，没有，复活者说：“愿你们平安。”他邀请他们来找他：“触摸我受伤的手和两肋。”屏住呼吸，恐怖地伸出手触摸他…… 大大地松了一口气; 他们很高兴！
This morning we gave thanks for our baptism…a ritual bath where we face our death. In the waters of baptism, we die and rise, drowning our old self, our deepest fear, (our ego), we rise to become a new creatures in Christ…we die to going it alone, and rise to trust God is with us as we walk into our fear, compelling us into the world with love. Martin Luther teaches in the catechism that every day we die and rise in the waters of our baptism; dying and rising is rhythm we enter into, a spiritual practice of owning our fear, walking into it, and discovering God is with us.
What does the resurrection mean? God still shows up. When we face our fear of death, God walks with us. Just as Jesus did with the fearful disciples behind their locked doors. Where are you hiding these days? What causes you fear and anxiety these days? God is looking for you in the midst of your fear.
What does the resurrection mean? In our hiding places, God will find us. In our fear and anxiety, God still shows up, through neighbours who check in, through friends who reach out after losing contact. Jesus, reveals a rhythm to us on the cross, praying in agony that this cup might pass from him, Jesus prays “not my will but yours be done” and goes to the cross. dying and rising, comes to show us the way to life: when we are afraid, Jesus shows up. Jesus says come, raising us to new life.
Mark 14 Unnamed Woman Anoints Jesus at Bethany April 5, 2020 TLC
马可福音 14 无名女子在伯大尼膏抹耶稣 2020年 4月5日 TLC
Extravagant Love Outpoured
I don’t like to waste time. I don’t like to waste anything. When we have leftovers from dinner, I always save them, especially now as we are limiting our trips to the grocery store. And I always eat the leftovers. I’ll eat most anything rather than let it go to waste. Groceries are expensive. We are not going to waste any food. I don’t like to waste time. In fact, many of you have experienced this…when I am in “get it done” mode, I want to make the most efficient use of my time. Before worship on a Sunday morning from 7-10AM, I used to be in this mode. This affects my interaction with people; when you want to be efficient with every moment, you cannot be fully present for people. I don’t like to waste money; perhaps you can relate…Peter can. This week I talked with him because been he’s laid off from work for six months. When I asked him how his family will make ends meet, he said I could share his text: ‘my wife is still working, our mortgage is manageable and we always save money, it’s the Chinese way…always saving for a rainy day. And now it’s raining, pastor, LOL.’
So there’s something about the woman who comes to Jesus at the home of Simon the Leper with the jar of perfume, wasting it, pouring what is worth a year’s wages, on Jesus’ head. There’s something about this that seems wrong. Like the disciples, I complain, this ointment could’ve been sold and the money used to help someone who really needs it, who can’t make ends meet.
有一个女人带着一瓶香膏来到麻风病人西蒙的家中，走到耶稣身边，把它浪费了，把价值相当于一年工资的东西倒在了耶稣的头上。 这件事有点不对劲。 就像门徒们一样，我会抱怨说这香膏本来可以卖掉的，而这笔钱也可以用来帮助那些无法维持生计，真正需要的人。
Scholars would say the unnamed woman doesn’t know that Jesus is about to be crucified, but she comes to him just as the religious leaders were looking for a way to arrest Jesus. This woman comes to anoint his head with an extravagant gift of love. And Jesus is moved by it. Death is all around Jesus now. The shadow of the cross looms. The day is soon when Jesus will be taken from his disciples. Judas is about to go to the religious leaders and betray him. They promise to give him money when he does. Jesus says to the frugal disciples: “leave her alone…she has done what she could, she has anointed my body for burial.” What she has done for me will be told for generations to come. And here we are, 2000 years later, still telling her story.
As the world battles COVID19 many have done what they could, many have given their lives trying to save others. Last December, Dr Li Wen Liang suspected that the virus causing pneumonia was something that could threaten many lives as he treated multiple cases breaking out in Wuhan. He warned many of his doctor colleagues and was told by the government to stop spreading rumors, but as the infection spread, the world began to see what he was trying to say. Dr. Li Wen Liang contracted COVID19 and died. He was the whistle blower, warning that world that a devastating virus was spreading, and we needed to work together to stop it. Since the virus has spread globally, Chinese doctors have flown around the world to consult in Iran, Pakistan, Italy, Europe sharing what they’ve learned, sharing what they know.
在世界与COVID19奋战的过程中，许多人竭尽所能，许多人为拯救他人而献出了生命。 去年12月，李文亮医生怀疑这种引起肺炎的病毒可能会威胁到许多人的生命，因为他在武汉治疗了多起病例。 他警告了他的许多医生同事，并被政府训诫停止散布谣言，但随着感染的蔓延，全世界开始明白他在说什么。 李文亮医生感染了COVID19并去世。 他是吹哨人，向世界发出警告，说毁灭性的病毒正在传播，我们需要共同努力制止这种病毒的传播。 由于该病毒已在全球蔓延，中国医生开始奔赴世界各地，在伊朗，巴基斯坦，意大利和欧洲进行咨询，分享他们的所学，所知。
There’s something about love that involves being wasteful. To waste our time, our attention, our gaze on another. Love isn’t efficient, it doesn’t follow a timetable; in fact, when you try to manage and control it, love die. Love just happens, like the woman who shows up at the home of Simon the Leper. Love is not reasonable; love gives fully, completely, lavishly.
While some are compelled, in the midst of a pandemic, to rip off catalytic converters from three ambulances in Delta a couple of days ago, others have been drawn to work together to love and save the world.
Together we are doing our part, staying home, preventing the virus from spreading. If you are working in essential services, we are praying for you. And we are standing in solidarity with hospital workers…as we zoomed dinner with our Vancouver friends, when the clock struck 7 pm, they ran to the window to bang pots and pans as well as their entire neighbourhood, cheering on hospital workers during their shift change. This movement started in Italy as a way to support medical teams working around the clock with insufficient supplies, under incredible stress in a war zone, with a high risk of contracting the virus themselves. As we enter into holy week, the final days of Jesus’ life on earth, set your phone alarm for 7pm, grab a pot and pan from your kitchen and bang it from your window in solidarity with all those in essential services. Pots and pans replace the palms today and for the rest of the pandemic.
我们共同努力，留在家里，防止病毒传播。 如果你从事的是基本服务，我们正在为你祷告。 而且我们与医院工作人员团结在一起……当我们与温哥华的朋友们共进晚餐时，晚上7点钟时，他们跑到窗户前，跟整个是社区一起敲打锅碗瓢盆，在医院工作人员交接班期间，为他们欢呼 。 这项运动始于意大利，是一种支持医疗队全天候工作的方式。医务人员在战区承受着巨大的压力，他们极有可能因个人防护设备不足而使自己感染该病毒。 当我们进入圣周时，即耶稣在地球上生命的最后一天，将手机闹钟设置为晚上7点，从厨房拿起锅碗瓢盆，透过窗户，敲打它，与所有从事基本服务的人团结在一起。 在当今的疾病大流行期间，锅碗瓢盆取代了棕榈枝。
Last Friday, the governor of Minnesota issued a stay-at-home order that would go into effect at midnight. And Serenity Village, a Minneapolis church based on the step steps of recovery from addiction, mobilized volunteers to reroute semi-trucks loaded with food for local restaurants. Since the restaurants were closing at midnight, all the food supplies for the restaurants were distributed to families in need before the stay-at-home order came into effect. This church organized its people with protective gear, to distribute truckloads of food. Cars lined up for blocks, directed by local police, to stop, open their trunk and receive food. Somehow, in a very short period of time, this church was ready to pour out an extravagant love upon their neighbours.
We are not in control. We are not God. COVID19 has shown us, more clearly than anything else could, we are not in charge of final outcomes. But together we cry out Hosanna, ‘Save us’, show us how to work together. Those working on the front lines pour out extravagant love to sustain life. We are each called to do the same…to do our part, waste our time, energy, and attention on those most vulnerable, allowing two-three meters next to everyone whom we meet, and calling others to do the same. Delta’s call center, just set up to report any group gatherings, will help us keep each other accountable. Together we are participating in a divine love, revealed fully on the cross.
我们无法控制， 我们不是上帝。 COVID19向我们展示了比任何其他事物都更清晰的信息，我们不负责最终结果。 但是我们在一起呼喊Hosanna，“拯救我们”，展示我们如何共同努力。 那些在前线工作的人倾注了奢侈的爱以维系生命。 我们每个人都被要求做同样的事情……尽我们的一份力量，把时间和精力浪费在最弱势的人身上，与我们遇见的每个人都相隔两三米远，并呼吁其他人也这样做。 北三角洲的呼叫中心刚刚成立，可以报告任何团体聚会的情况，这将帮助我们彼此负责。 我们在一起共同经历这份在十字架上彰显的神圣的爱。
The unnamed woman pours out love, without thinking about the waste. She reflects..a love that holds nothing back, a love that is costly, scandalous, giving of itself unto death. A cross-shaped love poured out for you, for me, for the life of the world.
这位不愿透露姓名的女人在不考虑浪费的情况下倾吐爱意。 她反映出..一种爱是无法遏制的，一种爱是昂贵的，是令人震惊的，是将自己献给了死亡。 十字形的爱为你，为我，为世界的每个生命喷薄而出。
Mark 13:1-8, 24-27 Stay Awake March 29 2020 TLC
马可福音 13：1-8 ， 24- 27 2020 3月29日 TLC
What I say to you, I say to all: Stay Awake! We are living in a time when the words of Jesus from Mark’s gospel echo all around us. Over and over, around the world people are hearing: stay alert…for an invisible enemy.Stay home, wash your hands, only go out for groceries, medicine and keep a safe distance between yourself and others. When you listen to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s daily update, people are calling for an even stricter enforcement of lockdown here in B.C. Living in this state of high alert can lead to angry outbursts, sleepless nights, worry about financial well-being. People unable to afford rent and mortgage payments. When people cough or sneeze on other people, fights break out, people run home to wash any potential virus off.
As the infection rate climbs over 450,000 globally, the world is crying out for help. Canadian auto assembly lines are scrambling to adapt to produce ventilators. New York City hospitals need help to care for the estimated tens of thousands of people who will need them in days to come…we are preparing for overwhelming outbreaks here in B.C.
随着全球感染人数攀升超过45万，全世界都在寻求帮助。 加拿大的汽车组装线争先恐后地改为生产呼吸机。 纽约市的医院需要帮助，以照顾未来几天估计数以万计的需要帮助的人……我们BC 省也正在为这里疫情的大规模爆发做准备。
“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars,” Jesus says don’t be alarmed. But today we are alarmed because the world is at war with this: (show covid19 slide). COVID 19 can exist on your mail for 24 hours, 8-9 days on a doorknob, waiting for a host. Keep awake!
We are…wiping down doorknobs with Lysol wipes, bleaching our countertops, sanitizing our homes daily, washing our hands until they are raw. We are living on high alert with anxiety hanging over us like a cloud. I talked with a teacher this week who said, “I’ve worked in a petri dish for decades…I know all about hand washing. I wonder if we’ll be able to convince people it is important.”
Nearly two hundred years ago a German, Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweiss, was the first doctor to realize that hand washing was essential to preventing the spread of infection. Back in the 1840’s Ignaz was working in a labor and delivery hospital. Back in those days, 25-30% of women died after childbirth. Ignaz wondered why more women were dying in one hospital than another. He speculated that doctors’ hands were carrying something …as they were performing autopsies and then moving directly to the delivery room. Ignaz suggested that doctors wash their hands before entering the delivery room. In that hospital the mortality rate for mothers dropped from 18% to 1% and he was convinced that hand washing was preventing their death. Though bacteria had been discovered a hundred years earlier, no one knew that micro-organisms could harm us. Ordering doctors to wash hands was seen as an insult, as if doctors weren’t being treated with respect that ‘gentlemen’ deserve. Ignaz was blacklisted as a doctor. No one in the medical profession believed him. He was given charge of a hospital overrun with disease in 1851 and in that year, the death rate dropped to 1% for the people in his care. In 1865 he suffered a mental breakdown and died. In the 1860’s Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory that was finally embraced by society. And by 1905, Florence Nightingale was given an award for discovering that being clean was essential in patient care.
大约200年前，一位名叫Ignaz Semmelweiss的德国匈牙利医生是第一位意识到洗手对于防止感染扩散至关重要的医生。早在1840年，伊格纳兹（Ignaz）曾在产科医院工作。那时，有25-30％的妇女在分娩后死亡。伊格纳兹想知道为什么在一家医院中死去的产妇多于另一家。他推测医生的手上有什么东西……医生这边还在进行尸检，然后直接就到产房接生。伊格纳兹建议医生在进入产房之前要洗手。在那家医院，产妇的死亡率从18％下降到1％，他坚信洗手可以防止产妇的死亡。尽管一百年前就发现了细菌，但没人知道微生物会伤害我们。要求医生洗手是一种侮辱，好像医生没有得到“绅士”应有的尊重。伊格纳兹被列为医生黑名单。医学界没有人相信他。 1851年，他因医院疾病泛滥而受到指控，那年，他所照顾的病人的死亡率下降到1％。 1865年，他因精神崩溃而去世。 1860年，路易斯巴斯德（Louis Pasteur）提出了细菌理论，该理论最终被社会所接受。到1905年，弗洛伦斯南丁格尔（Florence Nightingale）因发现清洁对病人的护理至关重要而获得了奖项。
As we listen to nurses and doctors call out for masks, gloves and gowns that will prevent them from getting infected, we know how essential this is. Protective gear is in short supply. We didn’t listen to our friends in China, to learn how to get ready, as the infection started to spread globally. We didn’t start producing gear and ventilators until COVID19 was on our doorstep. How might we respond to the cry of medical staff? I’ve seen pictures of nurses making their own protective gear. First responders who sleep in their garage trying to prevent infecting their families.
我们听到护士和医生呼求，他们需要口罩，手套和隔离服来防止被感染，我们知道这有多么重要， 现在防护装备短缺。 随着感染开始向全球蔓延，我们没有听取中国朋友的经验，学习如何做好准备。 直到COVID19出现在我们自家门口之前，我们才开始生产防护装备和呼吸机。 我们如何应对医务人员的呼求？ 我见过护士自己制作防护装备的照片，看到急救人员 在车库里睡觉以试图防止感染家人。
As I talked with a Save On employee stocking vegetables, he said the reason the shelves are empty of meat, canned and frozen food is because a week ago Thursday people panicked and came in to buy a month’s worth of groceries. The grocery stores will continue to receive food from suppliers; we just need to buy less and trust more will come.
我和一位Save On 的蔬菜上货员交谈时，他说货架上之所以没有肉、罐头和冷冻食品，是因为一周前的星期四人们惊慌失措，进来买了可用一个月的食品杂货。食品杂货店将持续从供应商那里获得食品；我们只需要减少购买量，相信食物会源源不断地送到。
We don’t know what will happen in the days to come. But we are all in this together. When the cloud of anxiety seems to overshadow everything and your mind is racing, you cannot seem to calm down. Turn off the TV, put your phone down, shut down the computer. Go outside for a walk, focus on your breathing and repeat a word or phrase from scripture. This week, I have turned to Psalm 63:7a, 8a: “for you have been my help…my soul clings to you.” Notice the creatures, plants around you. Greet your neighbours with a safe social distance between you. We can still talk from two meters away: say “hello.” If you are more anxious by leaving your home, then sit upright with your back tall, your hands open in your lap….breathe in, hold it, breathe out…try this for 10, 15, 20, 25 minutes each day, twice a day. Doing this can help us name our fear and anxiety and discover God with us.
We are in a war against an invisible enemy; this is not the end of all things. But it may be the end of life as we have known it. All of us have been bumped out of our usual mode of daily life…but we are not alone. None of us know the day nor hour of the end; only God knows. But maybe ‘not knowing’ is the best place to be. It gives God room to work with us, to come alongside us, to be our help. The doorkeeper is on the watch.
As I went to buy cat litter this week, the doorkeeper met me…asked me what I needed as I stood behind tape on the floor. Many stores are regulating social distance as we shop. Keep awake, the doorkeeper is on the watch, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight or at cockcrow or at dawn.
这周我去买猫砂的时候， ……当我站在地板上的胶带后面时，看门人问我需要什么。 我们购物时，许多商店都规范了社交距离。 保持清醒，看门人在守望，因为你不知道房子的主人什么时候来，是在傍晚，午夜，鸡叫时还是黎明。
As Jesus nears his own suffering and death for the love of the world, his closest friends cannot keep awake. In the evening before his arrest, he gathers them for the Passover meal, and says one of them will betray him. “Surely not I,” they all say. At midnight, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus takes aside Peter, James and John, saying “Stay awake, watch and pray.” Yet three times, Jesus returns to find them sleeping. After the third time, Judas arrives with the Roman guards who arrest Jesus. All of his friends desert him, running away for their lives. At cockcrow, Peter comes to the painful realization that he has denied knowing Jesus three times, just as Jesus said he would. And at dawn, the chief priests and scribes bring Jesus before Pilate to be tried as a criminal. Jesus stands utterly alone. Not one of his closest friends wait and watch with him.
Today we are all waiting and watching for the infection rate to flatten or continue to rise. PM Trudeau has told us our waiting and watching will be enforced if we don’t stay home. The world is suffering together. God in Christ, knows our suffering, knows the war we are in. The One who was betrayed, denied and forsaken on the cross comes to us who denied the seriousness of COVID19. God in Christ comes to us now, to help us breathe in and out, to lift up our eyes to our neighbours in need, in all these ways, bringing mercy and grace. Even for those sleepy, unprepared, miserably failing disciples, there was hope. Just as Jesus came to them and said, “Peace be with you. My peace I give you.” So too, as we wait and watch, no matter what happens, Jesus comes to us, to the world, to give a peace that the news headlines can’t give, a peace that surpasses human understanding, a peace that not even death can hold down.
今天我们都在等待，等待感染率趋于平稳或继续上升。特鲁多总理告诉我们，如果我们不呆在家里，我们的等待和观望将被强制执行。世界人民在一起受苦。基督上帝，知道我们的苦难，知道我们正在经历的战争。在十字架上被背叛，被拒绝，被遗弃的人来到我们这群没有意识到Covid 19 的严重性的人面前。上帝基督现在来到我们这里，来帮助我们呼吸。用一切的方式，让我们举目关注有需要的邻舍，给我们带来怜悯和恩典。即使是那些昏昏欲睡，毫无准备，惨败的门徒，也有希望。正如耶稣来到他们那里，对他们说：“愿你们平安。“我把我的平安赐给你们。”同样，当我们等待和观望时，无论发生什么，耶稣都会来到我们这里，来到这个世界，给我们一个新闻头条无法给予的平安，一个超越人类理解的平安，一个连死亡都无法压制的平安。
Mark 12:1-17 Give to God what is God’s TLC March 15 2020
马可福音 12： 1-17 把上帝的东西给上帝
There are two things we can be sure of: death and taxes. I just visited with my tax accountant last Friday, getting all the paperwork together. As Canadian residents, paying taxes is not optional; taxes support the common good like public schools, police force, tunnels and bridges, public transit, equal access to health care for all. It’s tax time. But it’s also a time of high anxiety due to the COVID-19 virus being transmitted around the world. And now impacting our local community. Betty and her son are on a 14 day quarantine. Colton's secondary school in Surrey was one of those infected with the virus this last Monday. His mom pulled him out of school early for spring break. In these days, we are more conscious of protecting ourselves from infection because it could lead to grave illness in communities like ours with many over the age of 60. Scientists are working around the clock to create a vaccine; in the meantime, we need to change our social interactions until the vaccine is available. In coming weeks, we may be tempted to panic, like many are doing in the grocery stores with the run on toilet paper and hand sanitizer…I heard of guards at Costco breaking up fist fights that are breaking out between customers, fighting over food. Others are stockpiling the TP and sanitizer so that they can sell it for a profit on-line.
Where is God in all of this?
Maybe it’s appropriate that we have just entered the season of Lent as the COVID 19 spreads. A time of reflection over forty days when we are walk in the wilderness with Jesus, tempted to panic, as we head toward the cross on Good Friday. During Lent, several adult mentors are being asked to engage in a faith talk with youth ages 12-18. This involves intentional listening and sharing their own understanding and experiences of faith out loud. This is something many of us rarely do. And in fact, it has felt more than a bit intimidating, even panic, for several of you who have considered it, and said, “No thank you pastor. This is not for me.” It all starts with a reflection for the both the young people and adults:
随着COVID 19的传播，在这个时间进入四旬斋节也许是合适的， 给了我们四十天的反思时间，当我们在耶稣受难日朝十字架走去时，我们和耶稣一起走在旷野，很惊慌。 在四旬斋期间，一些成年导师被要求与12至18岁的年轻人进行信仰交流。 这涉及到倾听并分享自己对信仰的理解和经验， 这是我们许多人很少去做的事情。 实际上，对于你们中几个曾考虑过的人来说，这感觉有点吓人，甚至有些恐慌，他们说：“不，谢谢牧师。 这不适合我。” 一切都始于年轻人和成年人的反思：
Mentors and youth are using a discussion guide that prompts them with some reflection, which they share with one another: Draw something to show your earliest memory of how you imagined God to be. (take a moment to picture your earliest image of God)
A young person in our congregation recently told me about a conversation with a classmate who attends another church here in North Delta…went something like this: Do you believe in all this God stuff? The fellow student said, without hesitation: 100%! The young person from Trinity said, “Hum….really? All of it?”
Perhaps you can relate to this young person as you wonder where is God as COVID 19 descends upon us?
Then both mentor and youth are asked to draw something to show how you imagine God to be now. Look at the two drawings. What do they represent? How are they different? How has your understanding of God changed over the years?
In Mark’s gospel today, Jesus tells a disturbing parable intended to help us imagine what God is like and who we are in relationship with God. It’s about a vineyard owner and tenants, who both violently lash out, creating destruction of human beings. This parable is not a comfort to us in an anxious time.
The parable turns on this question: What then will the owner of the vineyard do? With this question, we who are listening, can pause…and look at the injustice of the story…the tenants refuse to give what belongs to the owner. The owner sends slaves who are harassed, beaten and killed for being messengers of the owner, asking for what already belongs to the owner. And the owner comes, to destroy the tenants, giving the vineyard to others.
Can you see it? The injustice happening on many levels. The COVID-19 outbreak reveals injustices lurking beneath the surface in the United States. Think about the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who are afraid to go to a doctor if they have COVID 19 symptoms, because they will be deported. Or those who don’t have medical insurance to cover the cost of a test…as congress is voting soon on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Trump declares a State of Emergency so that money can be directed to those who lack paid sick leave, or need nutritional support for their kids when school is cancelled. Maybe some wrongs will be made right through this health crisis.
Where are you in the story…do you relate with the owner, the tenants, the slaves, the beloved son? Those who heard this parable in the first century would’ve understood the vineyard to be the Israelites…God’s beloved people, God’s pleasant planting. The prophet Isaiah speaks with God’s voice: I will tell you what I will do for my vineyard. The slaves are those prophets, over the centuries, sent to call people back to following God’s ways, who were often stoned to death for their message.
The Bible is dangerous. It has been used by human beings to subjugate women, to justify slavery, to condemn homosexuality. This parable of the tenants has been used by Christians against Jews, blaming Jews for the death of Jesus, calling them murderers. Martin Luther, the reformer of the church that sparked the protestant reformation, who taught us that we are saved by grace through faith, also blamed Jews for the death of Jesus. This parable and other passages in the New Testament, have been used to fuel prejudice, hatred, and discrimination against our Jewish brothers and sisters for centuries. How could this happen?
The parable has been used in anti-semitic, anti-Jewish discrimination because the tenants who kill the owner’s beloved son, are associated with all Jews. It is very important that we understand the tenants to be religious leaders in the first century and not associate the tenants with Jews down through the centuries. Martin Luther blamed Jews for the death of Jesus. In fact, it was Roman authorities and soldiers who killed Jesus… This is a very important distinction. In 1995 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada issued a formal apology to the Jewish community for Martin Luther’s prejudice against Jews that fueled the holocaust and still breeds discrimination today.
The religious leaders who heard Jesus telling this parable in the first century, realized he told this parable against them and their leadership, leading people astray, and they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. This parable is told during the last week of Jesus’ life. Jesus has just recently entered Jerusalem; things are heating up that will lead to his betrayal and arrest by Roman authorities, but not yet.
Still wanting to trap Jesus, some come and ask Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not? Jesus asks them to bring him a denarius, a coin of Roman currency. “Whose head is this? Whose title?” “The emperor’s” they answer. Jesus says, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperors and to God the things that are God’s”
他们仍想诱捕耶稣，有人来问耶稣向皇帝缴税是否合法？ 耶稣要他们给他拿来一个硬币，罗马硬币。 “这是谁的头像？ 谁的头衔？” 他们回答“皇帝”。 耶稣说：“把皇帝的东西给皇帝，把上帝的东西给上帝”
What things are God’s? Well, first of all, you are not your own. You belong to God. Your life. The life of your loved ones. Your future. Your hopes and dreams. It is all God’s. If you, beloved of God, are filled with fear, worry and anxiety about what COVID-19 might do to you or to your loved ones, as we sing together, give your life to God. Our very lives are in God’s hands. In both life and death, we belong to God. As you consider going anywhere in your neighbourhood, remember our neighbours belong to God…are we going to transmit a virus as we interact with our neighbours…or are we going to create social distance out of love for our neighbour?
As I stood in line with hundreds of people, who were backed up to the dairy section of Superstore, I struck up a conversation with my neighbour, who had taken a picture of the bare shelves where toilet paper is usually on sale. We talked about the panic-stricken public. He had purchased a bunch of kale, like me. I asked what he was planning to do with it. He said, “my buddy wants me to make Tuscany Kale soup…it’s not panic kale soup.” Could be Jesus calls us to love our neighbour because it’s the best way to deal with our own worry, fear and panic. Loving our neighbour draws us outside of ourselves, gives us a new perspective, reminds us that we are all in this together and we are not alone. As the TLC council wrestled with how to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, they chose to love our neighbours, to suspend worshipping in person until we know the virus transmission will be steady rather than fast like the spread in Italy. The stranger whom I met at Superstore helped me experience God; when he said, “I’m gonna cook Tuscany Kale soup for my buddy.” These days, I find God in random conversations with strangers, who show me something about love. Jesus knows the way to experience God in these crazy times is to love our neighbours.
As world leaders gather to collaborate, stem the tide of destruction, share ideas on how to preserve life, the virus is impartial…all are susceptible…but the virus is the one thing that seems to be bringing us all together across the world. Could be God is at work through COVID-19?
Mark 10:32-52 TLC March 8 2020 马可福音 10：32 – 52 TLC 2020 年3 月8号
What is it you want me to do for you?
If you’ve ever proposed marriage to your beloved and then anxiously waited for their response, or if you’ve put an offer on a house and paced by the phone waiting for the realtor’s call, or if you’ve gotten a call that your son or daughter has been arrested and is awaiting a court date, or if you’ve called 911 for a loved one who’s collapsed and stood by while they went into emergency surgery…
Then you’ve probably pleaded with Jesus to give you just this one thing. As you wait, praying with all your cards on the table, you may have even bargained with God; trying to cut some kind of deal.
In Mark’s gospel this morning, James and John ask Jesus for something, not just anything, but “we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
So Jesus asks: What is it you want me to do for you?
It’s all about them getting some recognition, status…to sit next to Jesus, one at his right and the other at his left, basking in glory. James and John don’t get it. Following Jesus is not about getting glory. It’s about entering into suffering that yields new life…they didn’t hear what Jesus had just said: “I am heading for Jerusalem, where I will be handed over, condemned to death, mocked, spit upon, flogged and killed. After three days I will rise again.” Jesus is called to walk the road of suffering and death…a seeming failure as Messiah…after three days, he will be raised.
Could it be that we all want some recognition, to know that we are valuable, that we have something to offer another.
You don’t know what you are asking, Jesus says. Can you drink the cup that I will drink? “We are able!” James and John say, but they are clueless. Jesus doesn’t have the power to grant what they ask for. In a short while, two criminals will be hanging on Jesus’ right and left… “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant,” Jesus says.
This last week, at our Lenten soup supper, we reflected on Judaism…the story is adapted from a Jewish folktale.
A wealthy businessman decided to take a walk and eat his lunch at the same time. As he strolled near a large park, he purchased a hot dog and a soft drink. On two occasions, someone approached him and asked, “Can you help me? I’m hungry.” Each time the businessman looked straight ahead and kept walking.
Later, for dessert, he bought a chocolate éclair from a vendor. Just as he was about to take his first bite of the pastry, he had to jump out of the way to avoid a young boy on a skateboard. The éclair fell to the ground, landing in a puddle. The businessman picked it up and tried to clean it, but it was useless. The pastry was caked with mud.
As he was about to throw the éclair away, an idea struck him. He walked over to one of the beggars and handed him the dirty pastry. “Here, my good man, is something for your hunger.” He smiled to himself and walked back to his office.
That night, the businessman dreamed he was sitting in a large, crowded café with waitresses running back and forth, bringing customers delicious cakes and tortes. The waitresses all ignored the businessman, though he waved at them continually. Finally, he caught the eye of a young woman and asked for something to eat. She returned in a few minutes with a dirty piece of pastry.
The man was outraged. ‘You can’t treat me this way,’ he insisted. “I have the right to be served like anyone else. I expect to get good value for my money.”
这位男士很生气。 他坚持说：“你不能这样对待我。” “我有权得到像其他任何人一样的服务。 我希望物有所值。”
“You don’t seem to understand,” the waitress said kindly. “You can’t buy anything here. We don’t accept money. You have just arrived in heaven, and all you can order here is what you sent ahead while you were on earth. The only item we have listed in your name is this muddy éclair.”
Jesus not only asks James and John: What is it you want me to do for you? But when the blind man, Bartimaeus, calls out to him from the side of the road, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus calls him over and asks: What is it you want me to do for you? The blind man says, “My teacher, let me see again.” Without hesitation, Jesus says, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately the blind man regained his sight and followed Jesus on the way.
耶稣不仅问詹姆斯和约翰：你们要我为你们做什么？ 但是当盲人巴底买得从路边呼唤他时：“大卫的子孙耶稣，可怜可怜我吧！” 耶稣就叫他过来，问：你要我为你做什么？ 瞎子说：“夫子，我要能看见。” 耶稣毫不犹豫地说： 你的信仰救了你。” 盲人立刻看见了，并跟随耶稣。
This week while eating lunch with the quilters, Colleen Evans remembered something that happened to her when she was a young adult commuting from her home just up the road from the church to BCIT. She drove her grandmother’s 1973 Ford Pinto (Ford’s version of the Hibatchi bbq), which Colleen, her Dad, Jack, and his good friend, who was head mechanic at Happy Honda in Vancouver had literally re-assembled over several months each Saturday.
As they stripped down the engine, replaced the cam shaft, the head gasket and all the seals and belts, Colleen remembers standing underneath the hood, inside the engine block, fitting piece by piece together. It was a complete rust bucket and, even though it had been completely rebuilt, the timing was off and it would die while idling in traffic.
本周，科琳·埃文斯（Colleen Evans）在与棉被小组一起吃午餐时，想起了她年轻时从教堂附近的家中到BCIT上下班通勤时发生的事情。 她开着她祖母的1973年福特平托。 实际上科琳，她的父亲，跟他的好朋友杰克，杰克曾是温哥华快乐本田的首席机械师，在这几个月的每个星期六都对这辆车进行重新整修。他们拆下发动机，更换凸轮轴，汽缸盖垫片以及所有的密封件和皮带，科琳回忆起站在引擎盖下方的发动机罩内部，将它们逐块地装配在一起。 发动机缸体都已经生锈了，即使已经重新整修了，如果时机到了，它也会在空转时死掉。
On her commute Colleen carried a screwdriver so that when she was idling in bumper to bumper traffic, the engine sputtering like it was going to die, she could jump out and adjust the timing to keep the car running. One dark, rainy night as she drove home, the engine began to sputter at full throttle and Colleen began to panic as she rolled to a stop…shaking and terrified, she looked up to see that she’d parked in front of a BC Transit garage.
As she stared into the dark, a shaft of light appeared as the garage door started to open and out walked four burly mechanics who came up to her window, asking if she needed anything. They rolled her Pinto into the garage and had it up on the hoist in minutes. One mechanic, wiping away her tears, asked if she wanted to call for a ride home. She called her Dad, who came and picked her up. They kept the car overnight, fixed it, and had her back on the road. Colleen doesn’t remember consciously praying, but she certainly was asking for something she could not do for herself. Her Dad wrote the mechanics a letter, thanking them for looking out for his daughter, stranded by the road. Looking back now, perhaps we can all see that God was at work through those mechanics, giving Colleen exactly what she needed…assurance she was not alone on some scary road, consumed with darkness on all sides.
Jesus can see the bigger picture in a way we never will. Jesus asks you this morning: What is it you want me to do for you? Jesus knows what we need more than we do. Jesus can see the consequences of a decision and actions across time, where we can only guess about how we might influence others or the world around us. Often what we want is not what we need, but Jesus can see both.
When we have exhausted our resources, have nothing left, are not sure what will happen next, God will raise us up.
Mark 10:17-31 March 1, 2020 TLC 马可福音 10：17 –31 2020 年3月1日
You Lack One Thing
As I stopped at Pharmasave this week, while standing in line for the cashier, a woman in front of me was asking about the lottery ticket she wanted…what is the jackpot right now? How much would $5 get me? With maybe a glimmer of hope, she threw some money towards the jackpot. If anyone of us were to win the lottery, what might happen to our lives?
当我本周在Pharmasave买东西，在排队等待交钱时，我前面的一个女人在询问她想要买的彩票……现在的奖金有多少？ 5美元能给我带来多少钱？ 她带着一线希望，用一些钱买了彩票。 如果我们中的某个人中了彩票，我们的生活会发生什么样的变化？
Imagine with me…Gregory Mathieu, 22-year-old who won Loto-Quebec’s biggest jackpot ever this week: $70 million. Picture him entering the sanctuary, he’s gone from bagging groceries to sharing $70 million with his family. He may or may not change the way he dresses, start to think he’s got it all, that he’s got the world by the tail, pulling in a six-digit annual income (well over $100,000) with no need to work. What will the next few years bring for him? His mother says, “We are grounded. We take care of each other….” Winning the lottery has a bad track record for the winners. They tend to focus on living large and struggle to keep what really matters in perspective.
想象一下……22岁的格雷戈里·马修（Gregory Mathieu），本周赢得了魁北克省最大的大奖：7000万加元。 想像一下他进入庇护所的场景，他不再需要打包杂货，而是与家人分享7000万美元。 他可能会，也可能不会改变自己的着装方式，他开始认为自己拥有了一切，已经掌握了整个世界，不需要工作就可以取得六位数的年收入（超过100,000美元）。 未来几年会给他带来什么？ 他的母亲说：“我们着陆了，我们彼此照顾……” 有记录表明中奖对于中奖者来说并不好。 他们倾向于过奢侈的生活，并很难保持关注真正重要的事情。
A young rich man sees Jesus walking by and runs up to him. Stops Jesus by falling on his knees before him: “Good teacher, what must I do to get eternal life? To be at peace when I die?” This young man is not satisfied…though he’s extremely wealthy, something is still missing. There’s still an emptiness in his life that he can’t shake. Something keeps him from trusting that in the end he will be at peace with himself, with God.
Jesus can see his struggle…but instead of answering his question, Jesus says, “Why do you call me good? No one is good, only God is good.” At this point, Jesus doesn’t identify himself as divine…he says…only God is good, implying, “I am not.”
耶稣可以看到他的挣扎……但是耶稣没有回答他的问题，而是说：“你为什么称我为好？ 没有人是好的，只有上帝是好的。” 在这一点上，耶稣不承认自己是神圣的……他说……只有上帝是好的，暗示“我不是。”
The rich young man is a sinner. He’s got a lot of stuff, but instead of trusting God and living generously, he’s become trapped by it. It owns him, his wealth holds him captive, keeps him from being truly alive.
Not only is the rich young man a sinner; I’m a sinner. Did you hear that? Your pastor, the one who you might think is able to follow all the commands of God because I stand up here and preach every week? Some people may think a pastor’s DNA is somehow superhuman? Nope, definitely not. I’m a sinner, standing in need of the same grace all of you are. At times, I lose my temper, killing another with my words and actions…when the guy driving the big truck won’t let me merge onto the Alex Fraser bridge lane, expletives fly off my tongue and I glare at him as I pass. Every day, in my thoughts, words and actions, I fail to trust God and love my neighbours.
不仅有钱的年轻人是罪人， 我也是个罪人。 你听到了吗？ 你的牧师，你可能认为她能够遵循上帝的所有命令，因为我每个星期都会站在这里传道？ 有些人可能认为牧师的DNA某种程度上是超人？ 不，绝对不是，我是一个罪人，跟你们所有人一样需要恩典。 有时，我会发脾气，用言语和行动伤害别人……当驾驶大卡车的人不让我并入上亚历克斯·弗雷泽（Alex Fraser）桥的匝道时，冒犯的话从我嘴里冒出，我经过他时等了他一眼。 每天，在我的思想，言语和行动上，我都不信任上帝，也不爱我的邻居。
Naming our sin…how we are broken, how we fail to trust God and love our neighbours. This is the way to find true freedom. Naming our sin is not meant to burden us with guilt, not something we need to hide from others. When we name our sin, it gives God a chance to set us free. Jesus says, “God is good. No one is good but God alone.” When we name our sin, we admit we cannot save ourselves. Only God can do that.
讲出我们的罪……我们如何破碎，我们如何不信任上帝，如何不爱我们的邻居。 这是找到真正自由的方式。 说出我们的罪并不意味着让我们有负罪感，不是我们需要向他人隐瞒什么。 当我们说出自己的罪时，就给了上帝一次让我们自由的机会。 耶稣说：“上帝是好的。 没有人是善良的，只有上帝一个。 当我们说出自己的罪过时，我们承认我们无法自救。 只有上帝才能做到。
Jesus reminds the rich young man of God’s commands: don’t murder, don’t betray your spouse, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother. We all fall short when we hear these commands…but the young man says he’s kept all of these since his youth. When we know we are sinners, cannot save ourselves, then we give Jesus a chance to look at us, as we are. No more games, no faking it until we make it.
Last month, the world’s biggest manager of financial assets, Blackrock, sent their annual letter to CEO’s of the most profitable companies around the world. The letter stressed the urgency of using their resources to reduce the world’s carbon footprint. Google, Apple and Amazon all announced goals to become carbon neutral, releasing zero emissions into the atmosphere with how they produce and transport goods. Microsoft CEO announced a new $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund “to accelerate the development of carbon reductions and renewable technologies.” And they laid out an aggressive goal of becoming carbon negative or climate positive by 2050. This means they want to remove more carbon than they emit. They intend to remove all carbon emitted directly or by electrical consumption since the company was founded in 1975. This would accelerate global production of technology that reduces, captures and removes carbon from earth’s atmosphere.
上个月，全球最大的金融资产管理公司黑石（Blackrock）的经理向全球最赚钱的公司的首席执行官发送了年度信函。 这封信强调了利用他们的资源来减少全球碳排放的紧迫性。 谷歌，苹果和亚马逊都宣布了实现碳中性的目标，使其生产和运输过程中向大气层达到零排放。 微软首席执行官宣布了一项新的10亿美元的气候创新基金，“以加快碳减排和可再生技术的发展。” 他们提出了一个雄心勃勃的目标，即到2050年实现碳负效应或气候正效应。这意味着他们希望消除的碳比其排放的更多。 该公司自1975年成立以来，一直致力于通过直接方式或间接电力消除碳排放。这将促进全球对减少，捕获和清除地球大气层中的碳技术的研发。
Money is not evil. Money, smartly invested for the sake of the planet, could help turn the tide on the climate crisis. The love of money is the root of evil. When Jesus looks at the rich young man, he can see that his heart is clinging to his possessions above all else. These companies with profits in the billions are choosing to invest their profit in reducing carbon emissions.
Each of us are entrusted with resources…how might we be called to use those resources for the common good? At the AGM last week, we talked about how we use the resources you share through Trinity Lutheran. As a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada we are independent financially; we don’t receive financial support from the larger church. In order to continue to live into God’s dream for our neighbourhood, we now partner with several new user groups in need of affordable space: Fraser Valley quilters, Young People’s Opera and UBC youth Gearing Up STEM camps. But we continue to rely on your generosity in addition to our new neighborhood partners to live into God’s dream. Thank you for the ways you continue to invest money entrusted to you so that we might discover what God is up to in our neighbourhood.
Contrary to what some of us were taught as children, we are not sinners in the hand of an angry God. Rather, Jesus looks at you and loves you. Jesus looks at the rich young man and loves him. “You lack one thing. Go, sell all that you own and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure beyond this life. Then come, follow me.” This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
As we enter the forty days of Lent, we are walking toward the cross with Jesus. The cross says to you, me, our neighbours and the cosmos: I love you so much that I would rather die than keep track of all your sins on some divine ledger. The season of Lent, which began with Ash Wednesday and continues for the next 40 days, is a chance to admit we cannot save ourselves. Christ Jesus has already saved us on the cross.
当我们进入四旬期第四十天时，我们正与耶稣一起走向十字架。 十字架对你，我，我们的邻居和宇宙说：我是如此爱你，以至于我宁愿死也不想在某个神圣的账本上记录你的所有的罪。 四旬期始于灰烬星期三，并持续40天，这是一个机会，承认我们无法自救。 基督耶稣已经救了我们在十字架上。
God is good. We are loved. When you are loved, all things become possible.
Mark 8:27-9:8 Colossians 3:1-4 马可福音 8:27 – 9:8 歌罗西书 3: 1-4
Hidden with Christ in God/ The Story Behind the Story
There’s always a story behind the story…when we meet someone for the first time, we size them up unconsciously, we get an impression…based on what they are wearing or the sound of their voice, or the look on their face, the gaze of their eyes. We don’t know the story that lives behind our first impression unless we ask a few open and honest questions, creating a space where they are free to talk.
In Mark’s gospel this morning, Jesus opens up a space for his closest followers to talk…as they are walking through several villages, Jesus sparks a conversation by asking: Who do people say that I am? This is the safe distance question…not too personal, it’s indirect, not asking them to try and answer it for themselves. So they say, John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets. The prophets are those who are able to imagine the world other than the way it is in front of them. They can see the story behind the story. They can see what God is up to behind the scenes, name it, and perhaps call it out of us. The prophets believe deeply that God is alive, a real agent who acts in the world, who causes endings and new beginnings. Prophets were dangerous because they name human systems that silence and degrade people on the margins, the earth and its creatures. Prophets were often killed, or silenced, for telling the story behind the story.
在今天早上的马可福音中，耶稣创造了一个可以与他最亲密的追随者交谈的空间，……当他们走过几个村庄时，耶稣通过询问来引发对话：人们说我是谁？ 这个问题有一定的安全距离……不是太个人化，而是间接的，不要求他们尝试自己回答。 因此，他们说，施洗约翰，以利亚或某位先知。 先知是那些能够以一种不同于在自己面前所呈现的方式来想象世界的人。 他们可以看到故事背后的故事。 他们可以看到上帝在幕后所做的事情，揭示它，甚至可以从我们内里把它呼召出来。 先知深信上帝是活着的，是在世界上所行之事的真正推动者，会导致结束和新的开始。 先知之所以危险，是因为他们揭露了人类的一套体系让处于边缘的人，地球及其生物静默并退化。 先知常常因为讲故事背后的故事而被杀或消声。
Listening to Prime Minister Trudeau address the Speaker of the House of Commons this week, I realized I don’t know the story behind the story of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief stand off in northern B.C. that’s been preventing Canada Rail transit. In the UN Declaration of Indigenous Human Rights, which you will all get a copy of today as part of our AGM meeting... over 20 nations voted in favor of the declaration in 2007. Canada debated for 10 years before voting in favor. B.C. was the first province to make the declaration into law in November 2019.
What we affirm has not yet been fully embedded in B.C. laws, but we are moving towards it.
After two weeks of disrupted rail transit, the barricades have awakened the entire country to recognizing how Indigenous law is upheld by the declaration…
Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,
Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of hu- mankind,
Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust,
Reaffirming that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind,
Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests,
Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources,
In the UN Declaration, we agree to live here in Canada together, to make collective decisions. All sorts of laws need to be changed in order to weave this into the fabric of B.C.’s laws. Across Canada, many people support Indigenous fundamental rights. What is far more challenging for people, including governments, is making the changes necessary in how we make decisions. PM Trudeau was speaking in the house of commons about this decision- making process, urging the government to make room for these conversations, while still respecting the rule of law.
在《联合国宣言》中，我们同意共同生活在加拿大，共同作出决定。 为了将其纳入卑诗省法律的架构，需要修改各种法律。 在加拿大各地，许多人支持原住民的基本权利。 对于包括政府在内的民众而言，更具挑战性的是进行决策方式方面的必要更改。 特鲁多总理在下议院就这一决策过程发表讲话，敦促政府为这些对话保留空间，同时仍要尊重法治。
The hereditary chiefs are following Indigenous law, which says they need to protect the lands with which they have a sacred connection, a much larger (22,000 acres) territory than the band of chiefs are responsible for. The world has known since 2011 that at least 80% of all fossil fuels must stay in the ground to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius. This means 90%of U.S., Australian coal, and all Canadian tar sands must stay in the ground. California recently passed legislation banning state agencies from building oil and gas infrastructure. Other states are likely to follow. Could it be the hereditary chiefs are God’s prophets speaking to Canadian power structures? The UN Declaration gives indigenous communities “free, prior and informed consent” in matters that impact them…such as pipeline projects.
世袭酋长遵守原住民的法律，该法律说，他们需要保护与其神圣联系的土地，这比酋长集团所负责的领土要大得多（22,000英亩）。 自2011年以来，全世界都知道，至少80％的化石燃料必须留在地下，以使全球温度保持在2摄氏度以下。 这意味着90％的美国，澳大利亚煤炭和所有加拿大焦油砂必须留在地下。 加州最近通过了一项立法，禁止州政府机构建设石油和天然气基础设施。 其他州也可能随之而来。 难道世袭首领是神的先知在对加拿大的权力机构说话吗？ 《联合国宣言》在会影响原住民的事情上，…诸如输油管项目，赋予了他们“事先知情权和自由决定是否同意”的权利。
On Thursday morning, the RCMP agreed to move away from the barricaded area to a nearby town 22 km away. With the goal of keeping peace, decreasing tension, and making room for the conversation to happen between the hereditary chiefs and the Crown Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett. The RCMP bent to the request of the hereditary chiefs, creating space for a real conversation that leads to compromise. But by Friday, PM Trudeau was calling for hereditary chiefs to remove the barricades, hoping to prevent a forceful interaction with the RCMP no doubt.
星期四上午，加拿大皇家骑警同意从路障区域移至22公里外的附近城镇。 为了维持和平，以缓和紧张气氛并为世袭首领与原住民关系部长卡洛琳·贝内特之间的对话留出空间，我们的目标是维护和平。 加拿大皇家骑警屈从于世袭酋长的要求，为真正的对话创造了空间，从而促成双方的让步妥协。 但是周五，特鲁多总理已要求世袭首领撤除路障，毫无疑问他希望阻止与皇家骑警的武力互动。
The story behind the story has led to this stand-off. After asking his followers to voice the story behind the story of his life, he doesn’t let the conversation drop. He goes on to ask: “But who do you say that I am?” Peter, the courageous one who speaks before he thinks, blurts out what he’s convinced the backstory is for Jesus: “You are the Messiah.” Jesus quickly shuts that down…perhaps Jesus was genuinely surprised and then alarmed by Peter’s insight. Has Peter figured out the story behind the story? Don’t tell anyone about me, Jesus says.
Then Jesus goes on to give them a glimpse. He will suffer, be rejected, killed and after three days rise again. He spoke openly. Peter takes Jesus aside and begins to tell him off. You’ve got it wrong Jesus…Messiah’s don’t suffer…they are conquering heroes…they rise up and defend their people, saving them from the occupying power of Rome. Fighting back is the way Messiah brings God’s beloved people to a place of freedom from oppression. But Jesus says, “Peter you’ve got it all wrong, you are fighting against me…you may know that Jesus is the Messiah, but he doesn’t get the story behind the story. You don’t know how God will work through me to save and heal the world.
然后耶稣继续给他们暗示。 他公开告诉他们，他将历经苦难，被拒绝，被杀，三天后将再次复活。 彼得把耶稣叫到一边，开始告诉他。 耶稣，你错了……弥赛亚没有受苦……他们是正在征战的英雄……他们鼓舞并捍卫自己的人民，使他们脱离罗马的统治。 反击是弥赛亚将上帝所爱的人带到一个不受压迫的地方的方式。 但是耶稣说：“彼得，你错了，你正在反对我，…你可能知道耶稣是弥赛亚，但他没有看到故事背后的故事。 你不知道神将如何通过我来拯救和医治世界。
Jesus invites the crowd gathered around, and says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves…… take up their cross…… and follow me.” Anyone who wants to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What is Jesus talking about? Denying yourself is the path to reconciliation with ourselves, with God, with creation, between indigenous communities and colonizers. Denying yourself starts with admitting you don’t know everything, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. Like the conversations with the hereditary chiefs, it starts with listening for the story behind the story. When we genuinely listen, we let go of ourselves in order to make room for another. The RCMP arrests and presence needed to stop in order for negotiations to start.
耶稣邀请众人围拢过来，说：“若有人要跟从我，让他们否定自己......背起十字架......来跟从我。”凡是想跟着我的人都必须让我领导。 你不在舵手的座位上；而我在。 不要逃避痛苦； 拥抱它。 跟我来，我会告诉你如何做。 自救根本没用，自我牺牲才是拯救自己的方式，也是我的方式， 是拯救真正的自己。 获得你想要的却失去了自己，一个真正的自己，会有什么好处呢？耶稣在说什么？ 否定自己是我们与上帝，与我们自己，与这个世界，与原住民社区，与殖民者和解的途径。 否定自己始于承认自己一无所知，也不知道会发生什么。 就像与世袭首领的谈话一样，它始于聆听故事背后的故事。 当我们真正倾听时，我们会放下自己，从而为他人腾出空间。 为了开始谈判，皇家骑警停止出面和逮捕。
Take up your cross. Leave behind what you’ve known and enter into the suffering of others. If we really listen to their pain, their protest, we will feel their pain. That becomes our cross. We take on someone else’s burdens… taking up the cross in about choose to enter into the suffering of others. Classmates at Semiahmoo High school are grieving the tragic death of Alexandra Zhai. Many are struggling with Liver’s Regret or Survivor’s Guilt asking …why didn’t I show Alex I cared, why wasn’t it enough to keep her alive, why didn’t I speak up when I needed to, if I spoke up would it have prevented her death. We continue to pray for her friend, Crystal, who was with Alexandra when she died. There are times when people can see no way out of the deep pain in which they are trapped. They refuse to share the story behind the story; in such cases we cannot prevent their death.
Jesus hikes up a mountain with Peter, James and John…a place where you can get a new perspective…in order for them to experience the story behind the story of his life. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their very eyes. His clothes shimmered, covered in stardust…the great prophets Moses and Elijah show up and enter into deep conversation with Jesus. Peter wants to stay there forever, build a place to remember it. And suddenly a brilliant cloud surrounds them, and they hear a Voice telling the story behind the story: “This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him.”
耶稣与彼得，詹姆士和约翰一起上山……在这里，你有了新的视角……，以便他们体会自己自己的生命故事背后的故事。 就在他们的面前，他的外貌由内而外发生改变。 他的衣服闪闪发光，布满星尘……伟大的先知摩西和以利亚出现了，与耶稣进行了深入的交谈。 彼得想永远留在那里，建立个纪念的地方。 突然，一团巨大的乌云环绕着他们，他们听到一个声音在讲故事背后的故事：“这是我的儿子，以我的爱为标志。 听他的。”
What is our story behind the story of our lives? Throughout our lives, Jesus invites us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow. In this process of dying, letting God be in the driver’s seat, entering into the suffering of others, we find life. Letting a part of us die, so another part can live. As Paul tells the followers of the way of the cross in the ancient Roman city of Colossae: “for you have died, your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.” The story behind the story for each of us is that our lives are hidden with Christ in God…as we deny ourselves, making room to listen to the other, including those whom we don’t like, struggle to understand, make false assumptions about…we enter into their pain, we carry their burdens and together we are following the way of Christ out into the world.
May all we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each others’ burdens and walks the way of the cross together. Listen to our hearts’ longing for reconciliation. Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we pray. Amen.
Mark 7 Feb 16, 2020 TLC
马可福音 7 2020年 2月16日 TLC
Kids’ Message: Jesus is frustrated, even angry in Mark’s gospel this morning…what might he be frustrated about? Religious leaders thought that doing certain things was the way to get close to God…like washing their hands before eating….but Jesus says it’s not what comes in through our mouth that pollutes us…it was comes out of our mouth that pollutes…our words can hurt others…when we want what belongs to someone else, when we put down others, when mean words come out of our mouth….When have you experienced the power of words hurting or healing someone…maybe yourself?
I bet you have a story to share…when we share our stories, healing happens…we realize we are not alone, that others understand us, that we have love to share. Here’s one of the stories I’ve heard from a young person: One summer while camping, I met a little person named June at the water spigot as I went to clean some dishes…. June is a wise one in a peculiar, a very special package. Soon to turn four, June had become much more verbal than when I first met her a couple years ago, but she had not grown very much. She wears braces on her legs and moves around on her pink scooter, standing about this tall. As I greeted her, June began to tell me that her family was getting packed up to go home. Then to my surprise she said, “I’m going to start preschool next week.” She was obviously very excited about it and so articulate (her words were so clear and confident); it took my breath away. On a roll, she continued, “My birthday is September 9. And I’m getting two new teeth…see!” showing me with her tongue where her teeth were coming in. I asked if they were sore. She said, “No.” Then her sister, brother and mother joined us, crowding around us and she asked her mom to pick her up, so that she could keep talking with me. June doesn’t talk with very many people. She mostly looks with her eyes. A lot of times, strangers would stare at June because she is very small for a four-year-old. She may get teased at school by other kids. What comes out of us can put down others or build them up with love. The stories that came out of June at the water spigot built me up just when I needed it. This week at school there may be kids who are being put down. Jesus might ask you to be the one to build them up. As you come forward to eat the bread and grape juice, Jesus comes to live in you and wants to speak words through your lips at school this week.
It is Only with God’s help, through the Spirit opening our eyes so that we notice people on the margins (use a piece of paper to talk about people who live on the edges of our neighborhoods: who are the people who live on the edges, forgotten, …not enough money for healthy lunch at school each day, excluded from groups on the playground because they are new kids at school, perhaps don’t speak English fluently or are challenged in how they move their bodies or takes them longer to understand what the teacher is teaching.) and serve them, we become the hands and feet of Jesus (refer to worship bulletin). True religion is about loving people on the margins, noticing, helping, lifting them up…
When you come forward to receive the bread and the grape juice, you meet Jesus who loves and forgives you…come by the font and dip your fingers in it…make the sign of the cross on your forehead and say, “Jesus loves me no matter what I said or did. Nothing could keep me from his love.”
These days we are surrounded with hand sanitizing stations…either they are newly installed or I’ve just been noticing them more…at the entrance to the grocery story, recreation center, in restaurants…in the last few years we’ve installed them all over the church…in the kitchen, bathroom, community hall. During the flu season we are all trying to keep our hands clean, to prevent the spread of infection. In Mark’s gospel this morning the Pharisees, those who are concerned about keeping the tradition of the elders, call out the disciples of Jesus for their grubby hands. Why do they neglect to wash the world off before coming to dinner as their elders taught them?
这些天，我们随处可见手消毒液...有的是新安装的，我刚注意到更多...在杂货店，娱乐中心，餐馆的入口……在过去的几年中，我们在教堂也都安装了...在厨房，卫生间，社区礼堂中都装了。 在流感季节，我们都在努力保持双手清洁，以防止感染扩散。 在今天早晨的马可福音中，法利赛人，那些关心保持前辈传统的人，把耶稣的门徒们叫出来， 因为他们的手很脏。 他们为什么忽视长辈的教导，没有洗净身上的灰尘，再来吃饭？
Reminds me of those who may walk into this sanctuary with a baseball cap on, and someone says, “take that cap off…it’s disrespectful.” Well, it depends…if the person wearing the cap is covering their head because all their hair fell off in chemotherapy treatments, then we may change what we say to them…out of respect for their life-threatening illness and the suffering it has caused, knowing they don’t want their head exposed.
The Pharisees sound judgy, don’t they? Jesus comes back by quoting the prophet Isaiah…is Jesus throwing the Bible at them like a weapon? No…Jesus is saying they regularly confuse interpretation of the law with the law itself. You have rejected God’s command in favor of a human tradition.
If we learn one thing from our Jewish brothers and sisters, whose faith forms the foundation of Christianity, we learn this: interpretation of God’s law is essential and on-going. Laws don’t interpret themselves. They never have. Jewish spiritual practice involves chewing on a text in community—turning it around like a multi-faceted diamond to discover new viewpoints. Sabbath worship for our Jewish brothers and sister today involves digging into the scriptures, the Torah: (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy…first five books of our Christian Bible) considering interpretations from centuries of rabbis in the Mishnah and together finding new ways of understanding God’s teachings for today.
So, Jesus is doing what rabbis do…inviting them to consider what the law means for today: Jesus throws out the example of one of God’s laws given to Moses. Honor your father and mother. What does this mean? It’s not obvious what honoring might involve. Kissing the ground your parents walk on? Not rolling your eyes at them, even when they are being annoying? Letting them influence all your life-altering decisions? Living with them your whole life? Caring for them as they age. Who is included in the category father and mother?
Here at Trinity, many of you are fathers and mothers to the young people from infants to young adults…as you take care of them in the nursery, check in each week and ask them about their lives, share stories from your own life, inviting them into your heart.
Jesus then reminds them of a law from Leviticus…whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die…glad we no longer enforce THAT command, right? Death penalty is an extreme consequence for yelling rude things at your parents! And Jesus goes on to disagree with Pharisees allowing any help you would’ve given to your parents, instead you give it as Corban, an offering to God. So, being ultra-religious with Corban, a way to neglect our closest human relationships, is a misuse of the law, Jesus says.
Mark’s Jesus says, “Whatever you think you are doing to be religious, to get close to God, you’ve got it wrong” …handwashing, odd practice of Corban, and many other things. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners and was criticized for it because it would make him ritually unclean…like he could get infected by their sinfulness. Jesus didn’t think sinners were contagious, because Jesus knows our heart problem is genetic. We are all full of potential for evil. It is what bubbles up from within us that pollutes us, that creates a sin-sick soul.
We have no wiggle room this morning. We all squirm as Jesus names what we struggle with. When the religious leaders challenge why Jesus doesn’t require the spiritual practice of hand washing, Jesus says “there is nothing outside a person that by going in makes our souls sick, but what comes out of us is what pollutes.”
Jesus goes on to talk about what is clean to eat, “Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot pollute, since it enters not the heart, but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” A Jewish Rabbi was interviewed a couple years ago. He shared a prayer he offers every time what comes out of his body goes to the sewer…giving thanks that his life is sustained by the source of life. It’s a spiritual practice for him, reminding him that he’s made in the image of God, that he belongs to God. Perhaps Jesus knew this prayer, as he declared all foods to be ritually clean for eating.
The evil intentions Jesus lists, coming out of our hearts, catch each one of us; off the top of your head you may not even know what all these words refer to. I had to google a few of them. But as I reflected, it seems they are all about misplaced desires.
Have you ever wanted what is not yours to have? Wanting what is not ours to have, to hold, to indulge in can pollute ourselves and our interactions with others. A misplaced desire for physical intimacy, a desire for more and more money or power, a desire for someone else’s spouse, house, car or anything else that belongs to them, a desire to pull down someone else’s reputation….all that Jesus speaks of is about following our misplaced desires. Following those desires infects not only our hearts, but all our relationships as well.
When an outbreak erupts from within us: deceiving others, thinking the worst of others, thinking too highly of ourselves, or envying others…we become sick…but we don’t catch this from others. Our heart problem is in our DNA; it’s not contagious. When our souls become sick, Jesus doesn’t leave us alone to wallow in our mess. Jesus doesn’t put us in quarantine, holding cells, or decontamination chambers. Jesus eats with sinners, touches lepers, holds the hand of those who’ve died, lets those suffering touch him.
Those of us who are suffering with a sin sick soul today, Jesus comes to heal, to bind up your wounds. Nothing can keep Jesus away from you.
Mark 6:1-29 Death of John the Baptist TLC Feb 9 2020
马可福音 6：1-29 施洗约翰的死 TLC 2020 年2 月9号
The truth will be made known. What is in the dark will reach the light.
Context: We often sanitize or whitewash the Bible when we hear passages like the one we are about to hear, because it’s full of blood, violence and death. But we can’t have peace and love until we’ve faced the violence and injustice in the world and within ourselves. In Mark’s gospel this morning, King Herod had heard about Jesus teaching in the villages among the people and sending out his closest followers in pairs, two by two. They were calling people repent: to face the violence and injustice within and around them, turn around to a new way of seeing, hearing and living. People who heard this message were being healed, set free, made whole…Herod wondered who was this Jesus and what was he up to?
Every week, as Jenn prepares the powerpoint for worship, we select a hold slide for my message that depicts the gospel. What image would you choose as a hold slide for day? A bloody head on a platter? (cut to “Consider the entertainment Herod arranges for his birthday party….) I would’ve passed out if I’d been a guest at Herod’s banquet. I’ve never liked movies with a lot of bloodshed. This is not the kind of story you design a Sunday school lesson around…or is it?
Jesus lived in a Roman colony ruled with an iron fist, where King Herod wielded the power to kill and spare lives on a whim. We know about the kind of rulers who have the power to serve someone’s head on a platter because it still happens today. Is it possible, in the midst of such violence that continues today, that God’s good and gracious will is still coming into our world?
Herod had heard about Jesus, but people were all wondering who is Jesus? Where did he come from? (pause) Why was he here? (pause) As they wondered, some thought he was a prophet, Elijah raised from the dead but when Herod heard it, he knew: “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” The more Herod thinks about who Jesus is, the more guilty he feels about beheading John the Baptist…the voice that cried out in the wilderness to prepare the way for Jesus. Herod is convinced John has come back to haunt him. Herod can’t seem to shake the guilt and regret over what he’s done or failed to do. Guilt has taken up residence like his shadow…following him wherever he goes. We know what this is like. To be tormented by guilt and regret… wishing you would’ve held your tongue or could take back what you’ve done, but it’s out there making a mess of your life. You try to walk away, but every time you walk outside into the sunshine it pops out just as close as your shadow.
Herod had arrested John, because his wife, Herodias, insisted. Herod could not stand up to his wife. She had a death wish for John because he told everyone her marriage with Herod was against the law. Herod’s wife was his brother Philip’s wife. So Herod arrested John, in order to protect him.
Herod liked to listen to John; he was confused, yet strangely drawn, to his words. Herod wanted to protect John from his wife’s death wish. But after drinking too much, entranced by his niece/step-daughter Salome’s dancing, Herod’s senses were dulled, his judgment was impaired, and he found himself offering Salome whatever she wanted…even half of his kingdom. This Herod solemnly swore. Salome runs to her mother to give her the news.
Herodias jumps at the opportunity to fulfill her death wish, to take revenge, and asks for John’s head. Though he’s grieved, Herod goes against his better judgment, hoping to save face with his dinner guests. And he regrets it big time. What’s done is done.
Josephus, a Jewish historian who lived in 60 CE, when Mark’s gospel was written, recorded historical events of his day in what is called Antiquities of the Jews. Josephus reports that John was executed by Herod for fear he might inspire political unrest and rebellion in Roman territory. Josephus doesn’t mention John’s beheading but he stresses the injustice. John was right with God. Herod was not.
约瑟夫斯（Josephus）是一位犹太历史学家，他生活在公元60年，这也是在马可福音成书的时期。他在所谓的犹太古籍中记录了当时的这一历史事件。 约瑟夫斯（Josephus）报道说，约翰被希律王处死，因为他担心这会激起罗马领土的政治动乱和叛乱。 约瑟夫斯没有提到约翰的斩首，但他强调了事件的不公正性。 约翰与上帝同在， 但希律没有。
Herod used his political power to try and silence John’s voice, but even death couldn’t do that. We are still hearing John’s voice today as we live into this violent story. Herod couldn’t silence John’s voice.
There’s a risk when we give voice to what needs to change, to speak up about what is not right. But the Spirit of the living God is at work so that our voice won’t be silenced.
As the coronavirus spreads, Jeremy Li, Chinese NBA star, posted in Instagram that he is saddened by racist comments made in connection with the coronavirus, as he returned to California with the basketball season postponed due to the outbreak. In the wake of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash, Jeremy has lost a Ducks teammate to the virus and says we cannot take life for granted and instead of discriminating against those who look like carriers of the virus, “we need to lift up the heroes on the front lines of the virus outbreak working around the clock to prevent it’s spread and treat those suffering.” Wong-Tam, leader of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto said back in 2003 during the SARS outbreak, “people of Chinese backgrounds were shunned at schools, harassed in the streets, taunted on public transit, and many more felt ostracized and isolated from the rest of the city.” Such actions are evidence of discrimination driven by fear and misinformation. Despite the low risk of transmission of the coronavirus in Canada, news of the virus has led to a rise in racist accusations. If someone appears to be Chinese, the assumption is that they are virus carriers. With social media spreading the virus of discrimination, we as followers of Christ are called to think critically about all the messages fighting for our attention. And to speak up rather than be silenced when we witness discrimination happening around us.
随着冠状病毒的传播，中国NBA球星林书豪（Jeremy Lin）在Instagram上发帖称，他对与冠状病毒有关的种族主义言论感到难过，因为冠状病毒的爆发，他返回加利福尼亚篮球赛季的计划被推迟。在科比布莱恩特的直升机坠毁之后，因为冠状病毒， 杰里米失去了一个北京烤鸭队的队友。他说我们不能想当然地对待生命，我们不要歧视那些看起来像病毒携带者的人，取而代之的是“我们需要鼓舞那些奋战在抗击病毒的英雄们，他们24小时不间断地工作，防止病毒传播，治疗那些受苦受难的人。”2003年非典爆发时，多伦多华裔加拿大全国委员会（Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto）的领导人黄谭（Wong Tam）说，“在学校里，人们都躲着有中国背景的人，他们在街上受到骚扰，在公共交通上受到嘲弄，更多的人感到被排斥，与城市其他地方隔绝。“这些行为是因恐惧和错误信息所导致的歧视的证据。尽管冠状病毒在加拿大传播的风险很低，但有关该病毒的消息却导致种族主义的增加。如果有人看起来是中国人，那么人们就会认为他们是病毒携带者。社会媒体传播着歧视的病毒，我们作为基督的信徒被要求要有批判性地思维，去看待那些争相引起我们注意的所有信息。当我们目睹我们周围发生的歧视时，我们要大声说出来而不是保持沉默。
In speaking up, we take some risk. When John the Baptist took the risk of calling people to repent, Herod and those in authority tried to silence him, but they failed. His message and story are still alive today. Jesus took the risk of teaching a new way of relating with the God of the Cosmos, and authorities tried to silence him. Opposed by religious and political leaders, Jesus was a threat to the first century Roman status quo. But even the grave couldn’t silence his voice. The voice of Jesus is heard through Jeremy Li and Wong-Tam as they speak up about the virus of discrimination infecting us in Canada and the United States.
The truth will be made known. What is in the dark will reach the light.
Last Sunday, Peter Xiao told us that because his wife and daughter had just returned from a trip to China, he would not be attending worship here for the next two weeks. He has decided to quarantine himself for 14 days rather than risk spreading the coronavirus to the TLC community. Out of love for you all, Peter is making sure he is not carrying the virus. Delta school district is telling parents the risk of getting sick from the virus is very low here; what Peter is doing is the best course of action.
One way we can stand with our brothers and sisters in China, who are at much higher risk of contracting the virus, is to help Vivian Jost. Vivian’s family has postponed a trip to China for a family wedding, as her family waits for the virus to be contained. Vivian just purchased a box of 600 masks on Amazon which she sent to China this week. If you would like to help her purchase more masks, let me or Vivian know.
能让我们与在中国感染病毒的风险较高的兄弟姐妹站在一起的一种方法是帮助Vivian Jost。 薇薇安（Vivian）的家人已经推迟了到中国参加家庭婚礼的行程，因为她一家正在等着该病毒得到遏制。 薇薇安（Vivian）刚刚在亚马逊上购买了一箱600只口罩，并于本周寄往中国。 如果您想帮助她购买更多口罩，请告诉我或Vivian。
Herod’s wife tried to silence John, demanding his death from her drunken husband Herod. Roman soldiers tried to silence Jesus, hanging him on a cross. But their voices are still heard among us today. As the virus spreads across China, and people are scrambling for hand sanitizer and masks to prevent infection, we are called to stand with our brothers and sisters, to speak up against discrimination here in Canada, and prevent the virus of racism from spreading.
希律的妻子试图让约翰保持沉默，要求他醉酒的丈夫处死约翰。 罗马士兵试图使耶稣沉默，将他吊在十字架上。 但是今天在我们中间，我们仍然能听到他们的声音。 随着该病毒在中国蔓延，人们争相购买洗手液和口罩以防止感染，因此我们被呼召与兄弟姐妹站在一起，反对在加拿大的歧视，并防止种族主义病毒传播。
Jesus stands among us this morning, inviting us to let go of guilt and regret. Jesus knows it is agonizingly difficult. Herod was haunted by regret for failing to protect John and wondered what it might mean for his life, perhaps even eternally. Perhaps you have things you regret, hanging onto them, hoping they will somehow become sweet if you harvest them. When we pick up our regrets and examine them, giving them a place in our heart again, wondering what it means that we messed up. Then we fail to trust the One in whom all things hold together, things in heaven and things on earth.
耶稣今天早晨站在我们中间，邀请我们放下罪恶和遗憾， 耶稣知道这非常痛苦。 希律因未能保护约翰而感到遗憾，并想知道这对他的生命可能意味着什么，他甚至终生都会如此。 也许你有遗憾的事，难以释怀，希望有一天当你回想时，会感到一丝甜蜜。 当我们重拾遗憾并审视它们时，再次让它们在自己的心中占有一席之地，思考着这错误到底意味着什么时，我们其实是没有相信这唯一的能把天上的一切和地上的一切团结在一起的神。
May you cultivate a daily practice of letting go of regret, like I tossed those overripe raspberries back into the earth. Trusting that God in Christ chose you in your baptism, to be set apart for God’s purposes, a beloved child marked with the cross of Christ forever. This God, revealed in Christ, is at work through all things for good. So that when you look back ten, twenty, or fifty years from now, you can say, God is gathering all things, things we regret, things we are proud of, into Christ. This is the mystery of God’s will. God is drawing all things together for good. All things. Things we regret. Things we wish hadn’t happened. All things in heaven. All things in earth. In spite of us and because of Christ, all things together for good.
Mark 5:21-43 TLC Feb2 2020 马可福音5：21 -43 2020年2月2号
Telling Our Whole Truth 告诉我们全部真相
With the tragic helicopter crash killing basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter Gigi as well as many of her teammates/coach and the pilot, we’ve all been drawn into the media coverage, with fans, NBA players, and the Bryant family in shock. Those recovering their bodies reported that Kobe died with his daughter in his lap, an image that breaks your heart and somehow brings comfort.
Perhaps now we know then how Jairus, a generous benefactor of the local synagogue, Jewish place of worship, feels. He is desperate to help his dying daughter and at the same time, feeling helpless. It seems that it is too late for Jairus’ daughter because Jesus took time to hear the whole truth from another desperate woman. Mark’s gospel embeds these stories of desperate people seeking healing and we are hooked into their lives, creating a pendulum swinging between fear and faith.
也许现在我们知道了犹太教堂的慷慨捐助者睚鲁的感觉。 他迫切希望能帮助自己快要死了的女儿，同时他又感到无助。 看起来对睚鲁的女儿来说，已经来不及了，因为听另一个绝望的女人讲出全部实情花费了耶稣很长时间。 马可福音讲述了这些绝望的人们寻求医治和康复的故事，而我们也陷入了跟他们一样的生活，在恐惧和信仰之间摇摆不定。
The woman who’s been bleeding for 12 years, approaches Jesus as a crowd presses in on him. In our blood is our life, as we learn about dietary laws in the Hebrew Bible, which all faithful Jews followed…drain the blood from the meat before you eat it, so that you do not consume the life of the animal. For 12 years, the life has been drained from this woman’s body. The hemorrhaging woman has used up all she had on treatments that were a wasted effort…in fact she was worse. As a last resort, she is drawn to Jesus, thinking, “If I could just touch his clothes, I will be made well.” And what’s crazy is when she reaches out to touch Jesus, she is healed. And even more crazy, Jesus knows something has happened…that power has gone out from him. So he asks, “Who touched me?” and his disciples put him down…there’s a huge crowd around you, how can you ask such a stupid question?
这位已经患血漏12年的女人，被人群拥挤着，向耶稣靠近。 在希伯来圣经中，我们了解到犹太人的饮食规矩，……在吃肉之前将肉中的血放掉，因为血液中流淌的是我们的生命，所有虔诚的犹太人都遵循这一饮食规定，以免于消费动物的生命。 十二年来，生命从这个女人的身体中逐渐流失。 这位血漏的妇女尝试了所有治疗方法，都是白费力气，……事实上，她的病情更糟。 作为最后的办法，她找到了耶稣，想着：“如果我能摸一下他的衣服，我就会好起来的。”不可思议的是，当她伸手摸到耶稣时，她就被治愈了。更疯狂的是，耶稣知道发生了什么事……觉得有能力从自己身上出去。 所以他问：“谁摸了我的衣裳？”他的门徒让他小声点……周围有很多人，你怎么能问这样一个愚蠢的问题？
But the woman, knowing she has been healed, comes before Jesus in fear and trembling….she doesn’t come in faith, but in fear. What keeps us from exercising faith is not doubt, but fear, because faith is about trusting another fully. When we are afraid, we cannot trust. But once she opens her mouth and tells her whole truth, fear dissipates/fades away, making room for trust, room for healing. There is a vital connection between telling our whole truth and being healed of our dis-ease, no matter what form it takes. After listening to her whole truth, Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your dis-ease.” Being in the presence of Jesus, someone who makes space for her to be herself, who takes time even though a desperate father is begging for Jesus to hurry before his daughter dies. Jesus stops and listens to this woman’s whole truth. Jesus gives her what she needs to let the words tumble out. Mark’s gospel doesn’t tell us what her whole truth is, but we know she has suffered and found no one to help. Bleeding, all of her neighbours would avoid contact with her, because she is ritually unclean.
This week Washington Post reporter was temporarily suspended from her job by tweeting about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault trial resolved with an undisclosed amount of money back in 2004. Social media responded with a deluge: NOT NOW. Then when? Jill Filipovic responded…she wrote: “all of our lives leave ripples. Some leave tsunamis. Compassion is not summarizing the beauty of the wave; it’s picking through the wreckage, reckoning with who was hurt….if we want our heroes to be better men, and if we want more of our heroes to be women, and if we want a world in which our stories are more honest than the framework of heroes and villains allows, well---we have to start by telling the whole truth. (When are we supposed to grapple with, and tell the whole truth about, the lives of people many admire? We can grieve a life lost and also address that life honestly.)”
Mark knows that telling our whole truth and trusting in God is not easy for us. We grasp it, we lose it. We reach again. We trust, God replenishes our lack of trust. After years of suffering, we reach the end of our rope. We have nothing left. So Jesus creates space for the hemorrhaging woman and the father of a dying daughter to trust. Trust undermines fear, so that it falls away and we are held in faith.
If we want to know how hard it is to trust God, listen to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, pouring out his heart as he prays for a chance to run away from the cross, from his suffering and death. Jesus tells his closest friends, “sit here while I pray.” Taking Peter, James and John with him, he plunged into a deep pit of dreadful agony. He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep awake with me.” Going a bit ahead of them, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: “Papa, father, you can---can’t you? Get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. I cannot drink this cup of suffering and pain…… But please not what I want---what do you want?”
如果我们想知道要信靠上帝有多么困难，就在客西马尼园中听听耶稣怎么说，他在那里倾诉他的心声，祈求有机会摆脱十字架，痛苦和死亡。 耶稣告诉他最亲密的朋友们，“我祈祷时坐在这里。”他带着彼得，詹姆斯和约翰，他陷入了可怕的痛苦深渊。 他告诉他们：“我心里甚是忧伤，几乎要死了，你们在这里等候，警醒。”他就稍往前走，俯伏在地，祷告说：“阿爸，父啊！在你凡事都能，求你将这杯撤去；然而不要从我的意思，只要从你的意思。”
Jesus came back and found them all sleeping. He said to Peter, “You went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert. Don’t be naïve. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Jesus went away and prayed…came back again and found them asleep. They couldn’t keep their eyes open..”time’s up! Get up. Let’s get going…my betrayer has arrived.”
耶稣回来，见他们都睡着了。 他对彼得说：“你睡着了？ 你不能陪我一个小时吗？ 保持警惕。 不要天真。 你们中的一部分渴望为上帝的一切做好准备。但另一部分却像睡在火炉旁的老狗一样懒惰。 耶稣又去祷告， ……再次回来，发现他们又睡着了，因为他们无法睁开眼睛。够了，时候到了！ 起来，我们走吧……那卖我的人近了。”
At three o’clock in the afternoon on a hill outside of Jerusalem, Jesus shrieks his abandonment…where are you God when I am in agony? Why have you forsaken me? Have you forgotten me?
Mark knows that trust in God is elusive…we grasp it, we lose it. We reach again…and God gives us space to tell our whole truth to another who actually listens. And fear becomes trust…becomes faith. This is what happens in Alcoholics Anonymous home groups week after week…people struggling to trust, find a place in which they can tell their whole truth. I wonder what might happen if church became such a place every time two or more are gathered?.
马可知道，对上帝的信任是难以捉摸的……我们有时把握住了，有时又失去了。 我们再次努力……上帝给了我们空间，让我们的全部实情告诉另一个真正能倾听的人。 恐惧变成信任……成为信仰。 这就是一周又一周的戒酒小组家庭聚会中发生的事情……人们努力去相信，找到一个可以说出全部真相的地方。我不知道如果我们的教会成为这样的一个地方，每次有两个或更多的人来到这里聚会，会发生什么？
Jairus’ friends respond callously, without compassion for his desperation: “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to Jairus, “Do not fear, only believe…only trust, tell your whole truth. When Jesus arrives seemingly too late, the crowd laugh at his hopeful words…the child is not dead but sleeping. Putting the crowd outside, Jesus whispers to the 12 year old girl, “Talitha cum” literally, “get up, little lamb.” Jesus does exactly what God does for him on Easter morning, “Get up!” From the grave, from death…. So that by the time the women arrive, they hear: “He has been raised. He is not here…go tell his friends that Jesus is going ahead of them…
睚鲁的朋友们的反应很冷酷，没有同情他的绝望：“你的女儿死了。 为什么还要再麻烦夫子呢？”但是耶稣听了他们的话，对睚鲁说：“不要害怕，只要信……只要相信，说出你的实情。 当耶稣到的时候，似乎已经来不及了，众人嘲笑他饱含希望的言辞……孩子不是死了而是睡着了。 耶稣把人群撵出去，低声对12岁的女孩说“ 大利大，古米”，翻译过来就是，“起来，小羊羔。”耶稣做了在复活节早晨上帝为他做的事，“起来！” 从死亡中，从坟墓中…。 这样，当妇人们来到时，她们听到：“他已经复活了。 他不在这里……告诉他的朋友，耶稣在他们前面前行……
Trust disarms fear for all of Abraham’s children…Jewish, Muslim and Christian sacred texts speak of this…for the Koran: “For whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does what is right…Jews, Muslims, or Christians—no fear shall come upon them. And the Hebrew prophet Isaiah: Surely it is God who saves. I will trust and will not be afraid.”
信任消除了亚伯拉罕所有孩子的恐惧……犹太，穆斯林和基督教的经文谈到了这一点……对于古兰经：“对于相信真主和最后一天并做对了事的人……犹太人，穆斯林或基督徒—他们没有惧怕。 希伯来先知以赛亚：当然，上帝才是救赎。 我会相信，就不会惧怕。”
Mark 5:1-20 January 26, 2020 TLC 马可福音 5：1 -20 1月26日TLC
No longer bound/My chains are gone
With the Spring Festival beginning this week, panic is escalating in Wuhan and the city shuts down all transit, trying to prevent people from traveling to visit family in what is the greatest holiday migration of millions of people annually. People were scrambling to get out of Wuhan to visit family before the transit was shut down, undoubtedly bringing the virus with them. With 17 deaths and hundreds of people infected, the World Health Organization warns this could be more lethal than the SARS epidemic 17 years ago. Infected people are queued up for treatment in Wuhan and fever clinics are overwhelmed. Two hospitals are being constructed right now, due to be completed in 10 and 15 days. When I took the Skytrain for a pastor’s regional gathering, I noticed one woman wearing a mask and as we stopped to pick up a few groceries, all the cashiers at T and T wore masks and gloves. I wondered if we may all be doing the same as the virus spreads to Vancouver.
Jesus meets a tormented man, who lives among the tombs in Mark’s gospel this morning. The man suffers from a Legion of demons living within him, overpowered and desperate, he howls on the margins of the city, where only the dead accompany him. Abusing himself with stones, the community has tried to restrain him with chains and shackles, but the Legion is so strong they cannot hold him down. The man exists in social isolation, suffering a terrifying trauma. Modern psychiatry may diagnose him with multiple personality disorder, but that doesn’t change his torment. It seems he is beyond help, that he will never find relief from his suffering.
But when the man meets Jesus he falls down before him, begging at the top of his voice: “What business do you have, Jesus, Son of the Most-High God, messing with me? I swear to God, don’t give me a hard time!” For Jesus had said, “Out! Get out of the man!” When Jesus asks, “Tell me your name.” The man says, “My name is Mob. I’m a rioting mob.” Then he begs Jesus not to banish him from the country. The mob begs to go live in the pigs rooting around nearby.
As the crazed pigs race down the hill into the sea and drowned, the pig herders are scared to death. They bolt and tell their story in town and country. Everyone wanted to see what happened…so they go and find Jesus and the man sitting up and in making sense, no longer a rioting mob. Entire community was afraid…seeing what had happened to the man who used to howl amongst the tombs and the death of 2000 pigs. In their fear, they beg Jesus to leave their neighbourhood.
So, Jesus gets back into the boat and the man who’s been set free begs to go along. But Jesus refuses to let him. Why does Jesus refuse? Unlike the disciples who stay near Jesus, hoping to understand what he’s teaching, Jesus sends the man back to his home and to the Decapolis….10 Gentile cities in ancient Rome. Jesus says: “Tell them your story…what the Master did, how God had mercy on you.”
What is your story…how has God had mercy on you?
The man controlled by a riotous mob calls himself Legion. A Legion is a Roman military term for 6000 soldiers. To be named Legion is a way to say, “I am controlled by a riotous mob and cannot break free.” In his right mind, the man knows that Jesus does what humans cannot do on their own. Jesus has power to heal the trauma, to send the Legion of diabolical power packing down the hill to their destruction.
受魔鬼控制的那个人称自己为军团。 军团是一个罗马军事术语，意为6000名士兵。 被称为“军团”是一种表达方式：“我受到恶魔的控制，无法挣脱。”在那个人正确的思想中，他知道耶稣做了人类自己无法完成的事。 耶稣有能力医治创伤，将恶魔般的军团赶下山崖，摧毁他们。
Have you seen the YouTube videos of Australians rescuing koalas in the midst of the bushfire consuming their habitat? The koalas are particularly vulnerable because when they are in crisis they climb to the highest point on a tree and cling to it for dear life, which in a bushfire is sure to lead to their destruction. Australians are taking wounded animals into their homes…becoming pop-up vet clinics…a couple of teen boys rescued a carload of koalas. Seeing their compassion for the vulnerable koalas moves me to tears. Koalas cannot help themselves in the midst of a fire. Compassionate humans are saving them from extinction, risking their own lives for the sake of the koalas.
Jesus does what we cannot do on our own. This includes believing in God. On our own power, we try to climb up to God and end up climbing to our own destruction. On our own power, we cannot trust that God is love, that God is for us and not against us, that God comes to each of us in mercy when we are overwhelmed and laid low. Believing is something God’s Spirit does for us; we do not have the power to do this on our own. In fact, if we start to think that we can believe on our own, we are lying to ourselves. I have discovered, as Luther teaches about God’s Spirit, that I cannot by my own human reason or understanding believe in Jesus Christ or come to him. Believing is something God’s Spirit does for us, through us, with us. God’s Spirit calls us, woos us, to trust…with a power we cannot muster up no matter how hard we try.
Karen Armstrong in her insightful book called The Case for God, writes about what believing meant for Jesus. Jesus does not ask us to believe in him. Jesus asks us to pistis, the Greek word in the original manuscripts of the Bible, which we have come to translate into English as ‘believe’, but pistis means trust, loyalty, engagement, commitment. Jesus asks us to follow, to take care of the poor, the hungry, the desperate. Jesus asks us to refuse to be hindered by family ties, to lay aside our self-importance and sense of entitlement, abandon our pride, and live like the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, children who trust God is our father. Living into pistis, following in this way can move mountains and unleash unsuspected human potential.’ (Karen Armstrong, The Case for God) We see pistis at work in the Australian bush fires as wounded koalas, kangaroos, and birds are brought into human homes to recover.
After Jesus dies and rises, his closest followers come to realize that they would continue meeting Jesus’s resurrected presence in one another, in scripture and in the ritual meals they ate together. Gathered here this morning, a power comes from outside of us, to live in us, as we eat and drink together the real presence of Christ comes to make a home in us.
When we realize this power to commit to something bigger than ourselves, comes from God and not from us, Jesus asks us, like the man healed from a riotous mob, to share our story. The story of how God’s mercy came, found us and rescued us from ourselves, from climbing to our own destruction. This morning we have a chance to hear how Nina experienced God’s mercy in her life… after coffee and conversation teens, parents, all who are drawn by the Spirit, are invited to stay and hear Nina’s story.
Mark 2:1-22 January 12 2020 TLC 马可福音2：1-22 2020 年1月12日
Stand up, take your mat and go
As we listen to the news this week, we know that something is not right in the world. We see the result of polarization globally…extremism leading to hate crimes, including the assassination of Iran’s military general Soleimani by a US drone strike. Something that several previous presidents chose not to do, because of the potential for escalating violence, until now. This results in a vow from Iran to take revenge…and on Wednesday, the shooting down of a commercial airliner outside of Kjiv, killing 176 people, 63 of them Canadians returning from family visits in Iran over the holidays. We grieve the loss of life including children, students, doctoral candidates…all people with so much life yet to live.
More and more, our world is polarized by extremism. We live in a world where there’s hate on the extreme right and hate on the extreme left. We see this hatred played out between countries, like the U.S. and Iran. Canada has been drawn into the conflict with the airline crash. We become polarized when our thinking is either/or, black and white; we begin to think we are right and everyone else is wrong.
When the community brings a paralyzed man to Jesus’ home…they notice the crowds blocking the door, so they lift him down through the roof to get him what he needs. They are pleading together for his healing. Jesus surprises them by offering the paralyzed man forgiveness. The crowd protests, “Who can forgive sins but God alone? You are overstepping your power, Jesus.” But then Jesus asks, which is easier to say to the paralytic, “your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk?’ So that you may know the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins on earth, Jesus says to the paralyzed man, “Stand up, take your mat and go to your home.”
当人们将一个瘫痪的人带到耶稣的家中时，…发现拥挤的人群挡住了门，人们从屋顶把他垂吊下来，将他需要的东西送给他， 人 们为他的康复而恳求。让人惊讶的是， 耶稣赦免了那个瘫痪的人的罪。 人群中有人抗议说：“除了上帝谁能赦免罪呢？ 耶稣，你僭越了。”但耶稣问，对瘫痪的人说：“你的罪得到了宽恕”，或者说：“站起来，拿着你的垫子，走吧？”哪一样更容易呢？耶稣对瘫痪的人说“站起来，带上垫子回家吧。”这样你就知道人子有能力赦免世人的罪。
Polarization paralyzes us, individually and globally, so that we are no longer flexible, no longer able to see another’s point of view and value them as a human being…we become immobilized, fearful, suspicious. More than a set of things we do, polarization is a condition, a societal sickness, affecting all of us. The families of those traveling back to Canada from Iran, have been devastated by this sickness, infecting our global relationships. This way of thinking affects our relationships across cultures in our neighbourhoods…how could anyone value boys over girls, what does gender have to do with a human being’s fundamental value…we cannot understand our different world views and assume others are wrong and we are right on a whole set of things.
两极分化让我们个人以及全球陷入瘫痪，使我们不再灵活，不再能够看到他人的观点，并不再将他人视为人类而珍视……我们变得顽固，恐惧，多 疑。 两极分化不仅是我们所做的一系列事情，它更是一种状况，一种社会疾病，正在影响着我们所有人。 从伊朗返回加拿大的那些人的家庭被这种疾病摧毁了，我们的全球关系正被这个疾病所感染。 这种思维方式影响着我们在社区中不同文化之间的关系……为何要重男轻？性别与人类的基本价值有何关系？……我们无法理解与我们不同的世界观，并假设别人是错误的，我们是完全正确的。
Last weekend, the Vancouver Sun reported a “Disturbing New Normal.” In an article about hatred fueling anti-Jewish violence, Canadian Rabbi Bulka, traveled to New York to celebrate a family bar mitzvah and Hanukkah and received a disturbing text from his daughter about the machete wielding man who stabbed five people in a home next to a synagogue. There have been a string of verbal and physical attacks on orthodox Jews in the U.S. Canada is not immune to such hatred fueled by extremism and intensified by the internet. The number of hate crimes reported nationally in Canada have increased…and in Metro Vancouver more hate crimes per person than any other urban centre across the country. In 2019, 2041 incidents of anti-Jewish hatred in Canada, an increase of 16 percent from the previous year.
上周末，《温哥华太阳报》报道了“令人不安的新常态”。在一篇有关仇恨助长反犹太暴力的文章中，加拿大犹太教教士布尔卡前往纽约，庆祝家庭礼拜仪式和光明节，他从他女儿那里收到了令人不安的短信。 挥舞着大刀的人，在犹太教堂旁边的一个房屋中刺伤了五个人。 在美国，正统犹太人承受着一系列口头和身体攻击。加拿大也无法从衍生于极端主义的仇恨中所幸免，这种仇恨又通过互联网而激化。 在加拿大全国范围内，仇恨犯罪的数量有所增加……在大温哥华地区，人均仇恨犯罪比全国任何其他市中心都多。 2019年，加拿大发生了2041起反犹太仇恨事件，比上年增加了16％。
Since the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in October 2018, Jewish communities have created security teams…across the US and Canada…situational awareness training, and active threat training and trauma first aid for staff and volunteers.
In December after we ordered beeswax Hanukkah candles for Christmas Eve, we realized they were not suitable, and decided to offer them as a gift to Jewish communities in Vancouver, getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah. As I dropped off candles at the Jewish Community Center on 41st and Oak, I was greeted by a security guard at the entrance, posted to monitor who enters the building. I told him why I was there and he directed me to the staff. In a community on alert for violent attacks during their holiday, they were surprised and grateful for our gift.
The crowd who witness Jesus healing the paralytic, follow Jesus beside the sea, where he calls out to Levi, a tax collector, whom everyone hates because he takes advantage of people when he collects taxes, pocketing some for himself. He is greedy, so people hate him and avoid him. But Jesus chooses to hang with these people. He even eats with them…he is willing to say “you are my family” to tax collectors and sinners…and is criticized for it: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
目睹耶稣医治瘫痪者的人群跟随耶稣来到海边，在那里他召集了一个税吏李维（Levi），每个人都讨厌他，因为他在收税时利用了人们，为自己谋取私利。 他很贪婪，所以人们讨厌他，躲避他。 但是耶稣选择与这些人同住。 他甚至和他们一起吃饭……他愿意对税吏和罪人说“你是我的家人”……并为此遭到批评：“他为什么跟税吏和罪人一起吃饭？”耶稣说：“那些健康的人不需要医生，但是有病的人需要。 我来不是呼召义人，而是呼召罪人。”
Are we sick? In the interaction with the community that brings the paralyzed man and those criticizing why he eats with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus draws a line connecting sickness with sin. So sin is not simply what we think, say and do, but it is a condition, a sickness that infects the human family.
From what do we need to be healed?
Two theologians from the 1950-60’s taught about sin as a condition. For Reinhold Niebuhr, the root condition of sin is pride. Aware of our limits and vulnerability, we become anxious, self-concerned and we live out of that root sin. For Paul Tillich, the root condition of sin is our sense of separation. We are cut off from that to which we belong. We live in exile and this leads to centering in ourselves or in the world rather than clinging to God with all our being. Others describe the root condition of sin as lack of trust in God…we cannot love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, so we cling to something or someone else.
1950-60年代的两位神学家都教导过罪是一种状态。 对于莱因霍尔德尼布尔（Reinhold Niebuhr）来说，罪的根源是骄傲。 当我们意识到自己的局限性和脆弱性，我们就会变得焦虑不安，自我关心，我们生活在这种原罪当中。 对于保罗蒂利希（Paul Tillich）而言，罪的根源是我们的分离感。 我们与我们所属的世界隔绝了。 我们生活在流亡当中，这导致我们以自己为中心或以世界为中心，而不是全身心地依靠上帝。 其他人将罪的根源归结为对神缺乏信任……我们不能全心全意地爱神，所以我们只能依附于某件事或某个人。
Whether our human paralysis is rooted in pride, separation, or lack of trust, Jesus says sin is a condition, a sickness that keeps us from living fully as human beings. So we sing an African American spiritual that describes our sin-sick souls: Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again…there is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul. We become trapped in ourselves, unable to move, stuck in our way of seeing the world, ourselves, and God. We tend to separate the physical from the spiritual, but Jesus comes to restore our entire being, to heal our sin-sick souls.
Shimon Fogel, president and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said “From white supremacists to ISIS, it is increasingly clear that online hate and radicalization can fuel and foreshadow offline violence.” When his faith community was spray painted by vandals in 2016, more than 1000 neighbours turned out for a gathering…
以色列和犹太事务中心（Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs）总裁兼首席执行官希蒙福格尔（Shimon Fogel）表示，“从白人至上主义到伊斯兰国，越来越明显的是，网络上的仇恨和激进主义会预示和助长线下的暴力。”2016年，当他的信仰社区被破坏分子恶意乱涂时，附近1000多居民出来参加了集会…
When I contacted Or Shalom synagogue, a much smaller community than the one on 41st and Oak, to offer Hanukkah candles, they were overjoyed to receive them. I noticed on their website that they were hosting a community candle lighting for the first day of Hanukkah, including a pop-up choir and potluck with fried potato pancakes (latkes). So I asked if a TLC inter-generational group could join the gathering. “Yes! Just let us know how many and please bring food to share.” Hearing Bruno Olson, Jeremy and Nathan Wu, Gerry Mackie, Hilde Abt, Eva and Chris Pedersen sing: ??????? gives us hope that we can all stand up, take our mat, and go. When faith communities stand together, our sin-sick souls will be revived.
当我联系Or Shalom犹太教堂，一个比41街夹橡树街上的犹太社区小得多的社区，为他们提供光明节蜡烛时，他们高兴地接受了。我在他们的网站上注意到，他们在光明节的第一天举办了一个社区烛光晚会，有临时合唱团的演唱， 还有炸土豆煎饼聚餐。所以我问TLC跨代团队是否可以参加这个聚会。 “可以！只需告诉我们有多少人，带上食物跟大家一起分享。” 听到Bruno Olson, Jeremy and Nathan Wu, Gerry Mackie, Hilde Abt, Eva and Chris Pedersen 他们在唱：给我们希望，让我们都能站起来，拿着我们的垫子，走吧。当信仰社区站在一起时，我们那些生病灵魂就会康复。
From what do you need to be healed? Jesus sees us, knows how we are trapped, unable to move as a full human being. Jesus knows the shape of our sickness, the mat on which we are lying. Jesus releases us, “Stand up, take your mat, and go.”
你您需要医治什么？ 耶稣看见我们，知道我们被困住了，无法作为一个完整的人行动。 耶稣知道我们病症所在，就是我们所躺的垫子。 耶稣释放了我们，“站起来，带上垫子，走吧。”
Luke 2: 1-22, Isaiah 9: 2-7 Christmas Eve 2019
路加福音 2：1-22 以赛亚书 9：2-7 2019年平安夜
Stumbling in the dark--在黑暗中蹒跚而行
Every night that I tuck my daughter in bed, I stumble around in the darkness like an old woman in desperate need of a cane or walker. Crouched over, with each step, I nudge objects with my feet, hoping to leave her room without twisting an ankle, bumping into a wall or spewing some expletive as my parting word.
Have you ever found yourself stumbling around in the dark?
Over the last couple weeks, we have walked through endlessly bleak days, heading towards and beyond winter solstice, the cloud-filled sky covering us all like a blanket, hiding the sun.
I don’t know about you, but it seems that part of being human involves stumbling around the darkness. Wondering if God is with us, at work behind the scenes as we stumble around. For those whose loved ones have died, you move into Christmas without the sound of their voice, the warmth of their embrace. Others stumble around, trying to figure out who you are, what you have to offer the world, how you might find work that provides meaning and a livable wage. Young students, learning how to think through a new concept in math or science or master a musical piece, can be like feeling your way around a darkened room…you have no idea where you are going, much less how to get there. The struggle to understand feels overwhelming, you wonder if you will ever figure it out. Others struggle with mental or physical wellness, and the stress overshadows each day. Around the world, millions of refugees struggle to find a way to provide for their families. Citizens in northern Syria are under attack, crying out for humanitarian aid. A million of our Uighur Muslim brothers and sisters are imprisoned in re-education camps in China, thousands more Muslims are prohibited from gaining the rights of full citizens in India. Darkness also lives within us, as we struggle to control impulses that lash out at others with our words or actions, injuring and separating us from those whom we love.
Sometimes the darkness seems unyielding; we wonder when will it ever end? There is no light here, we think. There is no reason to trust, as we stumble in the dark, that things will every change, that the darkness will give way to light.
And yet, on this Christmas night, we hear the prophet Isaiah say, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in the land of deep darkness, on them light has shined…” We Christ-followers reach back to Isaiah’s words and find a promise fulfilled with a child born to Mary and Joseph: a child born for us, for a darkened world…
然而，在这个圣诞节之夜，我们听到以赛亚先知说：“在黑暗中行走的人们已经看到了光明； 那些生活在黑暗世界中的人们，他们光芒四射……”我们作为耶稣的追随者，回首以赛亚的话，找到了一个由玛丽亚和约瑟所生的孩子应许的诺言：这个孩子为我们而生，为了一个黑暗的世界而生 …
Stumbling around in the darkness is part of what it means to walk by faith. Could it be that we won’t recognize the light in the form of a child unless we have struggled in the darkness within and around us?
Scientists who study atoms, galaxies and the nature of space and time, know what it is like to stumble around in the darkness. In the last century, astrophysicists who study everything from black holes to dark matter to neutrinos, must move into the darkness and embrace a reality that cannot be proven by the scientific method. Neutrinos are a subatomic particle with mass so small it was long thought to be zero. Richard Rohr tells us: Neutrinos “cannot be measured or known, except by their effects. Neutrinos are invisible and weightless and yet necessary to keep matter and anti-matter from cancelling one another out. They have to be there in the dark, but no one can prove it. Scientists these days have to be willing to work with various theories and move ahead ‘as if’ an idea were true, until more of the mystery can be understood.” (Richard Rohr, Naked Now p.152)
研究原子，星系以及时空性质的科学家知道在黑暗中蹒跚是什么样的感觉。 在上个世纪，天文学家研究了从黑洞到暗物质再到中微子的所有事物，他们必须走入黑暗并接受一个无法用科学方法证明的现实。 中微子是质量非常小的亚原子粒子，长期以来一直被认为是零。 理查德罗尔（Richard Rohr）告诉我们：“中微子”只能通过其作用来衡量或认知。 中微子是看不见的，它没有重量，但是对于防止物质和反物质相互抵消是必需的。 它们必须在黑暗中存在，但是没人能证明这一点。 如今，科学家们必须愿意运用各种理论并“假设”某个想法是正确的，直到更多的奥秘可以得到解释。”（Richard Rohr，Naked Now p.152）
The shepherds are keeping watch over their flock by night, doing what shepherds do under cover of darkness. Suddenly the glory of the Lord shone around them, a light they cannot explain or prove, appears; they hear about a child, born to bring good news of great joy to all people. And they are terrified…but they listen. “Do not be afraid” the angel says. Instead of freezing in terror. They decide to go to check it out in Bethlehem. They are willing to move deeper into the mystery of what they heard, so they go in the darkness to find the child. A child born to be the light of the world. Isaiah says the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Eight centuries later, John’s gospel says there is a light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. The light becomes a child, full of grace and truth.
牧人在夜间守夜，在黑暗的掩护下做牧人的事。 忽然有耶和华的荣耀照在他们周围，这光是他们无法解释，也无法证明的。 他们听到一个孩子将要出生，这个孩子会为所有人带来极大的喜乐。 他们很害怕……但是他们静静听着。 天使说：“不要害怕”。他们没有陷入到恐惧之中，而是决定去伯利恒看一看。 他们愿意更深入地去了解所听到的事，因此他们在黑暗中去寻找那个孩子。 一个天生就是世界之光的孩子。 以赛亚说，在黑暗中行走的人们已经看到了光明。 八个世纪后，约翰福音说，有一道光在黑暗中照耀，而黑暗并没有战胜它。 光变成了一个孩子，充满了恩典和真理。
What gives us reason to trust the light will come to us, as we stumble around in the darkness?
Life is about stumbling around in the darkness again and again, until the light finds us, the same light that Isaiah spoke of, that shone on the shepherds that dark night, guiding them to a reality they could not yet imagine: a child born for you, for me, for the world.
We cannot prove it through scientific method but we see the effects of the light…. when respect overcomes prejudice, when the hungry are fed, when a parent responds tenderly to their child’s tantrum, when a married couple finds a way to begin again. “No matter how bleak the place of darkness is, (the light will find you). Life begins again on the other side of darkness. Another life. A new life. After the death, the loss, the rejection, the failure, (the light will find you).” Joan Chittister Embracing the Contradictions of Life, p. 19-20.
我们无法通过科学方法证明，但是我们看到了光的作用……。 当尊重克服偏见时，当饥饿的人们获得饱足时，当父母温柔地回应孩子的暴躁时，当一对已婚夫妇找到重新开始的方式时。 “无论黑暗的地方多么凄凉，（光都会找到你）。 生命从黑暗的另一面重新开始。 另一种生活，一种在死亡，失去，拒绝，失败之后的新生活（光会找到你）。琼基蒂斯特（Joan Chittister）拥抱生命的矛盾，第40页。 19-20。
Remembering that it happened once by Wendell Berry
记得那曾发生过一次 作者 –温德尔贝里
Remembering that it happened once 记得那曾发生过一次
We cannot turn away the thought 我们的想法挥之不去
As we go out, cold, to our barns 在寒冷中， 我们走向马房
Toward the long night’s end, that we在漫漫长夜的尽头，我们
Ourselves are living in the world 自己生活在这个世界上
It happened in when it first happened, 这发生在第一次发生的时间
That we ourselves are opening a stall 我们打开自己
(A latch thrown open countless times（在闩锁被打开了无数次
Before), might find them breathing there, 之前），可能会发现他们在那里呼吸，
Foreknown: the Child bedded in straw, 先知：孩子躺在稻草里，
The mother kneeling over Him, 母亲跪在他旁边
The husband standing in belief 父亲立于信仰之上
He scarcely can believe, in light 在亮光中，他简直不敢相信
That lights them from no source we see… 光从我们看不到的地方照亮他们…
We stand with one hand on the door, 我们单手扶门站在那里
Looking into another world 看着另外一个世界
That is this world, the pale daylight 苍白的日光
Coming just as before, our chores 象日常的家务一样来到这个世界
To do, the cattle all awake, 牛犊都醒了
Our own white frozen breath hanging 我们冰冷的呼吸悬于唇边
In front of us; and we are here 我们在这里
As we have never been before, 就如我们从未来过
Sighted as not before, our place 我们的家园不再象从前
Holy, although we knew it not. 神圣，尽管我们知道它从不是
Tonight we have stumbled through the darkness, to be together in this holy place, to welcome the light shining in the darkness, born as a child.
Luke1:5-25， 57-80 Advent 4, December 22 2019 TLC
路加福音 1：5-25 57-80 耶稣降临季 4， 2019年12月20日TLC
No Dead Ends
What would driving around Vancouver be like without google maps? I mean, every time I get ready to set out on a trip to somewhere I’ve never been, I just pop in the location on google maps to find out the best route without a traffic jam and I know instantly how many kilometers I will travel and when I will arrive. Satellites orbiting the earth give this data to google maps instantly. But the other day I decided to go to a new location without google maps and you know what you run into? All over the neighbourhoods in North Delta and Surrey, there are signs like this (show the U turn curve shape) that tell you this route is a dead end. Don’t waste your time. Find another route. It takes a bit longer to arrive at your destination when you hit multiple dead ends, doesn’t it?
如果没有谷歌地图，在温哥华开车会是怎么样的？ 我的意思是，每当我准备出发去从未去过的地方时，我都会在Google地图上定位这个地址，以查找最佳路线，避开交通拥堵，而且我立刻就知道我将行驶多少公里，何时到达。 绕地球运行的卫星将这些数据实时提供给Google地图。 但是有一天我决定不使用谷歌地图去一个新地方，你知道你会遇到什么情形吗？ 在北三角洲和素里的所有社区中，都有这样的路标（显示U形转弯曲线形状），告诉你这条路是死胡同。 不要浪费时间，寻找其他路线。 当你多遇到几个死胡同时，到达目的地的时间一定会更长一些，不是吗？
Zechariah and Elizabeth had reached what seemed to be a dead end. Elizabeth’s womb was barren; she was unable to conceive a child and both of them were getting on in years. They had cried out to God in prayer to change this dead end into new life but nothing had happened for years. Zechariah was a priest living in the hill country near Jerusalem and his group of priests had been chosen by lot to serve their two weeks out of the year in the Temple. Going about his priestly temple duties, he goes into the sanctuary to offer incense and something unexpected happens, something that catches him off guard. A messenger from God, an angel appears, and he is terrified. But the angel says, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. What has seemed like a dead end your entire married life is about to change. Your wife’s barren womb will bear new life.” But Zechariah doubted; he was skeptical. How can these words be trusted? How will I know this is going to happen?
撒迦利亚和伊丽莎白似乎走进了死胡同。 伊丽莎白的子宫是贫瘠的。 他们俩已经在一起很多年了，但她却怀不上孩子。 他们向上帝祷告，求上帝将死胡同变成新生命，但是多年以来什么也没发生。 撒迦利亚是一位牧师，住在耶路撒冷附近的丘陵地带，他所在的那组牧师被抽签抽中，每年要在圣殿里服务两个星期。 在执行牧师的职务时，他进入圣殿提供香火，意外的事情发生了，这使他措手不及。 来自上帝的使者，天使的出现，让他感到恐惧。 但是天使说：“撒迦利亚，不要害怕，因为我们已经听到了你的祷告。虽然看似已经走到了尽头，你的整个婚姻生活将会发生变化。 你妻子贫瘠的子宫将重获新生。”但撒迦利亚对此表示怀疑。 他很怀疑，这些话有多可信？ 我怎么知道这会不会发生？
We know what this is like…we want assurance that our dead ends will yield new possibilities. We want a sign, some kind of indication that things will get better. Because Zechariah doubts, he is struck mute, unable to speak…and the angel says he will be that way until the child is born. Because Zechariah doesn’t trust the angel’s words, which will become real in God’s time, he will be unable give voice to his own words. Full of doubt, wondering how could this happen… with Zechariah, we look at the dead ends in our own lives, in the lives of those whom we love, at a world full of injustice, where millions of people are detained, tortured and killed as a result of prejudice and discrimination. The New York Times aired interviewed a man named Farcat last month, who has immigrated to the US and was unable to bring his mother. Farcat is determined to free his mother from a re-education camp in China. She is one of a million Uighur Muslim detained whose health is failing due to conditions and torture in a the camp.
我们了解这种感觉……我们希望确保我们的穷途末路会带来新的可能性。 我们想要一个迹象，某种表明事情会好起来的迹象。 因为撒迦利亚怀疑，他被惩罚失语，无法说话……而天使说，直到孩子出生之前，他都会是这样。 由于撒迦利亚不相信天使的话（在神的时代这些话会成为现实），他将无法用语言表达自己。 充满怀疑，想知道这将如何发生……，与撒加利亚一起，我们审视自己和我们所爱的人生命中的穷途末路，在一个充满不公正待遇的世界中，成见和歧视使数百万人被拘押，遭受酷刑和被杀害。作为儿子，法卡特（Farcat）决心将其母亲从中国的再教育营中解救出来。 他母亲是被拘押的一百万维吾尔族穆斯林中的一员，她因营地的恶劣条件和折磨而健康状况日益恶化。
This story of Zechariah and Elizabeth echoes another story of a couple who have been unable to conceive a child and are getting on in years. God’s story begins with choosing unlikely candidates to bring about God’s purposes. God’s loving pursuit of us started with another couple. Abraham and Sarah heard God call them to leave their home and go, without google maps, to a place God would show them. God promised to bless them with a child and with more descendants than stars on a darkened sky. But the promise seemed unlikely, even absurd, as they struggle to conceive, so they both laugh when God promises them a child. All they could see was a dead. Against all odds, God chooses to work through Sarah’s barren womb to bring life. They had long given up hope. But the promise to bless all families on the earth is made possible with the birth of Isaac, whose name means laughter.
撒迦利亚和伊丽莎白的故事也发生在另一对夫妇的身上，他们在一起已经好几年了， 却一直怀不上孩子。 上帝的故事始于选择不太可能的候选人来实现上帝的目的。 上帝对我们的爱始于另一对夫妇。 亚伯拉罕和撒拉听说上帝叫他们离开家，没有谷歌地图，就去上帝指示给他们的地方。 上帝应许会祝福他们，给他们一个孩子，让他们的子孙后代比黑暗天空中的繁星还要多。 但是就在他们努力受孕均告失败之际，这个诺言似乎不太可能实现，甚至是荒唐的。因此当上帝应许给他们一个孩子时，他们俩都笑了，他们所能看到的只有死亡。出乎所有人的预料，上帝选择通过撒拉贫瘠的子宫来带来生命。 他们早就不报希望了。 但是，以撒的诞生使祝福地球上所有家庭的承诺成为可能。以撒这个名字的意思就是欢笑。
The laughter echoes down through the generations, coming full circle today in the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. God chooses the old and childless, once again, the most unlikely candidates. Against all odds, their son, John, will prepare the way for the birth of Christ Jesus, the child who brings good news of great joy for all people. Telling everyone by writing on a tablet ‘His name is John.’ All of them were amazed. Immediately, Zechariah’s mouth was opened and tongue freed and he begins to speak, praising God.
欢笑声在几代人间回荡，今天又在撒迦利亚和伊丽莎白的故事中轮回。 上帝再次选择了年老无子女的，最不可能的候选人。 出乎所有人的预料，他们的儿子约翰为耶稣基督的诞生做准备，耶稣基督这个孩子为世上所有人带来了充满喜乐的好消息。在一块木板上，他们写下“他的名字叫约翰” 。所有人都很惊讶。马上，撒迦利亚的嘴被打开了，舌头也被解开了，他开始讲话，赞美上帝。
You know what it’s like to wait for God to bring life out of our barrenness: As you pray for a loved ones going through chemotherapy, Kathryn and Charlotte both starting another round in the coming week, we all pray that the treatments might yield new life for years to come. Or you struggle with new responsibilities at work, more stress than you can manage, causing insomnia and elevated blood pressure. Or you put money down on a new condo, prepare to move and wait while the building crew delays and delays, causing more angst than you bargained for.
你知道等待上帝将生命从我们的贫瘠中解放出来的那种感觉：当你为正在接受化疗的亲人祷告时，凯瑟琳和夏洛特都将在下周开始化疗的新疗程，我们都在祷告这种治疗方法能会在未来几年内带来新的生命。 或者当你在工作中要承担新的责任，承受的压力超出了你的承受能力，而导致失眠和血压升高时。 或者当你把钱投在一个新的公寓上，准备搬进新家，可是交房日期却被建筑工人一再地拖延，这造成了比你预想的更大的焦虑。
Across rural China, 63 million young people are left behind with the grandparents or other relatives while their parents seek factory jobs in other cities. About 3 million youth are left completely alone to fend for themselves. Many of these left-behind students are destined to drop out of school, find low-paying, menial jobs that bind them to a lifetime of poverty. Through China Service Ventures, 85 % of students sponsored stay in school and graduate. Many qualify for college or junior college or special trade school. This year, Lucy Qian served on a CSV summer camp team for left behind youth. TLC supported her work with $990. Next summer, will some of our teens and adults unexpectedly decide to serve on a team? It could be that God, against all odds, is going to work through you, to bring life in a barren place. Will someone unexpected in Canada respond this year through CLWR’s Gifts from the Heart…choosing to give a scholarship that allows a young woman to gain skills that transform her world, invest in a small business for a single mother in Uganda or buy a soccer ball, as a way to honor their loved one, rather than fill up our landfill with more stuff. What a way to celebrate new life coming into our barren world by giving a Gift from the Heart through CLWR.
As Zachariah’s tongue is loosened, he sings about how God is coming among us. Zechariah’s song is for you, for me, for the left-behind youth in China, for single displaced mothers in Uganda, for young women on the West Bank, as we wait for God to act against all odds. In God’s time there are no dead ends…Zechariah sings “by the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
当撒迦利亚的舌头松开时，他歌颂上帝如何来到我们中间。 撒迦利亚的颂歌是给你的，给我的，给中国的留守儿童的，也是给乌干达流离失所的母亲和西岸的年轻妇女们的，我们都在等待上帝的出乎预料。 在上帝的时代，没有穷途末路……撒迦利亚歌唱“因我们神怜悯的心肠，叫清晨的日光从高天临到我们，要照亮坐在死荫里的人，把我们的脚引到平安的路上。”
God is at work to stir up life in our barrenness when we least expect it. We often don’t understand God’s ways or God’s timing; we are filled with doubt and tempted to despair. But with God there are no dead-ends. God will prove faithful by working in unexpected ways through unlikely people, including you and me. God works against all odds, despite our weakness, our doubt and resistance. God comes to give birth to new life in our barren places.
在我们最没有期盼的时候，上帝却在我们的贫瘠中激发我们的生命。 我们常常不了解上帝的方式或上帝的时机； 我们充满了怀疑，并感到绝望。 但是有了上帝，就没有末路。 上帝会通过意想不到的方式， 通过不太可能的人，这包括你也包括我，一起工作来证明自己是信实的。 尽管我们软弱，会怀疑和抵抗，上帝仍出乎我们预料地在工作，上帝在我们贫瘠的地方诞生了新生命。
Isaiah 40:1-11 Mark 1:1-4 Dec 15 2019 TLC
以赛亚书 40：1-11 马可福音 1： 1-4 2019年12月15日 TLC
A Living Word: Coming Among Us
Historical Context 历史背景
Whenever we hear the prophets like Isaiah, of the Hebrew Bible, what we call the Old Testament, it is important that we remember these words were spoken as a particular message to a particular people in a particular historical situation. The prophet Isaiah spoke from 742-701 B.C.E (eight centuries before the birth of Jesus). In this time, a coalition of Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel invaded the southern kingdom of Judah. And then a dominant power of Assyria invaded. Isaiah’s message in Ch 1-39 was calling people to remain steadfast, refusing to bear arms in favor of trusting God. This included strong warnings about the consequence of turning away from the Lord. In the end, Isaiah’s warnings became reality: God’s beloved people were conquered and taken away from home, into exile in Babylon. By chapter 40, where our reading begins this morning, a huge shift has taken place. They have experienced a total destruction of their way of life and lived in exile for well over a century. But Babylon has just been conquered by King Cyrus of Persia. King Cyrus is good news for God’s people, bringing them home from exile in Babylon, building a highway in the wilderness from Babylon back to Jerusalem. King Cyrus has become their good shepherd, who gathers them in his arms, gently leads them home. So Isaiah’s words of comfort are announcing their long bondage in Babylon is over. They have served their term of exile, their sin is forgiven, and they are coming home. The reading is poetry, written in verse form. As you listen, pay attention to how Isaiah answers the question: What shall I cry?
Mark’s gospel intro: In Mark’s gospel, listen for how Jesus Christ is introduced to the world in these opening words. We don’t hear anything about Mary’s visit from the angel Gabriel, Joseph’s reluctance to take a pregnant woman as his wife, the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night or the star over Bethlehem. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus Christ is introduced to the world by quoting Isaiah. Isaiah’s words point to John the Baptist who prepares the way for the world to meet Jesus the Christ:
马可福音的简介：在马可福音中，听听耶稣基督如何在这些开场白被介绍给世界的。 我们没有听到天使加百列（Angel Gabriel）来拜访玛丽亚的消息，没有听到约瑟（Joseph）不愿娶一个孕妇为妻，没有听到牧羊人整夜守望着他们的羊群，或是看着伯利恒上空的星星。 在马可福音中，耶稣基督是通过引用以赛亚的话被介绍到这个世界的。以赛亚的话指出，施洗约翰为世人迎接基督耶稣预备了道路。
Kids’ message: reflection on skit
My grandmother lived until just shy of her 100th birthday; she would’ve turned 108 this coming Wednesday. Viola Sadie Carr (Hill) was born on a homestead in the central plains of Montana…a brutal place to homestead in which the winters killed most who tried. Very few seeds planted would actually yield plants. Trees were few and far between. If you didn’t freeze to death from the winter, you may have starved in a landscape where huge herds of buffalo used to roam freely, a landscape that barely allowed rabbits, coyotes, deer and elk to thrive. But somehow her family survived…likely because her Dad was a cattle rustler…meaning he stole other people’s livestock (cows). Being both sinner and saint, as are all of us human beings, Tom Carr also built the majority of highways in Petrolia County, pulling a grate behind a team of horse horses.
Because she grew up and lived her entire life on the plains, when my grandfather had a debilitating stroke and moved into town, she moved into a near-by apartment and insisted that she have a room with a view of the plain. The plains are a level place, where you can see for miles and miles, room to run, dance, plant, build. Perhaps my grandmother’s preference for access to a view is part of my DNA, since my favorite place in our neighborhood is the zigzag of streets just up the hill from Burns Bog, where I take a weekly run. From right here in North Delta you can see all the way to the sand dunes of Boundary Bay along Point Roberts. My spirit is renewed, anxious thoughts fall away, and become prayer as I run, taking in the view.
因为她从小到大都在平原生活，所以当我的祖父因中风搬进城镇时，她也搬进了附近的公寓，并坚持要给她有一个可以欣赏到平原景色的房间。 平原是一个平坦的地方，在这里你可以看到几英里以外的地方，你可以尽情的奔跑，跳舞，可以随意种植，随便搭建。 也许我祖母对景色的偏爱也成为我DNA的一部分，因为我最喜欢的地方是我们社区在Burns Bog坡上的锯齿形街道，我每周在那跑一次步。 从北三角洲这里，你可以一直看到罗伯特角（Point Roberts）边界湾的沙丘。在跑步过程中，我注视着远处的景色，我开始祷告, 又重新精神焕发，焦虑的思绪也逐渐消失。
The prophet Isaiah speaks of God creating a plain, a broad place with a view, a place that offer a new perspective “A voice cries out: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
The uneven ground shall become level,
And the rough places a plain.”
In the wilderness of Babylon, King Cyrus prepared a highway all the way home to Jerusalem…the valleys were lifted up. The mountains and hills made low…in the wilderness a plain, a spacious place opens, creating a way for those living in exile to come home. Centuries before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah’s words spoke of hope; change was coming that would bring a new way of being. As Christians in the season of Advent, we are looking for the coming of Christ among us. Advent means coming. The coming of Christ is announced in Mark’s gospel by quoting Isaiah, “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” What might need to be leveled or raised up in your life in order for you to be ready for Christ to come to you, with you, for you? When Christ comes, life-giving change comes.
在巴比伦的旷野，国王赛勒斯准备了一条通向耶路撒冷的公路……沟壑被填平，山脉和丘陵被夷平……在这个旷野，这片辽阔的土地，为流亡者提供了回家的路。 在耶稣诞生前几个世纪，以赛亚的话给人们带来了希望。 即将到来的变化将带来一种新的生存方式。 作为基督降临节时期的基督徒，在我们中间，我们正在寻找基督的到来。 降临意味着到来。 马可福音通过引用以赛亚的话来宣告基督的到来，“以赛亚的声音在旷野中呼喊：预备主的道路，使他的道路平直。” 在你生命中，什么需要被填平，从而你可以为基督的到来做好准备？基督正向你走来，他为你而来，与你同在。当基督降临时，带来新生命的变化就要到来了。
A couple weeks ago, Lyle Griner, our Peer Ministry Leadership trainer, led 55 youth and adults in a series of relationship skills building exercises. We practiced the skill of listening so that we can come alongside others with the love and mercy of Christ. This involved a lot of storytelling…not only from Lyle but each of us, as we learned how listen not only to what people say but what their body is saying…how they move their eyes, their hands and feet as they speak can tell us more than what their words might be saying. We practiced this skill by sitting in groups of three with one person telling their story (what is was like to immigrate to Canada from the Philippines), another person listening and another observing body language. Then the observer offered feedback to both the storyteller and the listener. And then we traded places. During this exercise, Colton Evans observed that the hair on the storyteller’s arm raised up as he spoke about a deeply painful death in his life. Our young people have much to teach us about how to listen to one another.
几周前，我们的同伴领导能力培训师莱尔格林纳（Lyle Griner）带领55名青年和成年人参加了一系列友情建立技能培训练习。我们练习了聆听的技巧，以便我们可以在基督的爱与怜悯下与他人同行。我们听到了很多故事……不仅仅是莱尔在讲，我们每个人都在讲，因为我们学会了如何做到不仅聆听别人的讲话，而且还要聆听他们的身体语言……他们讲话时目光的移动，他们手和脚的移动，可能比他们的话语告诉我们的更重要。我们通过三人一组来练习这项技能，一个人讲述他们的故事（就像是从菲律宾移民到加拿大一样），另一个人在听，第三个人观察他的肢体语言。然后，观察者向讲故事者和听众提供反馈。然后我们交换角色。在这项练习中，科尔顿埃文斯（Colton Evans）注意到讲故事的人讲道自己生命中所经历的死亡痛楚时，他手臂上的汗毛会竖起来。我们的年轻人可以教我们如何互相聆听。
Lyle shared this story. One of the young people who had been to Lyle’s training years ago, and then was part of a Peer Ministry team at her church while she was in high school, recently went to university. During the first week, she walked into the cafeteria and noticed another student eating alone at a table. Noticing this isolated student, she said to herself, “well, I’ve taken all this peer ministry training. Now is the time to practice it in real life.” So she walked up to her and started a conversation, using WHEAT, a peer ministry tool for starting a conversation with a stranger, as her guide….asking her where she was from, what she liked to do in her free time, finding some common ground. She invited this student to join a group of students at another table. Later that week, after they had become closer friends, the student confided in her. She said, “you remember how you walked up to me in the cafeteria, started talking and invited me to join your friends for lunch? You saved my life. I was actually sitting there thinking about how I was going to kill myself.”
As our Peer Ministry team is formed in the new year with our sister church St. Cuthbert Anglican, youth will continue to build skills for such friendships. Youth will also learn when to connect a friend with a counselor or crisis phone line who can address the depression and anxiety that can lead to suicidal thoughts. This could save someone’s life, bringing Christ to them through a few words spoken, one human being to another.
在新的一年里，与我们的姊妹教堂St. Cuthbert Anglican组成我们的同伴团队时，年轻人们将继续增强这种缔结友谊的技能。 青少年们还将学习何时将朋友与辅导员或紧急电话服务中心联系，以应对可能导致自杀念头的抑郁和焦虑。通过一些话语或某个人将基督引入他们的生活，很可能会挽救一个人的生命。
A voice says, “Cry out!” and Isaiah said, “What shall I cry?”
有人声说“你喊叫吧！” 以赛亚说， “我喊叫什么呢？”
All people are grass…their constancy, this word is chesed in Hebrew, meaning faithfulness, is like the flower of the field. Though we may try to be faithful or constant, we waiver. As Lindsey a high school student in Minnesota involved in a Peer Ministry team at her church asks, “Why does my faith go from being really strong to being weak, like a roller coaster?” We are up and down, hot and cold. Our ability to be faithful, trustworthy, reliable, to walk in God’s ways is like grass that withers, flowers that fade. But, in stark contrast, the Word of our God will stand forever.
所有人都是小草....象小草一般坚韧，这个词源自希伯来语， 意为忠诚，就像田野上的小花。 尽管我们可能会尝试做到忠诚不二，但我们会放弃。 当明尼苏达州的一个高中生林赛（Lindsey）在参加教会的同伴事工时，她问道：“为什么我的信仰会从非常坚定变成非常脆弱，就像过山车一样？”我们的信心忽高忽低，忽冷忽热。 我们的忠实守信，诚实可靠的品格，按照上帝的方式行走的能力就像枯萎的小草，凋谢的花朵一样。 但是，与之形成鲜明对比的是，我们上帝的圣言却恒久不变。
What is the Word of our God? Young or old, we may wonder like Melissa, high school student from Texas, on a Peer Ministry team in her church, asks, “Is the Bible the word of God or the word of human beings?” Or as Kara from New Jersey asks, “Is the Bible all really true? Why doesn’t that st
A Bible sitting on a shelf is not the Word of God, just like a steak in the freezer is not your dinner. Just like you thaw and grill a steak so that you can eat it, so the Word of God needs to come alive as we hear it speaking to us in our particular situation and a particular time with a message that changes our heart, our way of seeing and hearing.
Other Christians (more conservative) would say God dictated the Bible, humans were just puppets, and through human reason we can determine truths that must be accepted: doctrines that we must believe, moral laws we must obey and steps of “the way of salvation” that we must experience in order to be saved.
Some Christians (more liberal) may say that human beings wrote the Bible and through human reason we can find eternal truths valid for all time like: all human beings are brothers and sisters or all should follow the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do to you.)
But both of these ways of understanding the Bible are influenced by Greek philosophy, because they understand truth to be found in ideas we arrive at through logical thinking, relying on human logic to understand. Greek philosophers would package truth in debatable propositions, which the church adopted down through the centuries, but this is not how the Bible is meant to be understood. As Lutherans, we rely on a Hebrew way of thinking. Where the truth is a living, creative powerful “address” of a loving God. The truth is a living word which breaks into our lives, into our history, shattering old ways and creating new life, new values, and new commitment.
但是，这两种理解圣经的方式都受到希腊哲学的影响，因为它们认为真理是在我们通过逻辑思维获得的想法中找到的，需要依靠人类的逻辑来理解。 希腊哲学家会将真理包装在有争议的主张中，教会在数百年的历史中采纳了这些主张，但这并不是理解圣经的正确方式。 作为路德派，我们依靠希伯来的思维方式来理解圣经。 真理是充满爱心的上帝给我们的富有生命力和创造力的话语。 真理是一个有生命力的词，它闯入我们的生活，写进我们的历史，粉碎旧的生活方式并创造新的生活，新的价值观和新的承诺。
The Bible becomes the Word of God when a we hear a Living Word that breaks upon us, leveling mountains and raising up valleys that separate us from a loving God…making a highway in the desert of our heart. What might need to be leveled or raised up in you to receive the coming of Christ right now?
The Word of God took human form in Jesus the Christ…the same Word of God was present in the beginning of all things, speaking creation into being… “let there be light” and there was light. The Word of God is alive. It breaks open hard hearts, so that we can love again. It gives us new eyes to see that we are accepted in spite of our faults. That we are forgiven in the midst of our failure. That we are loved without strings attached, without conditions. The earth at the beginning was a formless void, full of chaos and darkness, and a wind from God swept over the waters; the people in exile in Babylon lived in chaos and darkness, wondering if they would ever go home. In Genesis 1, the Word of God speaks creation into being; in Isaiah, the Word of God builds a highway in the wilderness stretching from Babylon to Jerusalem. For the student sitting alone in the cafeteria, the invitation to join a table full of new friends became the Word of God for her, a Living Word, pulling her out of isolation and darkness, opening her heart to receive love. In her own words, ‘you saved my life.’ The young woman trained in peer ministry didn’t walk up to her saying ‘hey, Jesus died for you. Do you believe it? Then you can be saved. Just pray this prayer.’ The peer minister noticed she was alone, took the risk of saying hello and came alongside her as a fellow human being, leveling the mountain separating her from new friends. This small but courageous act is how the Word of God comes to us, a Living Word that changes everything.
上帝的话语在耶稣基督中以人的形式出现……在万物的开头也出现了同样的上帝的话语，实现了神的创造，……“要有光”世界就有了光明。 上帝的话语是有生命力的。 它打开我们坚实的内心，让我们可以再次相爱。 它使我们拥有一双新的眼睛，让我们看到尽管我们有过错，我们还是被接纳，我们在失败中被宽恕。 我们无条件地，无任何附带条件地被爱着。 世界之初，地球是一个无形的虚空，充满了混乱和黑暗，来自上帝的风吹过水面。 在巴比伦流亡的人们生活在混乱和黑暗之中，想知道他们是否能回家。 在创世记第一章中，神的话语完成了创造。 在以赛亚书，上帝的圣言在旷野中建造了一条从巴比伦到耶路撒冷的高速公路。 对于独自一人坐在自助餐厅里的学生来说，接受邀请加入到一桌新朋友当中是她的上帝的话语，一个有生命力的话语，使她摆脱了孤立和黑暗，敞开内心去接受爱。 用她自己的话说，“你救了我的命。”接受同伴事工培训的年轻女孩并没有走过去对她说：“嘿，耶稣为你而死。 你相信吗？ 只要按着这个祷告，你就会得救。” 同伴事工注意到她很孤独，冒着风险去打招呼，并作为同伴与她并肩同行，把她与新朋友分开的那座山被削平了。 这个微小而勇敢的举动就是神的话临到我们的方式，这是能改变一切的有生命力的话语。
Salvation is a word for the divine spaciousness that comes to human beings in all the tight places where our lives are at risk, regardless of how we got there or whether we know God’s name. Sometimes it comes as an extended human hand and sometimes as a bolt from the blue, but either way it opens a door in what looked for all the world like a wall. This is the way of life, and God alone knows how it works.” Barbara Brown Taylor, 1951-
救赎这个词，是指在我们生命受到威胁的所有狭窄地带，无论我们如何到达那里或我们是否知道上帝的名字，神都会带我们来到辽阔的旷野。 有时它是别人伸出来的手，有时它是晴空霹雳，但无论哪种方式，它都会在象一堵墙一样的世界中打开一扇门。 这就是生活，只有上帝自己知道它是如何运作的。”芭芭拉布朗泰勒（Barbara Brown Taylor，1951年至今）
In our eating and drinking this morning, the Living Word of Christ comes among us, creating faith in us, to fill us with unconditional love and acceptance. God alone knows how it works. Leveling the mountains, lifting up the valleys, building a highway to bring us home.
Jeremiah 33:14-18, Mark 8:27-29 Advent 1, Dec 1, 2019 TLC
耶利米书 33：14-18， 马可福音8：27 -29 2019年12月1日TLC
Context: Since he was a young boy, now in midlife, Jeremiah had been speaking God’s truth to the ruthless, oppressive power of the king: telling him act with justice, looking out for any who have been robbed of human dignity. Do no wrong or violence to the immigrant, homeless or those with family support. Shed no innocent blood, or I will hand you over to your enemies. Woe to you who make your neighbours work for nothing and give them no wages. Your eyes and heart are on dishonest gain. And the king, like any of us when we hear a hard truth about ourselves, didn’t want to hear it. So Jeremiah has been thrown in the palace prison because he angered the King. The King wanted to shut Jeremiah up. All around them the city of Jerusalem was being attacked by the brutal Babylonian armies. The siege lasted over a year and the people were trapped, suffering in a city running out of food and water, sickness and disease spreading. Jeremiah has been crying out to God that the city will fall and God is doing nothing to help. Today’s reading is God’s response to Jeremiah’s deep cry for help.
Kids’ Message: 给孩子们的讯息
Hello Streamkeepers and Friends,
Just a quick update: 145 spawner sightings so far, in Cougar Creek! All of them coho (no chum), and all but a few of them wild (no clipped fin).
Our Stream Monitors are careful to avoid double-counting of the same fish -- and we're still expecting spawners to continue arriving through November. Hopefully we'll reach last year's count (192), despite difficult ocean conditions for fish.
(kids ask Deborah) How do salmon find their way back to their natal stream. Their sense of smell is really important! The more rainwater infiltration & underground seepage into Cougar Creek, the more that water carries the signature scents that fish use to identify "home". Piped stormwater smells of, let's see, tire dust? brake dust? diesel particulate? littered cigarette butts? Infiltrated water smells right, so let's bring on more rain gardens!
（孩子们问黛博拉（Deborah））鲑鱼如何回到自己的原生水域。 他们的嗅觉真的很重要！ 雨水渗透到Cougar Creek的次数越多，地下渗入的水越多，水所携带的特征性气味就越浓，鱼类通过这些气味来识别“家”。排洪管道的气味，让我们看看，轮胎的灰尘？ 刹车的灰尘？ 柴油的微小颗粒？ 乱扔的的烟头？ 渗入地下的水气味是对的，让我们建更多的雨水花园吧！
Rain Gardens Coordinator
Cougar Creek Streamkeepers.ca (North Delta/Surrey BC)
This week a letter came in the mail to all of our North Delta neighbours from Leeann Graham, City of Delta Environmental Officer. She said that the salmon have been swimming in foamy water…filled with soap…this keeps their gills from getting the oxygen they need. The salmon choke on the soap and can’t smell their way up to the place where they lay their eggs. Sounds like someone washed their car in their driveway and let the water run right into the street and down the storm drain instead of into their own yard. This is why my neighbour, who is a water scientist, always washes his car on his front lawn. Or someone else dumped old paint down the storm drain instead of passing it on to someone who could use it or taking it to the Product Care Depot. I wonder what Jesus would do if the salmon were choking in the stream, struggling to lay their eggs? Maybe send a letter to all the neighbours in North Delta to remind them to take care of the salmon? Maybe speak through Deborah and the Cougar Creek Stream keepers who reported what was happening?
Jeremiah’s experience of standing alone… Who is Jesus Christ for us today? The neighbour who says, soapy water needs to be directed towards a vegetated area, filtering into the ground to protect the 145 salmon spawners struggling to survive in Cougar Canyon. How can we take our part in caring for the earth, the creatures and plants who share our breath, our water? Maybe it means speaking up when a neighbour lets soapy water go down the storm drain on a sunny day
耶利米孤军奋战的经历告诉我们……今天谁是我们的耶稣基督？ 邻居说，充满肥皂的水需要被引流到一个植被茂盛的地方，经过土壤的过滤，以保护145只挣扎求生的鲑鱼在美洲狮峡谷溪流中的繁殖场所。 我们该如何参与到照顾地球，照顾各种生物和植物的工作中？它们与我们一起共享空气与水源。也许这意味着当看到邻居在晴朗的一天让肥皂水流入排洪管道时，我们要敢于大声制止。
Have you ever awakened from a nightmare overwhelmed with gratitude that it was just a dream and not really happening? Jeremiah talked like a man who had awakened from a nightmare convinced it was coming true…his city was in danger of collapsing with the advance of the Babylonian army. Jeremiah’s words, aimed at political leaders, were sledgehammer blows designed to break the hardest scull. Called as a young boy to share a message with nations and kingdoms, to pluck up and pull down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant with the words of his mouth. Jeremiah protested with God, saying “Ah Lord God, truly I don’t know how to speak. I am only a boy.” Though he protested, didn’t want the job, was lacking confidence on the inside, he started to speak God’s truth to those with more power than himself.
你是否曾从噩梦中惊醒，不禁庆幸那只是一个梦，没有真正发生？耶利米的话就像一个从噩梦中惊醒的人，发现这都是真实发生的……他所在的城市正处在被巴比伦军队攻陷的危险之中。 耶利米（Jeremiah）针对政治领导人的言论就如为敲碎最硬的骨头而设计的大锤一般锤击着他们。 耶利米还是孩子的时候就被呼召在各个国家和民族之间传播神的话语，他用他口里的言辞去拔除和拆毁，去打破和推翻，去建造和播种。 耶利米向上帝抗议说：“上帝啊，我真的不知道该怎么说。 我只是个孩子。”尽管他抗议，不想做这份工作，内心缺乏信心，但他还是开始向那些比自己更有权力和力量的人宣讲上帝的真理。
Anne Lamott in a recent Ted talk, shared about the 10 things she, now in her 60’s, has come to know as true. Anne Lamott is the author of several books about becoming a real human being in relationship with the living God. Anne said in her Ted talk: “everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy and scared—even people that seem to have it most together. So don’t compare anyone’s outside to your inside.” Inside Jeremiah felt frightened and insecure. While outside, Jeremiah spoke confidently for 40 years because in his heart he burned with a message. He couldn’t keep quiet. And so Jeremiah stood alone against the crowd.
安妮拉莫特（Anne Lamott）在最近的泰德（Ted）演讲中，分享了她到60岁时才确定的10件事。 安妮拉莫特（Anne Lamott）写了几本书，讲述了如何在与上帝的关系中成为真正的人。 安妮（Anne）在特德（Ted）演讲中说：“每个人都搞砸过，都曾破碎，都会固执和恐惧，甚至那些看似非常完美的人也是如此。 因此，不要将任何人的外在与自己的内在进行比较。” 耶利米内心感到恐惧和不安，而耶利米的外在表现是他自信地传道40年，因为他内心深处燃烧着一条信息。 他无法保持沉默。 耶利米就这样独自站在人群面前。
I wonder if this echoes how young people in Hong Kong have felt these last several months as they began peaceful pro-democracy protests that have now turned violent, seeking to be recognized and heard by Carrie Lam and leadership in Beijing. In recent weeks, Canadian exchange students were sent home to avoid the increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters. One pro-democracy candidate, Dr Andrew Chiu, was campaigning the day after his ear was bitten off in a violent clash. But the courageous student protests have empowered the voice of the people. With this week’s election, the people have spoken with over 70% turn-out, 3 million people cast their vote. Will Carrie Lam and Beijing listen? Will the courage of these young people lead to change? They are living into hope, that things will be set right.
我想知道这是否回应了在过去的几个月，香港年轻人在支持民主和平抗议活动中的感受。现在这些抗议活动已演变成暴力活动，试图求得林郑月娥和北京领导人的认可和倾听。 最近几周，有些加拿大交换生被送回国以避免在日益加剧的警察和示威者之间的暴力冲突中受到波及。 一名支持民主的候选人赵安德（Andrew Chiu）医生在一场暴力冲突中被咬伤，他第二天就参加了竞选。 但是，勇敢学生的抗议活动代表了人民的声音。 在本周的选举中，人民的投票率超过70％，有300万人投票。 林郑月娥和北京会听吗？ 这些年轻人的勇气能带来改变吗？ 他们充满希望，希望一切都会好起来。
Have you ever felt like you stand alone?
Jeremiah hated standing alone against the crowd. He told God how he felt. He barely hung on. He wanted out of the job. He wanted to walk away and ignore what was happening in his city. At times, he wished he were dead. But he couldn’t stand by when innocent blood was being shed. When people were suffering at the hand of injustice. And the king could do something about it, but refused. From the outside, it seemed that Jeremiah was confident, talking about what will happen if people don’t change their ways. On the inside, he was a wreck, frightened.
But God says, “I for my part today have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, a bronze wall, against the whole land.” He was arrested and imprisoned…nearly killed.
耶利米不愿意独自一人站在群众对面。 他跟神讲出他的感受，他几乎撑不下去了。 他想走开，想忽略他的城市正在发生的事。 有时，他希望自己已经死了。 但是，他无法忍受无辜者流血，他无法忍受人们遭受不公。 国王可以对此做点什么，但他拒绝了。 从表面上看，耶利米似乎很有信心，谈论如着如果人们不改变自己的方式，将会发生什么。可是在他内心深处，他就像一个残骸，有很多恐惧。 但是上帝说：“就我而言，今天我已经使你成为一座以整个土地为依托的防御工事，一根铁柱，一面铜墙铁壁。” 他被捕入狱……几乎被杀。
Young people around the world are speaking up about things that need to be made right, not just in Hong Kong. With the recent UN report showing scientific evidence that the world is woefully short of the two degree goal to avert the climate nightmare, we all need a wake up call, starting with political leadership. I wonder, how would Jeremiah respond to the need for leading countries to reduce carbon emissions much more significantly than scientists thought. Could it be that God has called Greta Thunberg, teenage climate crisis advocate, who is speaking truth to powerful political leaders around the world. I’m sure there are times when she wants to walk away, when the hate e-mails the flood her inbox threaten to take her down. But she continues to speak God’s truth to those in power.
不仅仅是在香港，世界各地的年轻人都在谈论需要做正确的事情， 联合国最近的报告显示，科学证据表明，很不幸，世界远远没有达到为避免气候噩梦所需要的两度目标，因此以政治领导们为首，我们都需要警醒。 我想知道，对发达国家需要减少比科学家认为的还要显著的碳排放，耶利米会如何反应。 可能是上帝召集了青少年气候危机倡导者格雷塔滕伯格（Greta Thunberg），她正在向世界各地的政治领袖们讲真话。 当仇恨通过电子邮件象洪水一般涌来，威胁要把她拉下马时，我敢肯定有时候她想走开。 但是她继续向当权者宣讲上帝的真理。
On the inside, all of us struggle…lacking the confidence to do what needs to be done, angry at those who’ve wronged us, or just consumed with our own worries, fear and anxiety. Jeremiah has been crying out to God in his struggle and God responds…the days are surely coming when I will fulfill the promise I made to Abraham….to be a blessing to all families on the earth, to make all things right in the world. I have not forgotten you. I did not promise you life would be easy. I did not promise to make you wealthy. I did not promise you days without worry and fear. But God promises to raise up a righteous branch who will bring justice and righteousness in the land. God promises to be with us.
在我们内心，我们所有人都在挣扎……缺乏信心去做需要做的事，为那些让我们受委屈的人感到气愤，或者只是因为我们自己的担心，恐惧和焦虑而精疲力尽。 耶利米在他的斗争中一直在向上帝呼求，上帝做出了回应……那天一定会到来，我将履行我对亚伯拉罕所作的承诺……为地球上的所有家庭祝福，使世界上所有的事情都变得正确 。 我并没有忘记你。 我没有保证你的生活会很轻松；我没有承诺让你富有； 我没有承诺你过上没有担心和恐惧的日子。 但是上帝应许要建立一个正义的分支，将公平与正义带到这片土地上。 上帝的应许与我们同在。
In Jeremiah’s day, the city of Jerusalem was under attack…it seemed that everything was being destroyed as the unrelenting armies of Babylon leveled their homes. The city and the land were laid waste. It seemed that God had abandoned them. In this place which is a waste without human beings or animals. All this was happening, Jeremiah said, because the people had failed to follow God’s way in relationship with their neighbours, robbing the poor, even sacrificing their own children to other gods, hurting not only the human community but the land, air, water.
在耶利米时代，耶路撒冷城受到攻击……巴比伦的军队坚持不懈地将房屋夷为平地，一切似乎都被摧毁了， 城市和土地都被荒废了， 看来上帝已经抛弃了他们。 这个地方没有人类或动物，成了废墟。 耶利米说，所有这一切的发生都是因为人们没有遵循上帝的方式去爱你的邻舍，掠夺穷人，甚至把自己的孩子献给了其他神灵，这不仅危害了人类社区，也损害了土地，空气，水。
As we enter into the season of Advent, a time in our community over the next four weeks, when we live in hope, when we recognize that God is at work to set things right. With the flood of Christmas preparations starting to wash away all the spare time in our calendar, we pause with those who are suffering devastating loss: the Gillrie, Robertson, Haave families, Kathryn and little Charlotte undergoing intense chemotherapy treatment, the young people of Hong Kong demonstrating to preserve democracy at great cost, the salmon spawners struggling in Cougar Canyon Creek, all those who struggle with overwhelming anxiety and depression, isolating them from the human family.
In the midst what seems like a wasteland, God promises to make things right, to cause a righteous branch to spring up who will bring righteousness and justice in the land. Righteousness…what is this about? It’s God’s work in the world…making all things between humans, animals, plants and God right. God promises that Jerusalem, once a waste land, unlivable for all living things, will be saved. The Hebrew word for saved is “yasha”. Five hundred years after God saved God’s beloved people from the Babylonian exile, a child would be born and his parents would name him Yeshua or Jesus, meaning ‘God saves.’
在这片荒芜的土地上，上帝应许会纠正这一切，他使正义的分支兴起，为这片土地带来公平和正义。 公义……这是什么意思？ 这是上帝在世界上的工作……使人，动物，植物和上帝之间维系一个正确的关系与秩序。 上帝应许耶路撒冷，这座一度曾是废墟的城市，对于所有生物来说都是无法生存的，它将得到拯救。 希伯来语中保存的单词是“ yasha”。 上帝从巴比伦手中拯救了被流放的他所爱的子民，五百年后，一个孩子将诞生，他的父母将他命名为约书亚或耶稣，意思是“上帝拯救了”。
As Jesus began to travel into villages, cities or farms, people brought those who were sick mentally and physically and laid them before him. They begged Jesus to allow them to just touch the fringe of his cloak…and all who touched it were healed. Having just healed a blind man by laying his hands on his eyes, Jesus walked on with his disciples to the next village and on the way he asked: “Who do people say that I am?” If Jesus were to ask you this question, how might you respond? His disciples said he was one of the prophets…Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist. Then he asked ‘Who do YOU say that I am?’ Peter answered: “you are the Messiah, which is the Hebrew word for Christ. For Peter who is Jewish, Messiah is the One who saves.
耶稣开始在乡村，城市或农场游历，人们将那些身心受到伤害的人带到了他面前。 他们恳求耶稣允许他们触摸他披风的边缘……所有触摸它的人都被治愈了。 耶稣把手放在瞎子的眼睛上，就治好了他的眼睛。耶稣和门徒一起走到下一个村庄，问道：“你们说我是谁？”如果耶稣要问你这个问题， 你会如何回答？ 他的门徒说他是先知之一……以利亚，以赛亚，耶利米，施洗约翰。 彼得问道：“你说我是谁？”彼得回答：“你就是弥赛亚，这是希伯来语对基督的称呼。 对于犹太人彼得来说，弥赛亚是拯救的那一位。
So what does it mean to be saved? Some of us humans might say “going to heaven when you die.” But salvation comes in all shapes and sizes, here and now, in this life. For the young people protesting in Hong Kong, salvation comes in having their voices heard to effect real change in a government system that protects human rights, that values the power of the people who genuinely elect their leadership, that hold police accountable. For the salmon spawners struggling to follow the scent that creates new life in Cougar Canyon Creek, salvation comes in the form of a letter from Leeann, City of Delta Environmental Officer, that was sparked by those counting the salmon who noticed the polluted water and reported it. Salvation will continue to come through neighbours who tell one another not to wash contaminated water into the storm drains, like my neighbor did on a sunny day last week while washing her car. At the time it didn’t occur to me that soapy water in our storm driveway could affect salmon swimming in Cougar Canyon Creek. Now I know and can be part of God’s saving work in my neighbourhood.
Jesus, Jeshua, God saves, born among us as a child, in dying and rising, has become our righteousness. Righteousness is a relational word…we who are estranged have been brought back (show with hands); it’s about being brought into right relationship with the God of the universe, with ourselves, with our fellow human beings, with all living creatures, with the air, water and land. The One who makes all things right comes in an unexpected way: as a child born to an unwed mother, who narrowly escaped being stoned to death, in order to give birth in a stable. This child born to us is called Immanuel, God-with-us, comes to save us in the midst of our grief and pain, bringing comfort, in our anxiety and fear, becoming our peace and courage…to be with us when life is not going right. So that we become part of making all things right. O Come, O Come Immanuel….
耶稣，约书亚，上帝的拯救，在我们中间降生，通过死亡和复活，成就了我们的公义。 正义是一个表达关系的词……被我们疏远的被带回（用手展示）； 它是要与宇宙之神，我们自己，人类同伴，所有生物，空气，水和土地建立正确的关系。 凡事都做对的人以一种意想不到的方式来了：作为一个未婚母亲所生的孩子，他母亲为了能够平安生下他，而险些被石头砸死。这个为我们而生的孩子被称为以马内利，上帝与我们同在，在我们的伤痛和痛苦中拯救我们，在焦虑和恐惧中给我们带来安慰，成为我们的平安与勇气……在我们不正确的生活中与我们同在。 使我们成为让事情变得正确的一部分。 噢，来吧，以马内利……。
Sunday, November 24th, 2019 – Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday – Year C
Written by: Pastor Karen Stepko
Written on: Luke 23:33-43 路加福音 23:33-43
Several years ago, I finally watched the movie Gladiator. The time period of this film is about 150 years after Jesus lived, but it still takes place during the height of the Roman Empire. Although the plot of the movie is fictional, it contains real historical characters, such as Emperor Marcus Aralias and his son, Commodus, and it reflects factual Roman culture and practices from that time period – primarily, the deadly combat that took place within the Colosseum to amuse the Roman people.
几年前，我终于看了电影《角斗士》。 这部电影讲述的大约是耶稣死后150年，在罗马帝国的鼎盛时期发生的事。 尽管这部电影的情节是虚构的，但它包含了真实的历史人物，例如皇帝马库斯阿拉利亚斯（Marcus Aralias）和他的儿子康茂德斯（Commodus），并且真实地反映了当时罗马的文化和习俗--主要是通过斗兽场内发生的致命战斗 来取乐罗马人民。
As I watched this film, I was struck by the absolute power that ancient rulers had. The Romans believed that the Caesars ruled by divine right, meaning that the king was never subject to any authority on earth. They believed that to attempt to limit the emperor’s power in any way was to oppose the will of the gods.
当我观看这部电影时，我被古代统治者的绝对权力所震撼。 罗马人认为凯撒的统治是神所赋予的，这意味着国王不受世上任何权威的约束。 他们认为，试图以任何方式限制皇帝的权力就是反对众神的意志。
If anyone disagreed with or showed disrespect to Caesar – even if it was a high ranking general or senator or even a member of his own family – that person was to be swiftly and harshly punished. The Emperor did not hesitate to hand out death sentences for something as simple or as minor as turning your back to him while he was speaking to you.
At the conclusion of a combat between two gladiators in the Colosseum, the Roman peasants would begin chanting for the winner to kill the loser. The emperor alone was the one who would make the final choice, based solely on how he felt in the moment.
Thumbs up, and a defeated gladiator would be spared to fight another day.
Thumbs down, and the loser was immediately put to death for all to see.
It’s easy to forget, due to the many rights and freedoms that our society grants us, that this is the way that the entire world once worked – and that, in some places and situations, it still remains the case. Careless words or actions might still result in consequences if they cause others harm, but all Canadians have been granted freedom of expression: meaning that every single one of us can feel free to disagree with or to show our displeasure with our rulers without the fear that we will be jailed or executed for it.
However, even today, we continue to have a distant relationship with those in power over us. The closest that most of us will typically gets to a member of the royal family or the leader of a political party is a handshake, a wave, a selfie, or a brief greeting at a planned public appearance or a campaign event.
Even when other world leaders meet Queen Elizabeth, they are asked to follow rules about who can speak first, where to look, what to call her, how they should stand, and when they should sit. If they don’t, she won’t demand, “Off with their heads!” like the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, but it will be frowned upon … and potentially also reported upon in the newspapers as a major social faux pas.
即使是世界上其他领导人与伊丽莎白女王见面，他们也被要求遵循相应的规则：谁先发言，看哪里，如何称呼她，应该怎样站立以及何时坐下。 如果他们不这样做，虽然她不会像《爱丽丝梦游仙境》中的“红心皇后”那样要求“斩下头颅！”，但他们也会让人觉得窘态毕露……并有可能作为重要的社交失礼被报纸大肆报道。 。
None of us are invited – or welcome – to unexpectedly pop over to Rideau Cottage for a coffee with Justin and Sophie the next time we are in Ottawa … or maybe to swing by Stornoway and catch up with Andrew, Jill and the kids, if that is our personal preference.
For the past twenty years, the general public hasn’t even been allowed to drive down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, let alone visit the White House without obtaining security clearance and an invitation from the president of the United States.
Our rulers might be much less fickle and hostile in their treatment of us than they used to be, but they are still not very approachable.
Have you ever noticed how rarely other people in the Gospels refer to Jesus by His first name? To us, it doesn’t seem to be the least bit unusual to refer to Jesus this way: we do that all the time. Jesus – or in Hebrew, Yeshua – was the name that was given to Mary by an angel and to Joseph in dream before God’s son was even born to them: “You will bear and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus”. That was the name that his parents, friends, and neighbours likely called Jesus as he grew from a boy into a man.
大家有没有注意到福音书中很少有人用耶稣的名字来称呼耶稣？ 在我们看来，这样称呼耶稣似乎并没有什么不同寻常：“我们一直这样做。 耶稣（或在希伯来语中的耶稣）是天使给玛丽亚的名字，在上帝的儿子还没有出生之前就在梦中给约瑟发了名字：“你要生一个儿子，你要称呼他 耶稣”。 那是他的父母，朋友和邻居在耶稣从一个男孩成长为一个男人时可能使用的名字。
However, Jesus closest friends and followers – the very people whom you might expect to be on a first name basis with Him – never seem to call him that.
Mary and Martha, feeling overwhelmed by feelings of anger and grief because of their brother Lazarus’ death and totally let down by their close friend because he has shown up four days too late, both confront Jesus by saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”.
They don’t call Him “Jesus”.
Shocked to realize that Jesus is no longer dead, but rather standing right in front of her in the Garden on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene doesn’t shout the name “Jesus!”
Instead, she addresses him as “Rabboni”, which means ‘teacher’.
The demons and some of the people who are in need of healing are not afraid to use the name “Jesus”, but the disciples never seem to. Even after three years of travelling together throughout Galilea, witnessing miracles and hearing Jesus teach and preach about God’s coming kingdom, the apostles seem to always refer to Jesus as “Teacher”, “Master”, or “Lord”.
Yet, in the final moments of both of their lives, a stranger turns to God’s one and only Son and boldly says, “Jesus … remember me when you come into* your kingdom”. A convicted criminal who, is desperately in need of forgiveness, turns to Jesus Christ and feels free to speak to Him in the most personal, intimate way – in the same way that His own mother might – and to him, Jesus earnestly 43promises in reply, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise”.
然而，在俩人一生的最后时刻，一个陌生人转向上帝的独生子，大胆地说：“耶稣……进入你的王国时要记住我”。 一位极度需要宽恕的被定罪的罪犯，求助于耶稣基督，并以最私密，最亲密的方式与他说话-就像他自己的母亲可能会做的那样-耶稣恳切地答应他 ，“我实在告诉你，今天你将在天堂与我同在”。
Christ is the king who is not just approachable. He is the king who approaches us.
In a place that was solely dedicated to death, in the midst of His greatest suffering, Jesus Christ fulfilled a promise of life and hope, not only for the thief on the cross, but for every one of us: because of His death, to which we are joined in baptism, we can too have the hope of a place with Jesus in Paradise.
If anyone had the right not to forgive, to lash out in anger, or to feel unjustly persecuted, it was Jesus, especially as he hung helpless and suffering for the sake of our salvation. Jesus was forced to carry his own cross in through the streets in a parade of shame. The crowds and the leaders taunt him. The soldiers showed him no remorse as they mocked and beat Him.
如果有人有权不去宽恕，有权发怒或有权不公正地迫害别人，那这个人就是耶稣，尤其是他为我们的救赎而受苦，被无助地钉在十字架上。 耶稣被迫羞辱地在街道游行，被人们和宗教领袖嘲笑。 士兵们嘲笑并殴打他时，没有表示任何悔恨。
However, Jesus not only forgives them, but prays for them.
He sees beyond the hateful things which they are doing to Him in that moment. He sees beyond the crimes which this thief has committed during his lifetime.
He sees beyond our own sin – and His love for us remains.
As people sarcastically taunted Him on Calvary saying, “If you are a King, save yourself!” Jesus chose instead to save them – and us.
“Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Even death has no dominion over Jesus Christ the King, who chose not to rule from a distance, but instead to meet us in the midst of our weakness and our need. He is the same Jesus who is willing to embrace all, forgive all, and redeem all – because our God is a god who we can simply, intimately, and with confidence call on Him all circumstances.
We have the great privilege of being on a first name basis with our Lord, our Savior, and our King – Jesus, name above all names.
The lamb who was slain has begun his reign. Hallejulah! AMEN
Isaiah 5:1-7 and 11:1-5 Nov 17 2019 TLC 以赛亚书5：1-7和11：1-5 2019年11月17日 TLC
A Shoot Grows from the Stump
Context: The prophet Isaiah lived at a crucial time, midway between the founding of the nations of Israel and Judah in the days of King Saul and David…and their eventual destruction in 722 B.C.E by Assyria. Isaiah wrote these words about the time that Homer was writing The Iliad and the Odyssey; Isaiah regarded as the Shakespeare of Hebrew literature. Isaiah’s book is full of profound insights about the nature of God and God’s hopes for the world. When Isaiah began to speak, the united nation seemed strong and healthy. But Isaiah saw signs of grave danger as civil war broke out between the north and the south. People were using their power to harass the poor. Men walked around drunk; women cared more about their clothing than the hunger of their neighbours. People gave lip service to God and kept the outward appearance of being religious but didn’t seek social justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. The armies of neighboring nations of Assyria and Egypt were rattling their swords; Israel and Judah were caught in the middle…would they choose a bigger nation as ally? Isaiah had harsh and unyielding words about what changes needed to take place within their community; he moved in royal circles but was not a yes-man in politics. His name means “The Lord Saves” and he warned kings that relying on military power and wealth or any force other than God would lead to disaster. Let’s listen to Isaiah 5:1-7 and 11:1-5.
经文背景：先知以赛亚生活在一个关键时期，是介于扫罗和大卫王时代之后，以色列和犹大王国建立之前的那段时间。以色列与犹大国最终于公元前722年被亚述摧毁。 以赛亚写下这些文字的时间大约就是荷马写《以利亚德与奥德赛》的时间。 以赛亚被视为希伯来文学的莎士比亚。 以赛亚书充满了对上帝本质和上帝对世界的期望的深刻见解。 当以赛亚开始讲话时，联合王国显得非常强大。 但是，随着南北两国之间爆发内战，以赛亚看到了严重的危险信号。 人们利用自己的优势逼迫穷人。 男人醉醺醺地走来走去； 比起邻居的饥饿，妇女们更关心自己的衣服。 人们对上帝赞美有加，并保持宗教信仰的表象，但并未真正做到行公义义，好怜悯，谦卑地与上帝同行。 邻国亚述和埃及的军队正挥舞着刀剑，虎视眈眈，以色列和犹大国被困在中间……他们会选择一个更大的国家作为盟友吗？ 以赛亚为他们的社区需要作出改变发表了严厉而坚定的讲话。 他虽混迹于皇室的圈子，但他并不是一个政治强人。 他的名字的意思是“上帝拯救”，他警告国王，依靠军事力量和财富或除神以外的任何力量都将导致灾难。
Helga Manz told me last week that she, in her eighth decade of life, just finished planting hundreds of bulbs in her front yard. She was sore because she had knelt down to dig in the soil, carving out a dark moist pocket where the bulbs could hibernate. Dropping them into darkness with hope that they will find the light and be transformed. Helga planted bulbs as an act of faith, with hope that in the spring the tulips will bloom in glorious color before her very eyes. She hopes that the warm rays of the sun will still burn several months from now, sustaining all life on this revolving planet in a vast universe. Helga lives in hope, so she digs. Helga lives in hope that not only will the star burning in our solar system still be emitting photons converted into heat and light, but Helga lives in hope that one day she will awaken next spring to see those tender green shoots sprouting in her front yard. Science tells us that when you plant a bulb, a process ensues over the dormant winter months that becomes new life in the spring…a red bulb will always produce a red tulip, given the right conditions.
赫尔加 曼兹（Helga Manz）上周告诉我，在她生命的第八十年，她刚刚在前院种下了数百株郁金香。 她腰酸背痛因为她要跪在地上挖土，挖出一个黑暗潮湿的坑，郁金香球茎可以在那里冬眠。 将它们丢入黑暗中，希望他们能找到光明并被转变。 赫尔加（Helga）种植鳞茎植物是一种信仰实践，希望在春天，郁金香能够在她的眼前绽放出绚丽的色彩。 她希望，从现在开始的几个月后，太阳的光芒依然温暖，从而在广阔的宇宙中，在这个旋转行星上的所有生命得以维系。 赫尔加（Helga）将希望寄托于生活，所以她开始挖掘。 赫尔加（Helga）不仅希望我们的太阳系中燃烧的恒星仍会发出光粒子，这些粒子会转变成光和热。赫尔加（Helga）也希望明年的某一天当她醒来，能看到那些嫩绿的新芽在她的前院里破土而出。 科学告诉我们，当您种植郁金香时，在种子冬眠的几个月中会发生一个变化，在春季变成新的生命……只要有适合的条件，红色郁金香球茎会长出红色郁金香。
This week as we listen to opening testimony in the impeachment trial for U.S. President Trump, we wonder, will justice be served? Will the truth determine the outcome? We cannot predict at this point what will happen. (Court proceedings are not like planting bulbs…)
本周我们在听取针对美国总统特朗普的弹劾案的开庭证词时，我们想知道正义是否会得到伸张？ 真相能决定结果吗？ 我们目前无法预测会发生什么。 （法院程序并不像种郁金香…）
Isaiah’s love song for his vineyard sings of one who had a vineyard (show image) on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines, expecting it to yield grapes. Grapes that would taste good, suitable for making wine, so that he could indulge in sweet juicy bites. God expected one thing and got another. To expect something is to live in hope of a future outcome. It is reasonable for Helga to expect her bulbs to yield tulips. The dead of winter brings green shoots. So Yhwh, God is bewildered by what the planting produces…wild grapes, taste bitter, not edible, to be thrown away.
以赛亚为他的葡萄园献上的情歌演唱的是一位在非常肥沃的小山上拥有葡萄园的人（显示图片）。 他挖了沟，清除了石头，然后用精选的葡萄藤种植，期望它能产出优质的葡萄。 口感好的葡萄可酿造葡萄酒，可以尽享香甜又多汁的美味。 上帝期待一个结果却得到了另一种结果。 期待是生活在对未来结果的希望当中。赫尔加（ Helga）期望她的郁金香种能长出郁金香是合理的。 冬天的死寂带来的是绿色的新芽。 因此，耶和华对这种种植的结果感到迷惑……野葡萄苦涩，不能吃，只能废弃。
What more could I have done for my vineyard? God had a dream for human beings living together, taking care of one another, looking out for those who fall on tough times. Eight centuries before the birth of Christ, God was looking for justice but saw bloodshed in the human family. Instead of right relationship between human beings, God hears a cry. Has anything changed? God has a dream for human beings living in our world today…a dream of us understanding one another across cultures, building genuine friendships, working together for the common good. But war still breaks out among us as we hear of violence erupting on the Gaza strip, Palestinian children and adults are again casualties. God’s dream of a just social order where all, including the poor and neglected, the abused and overlooked, are provided what they need, in order to thrive. God wants the vineyard to produce grapes. God wants human beings to thrive together, to reach across conflict and division along economic, racial, political and religious differences.
我能拿葡萄园怎么办？上帝有一个梦想，希望人类共同生活，互相照顾，关爱那些处境艰难的人。 上帝对当今世界的人类有一个梦想……希望我们跨约文化的差异去相互了解，缔结友谊，为共同的利益一起努力。 但是，当我们听到本周加沙地带爆发暴力事件，巴勒斯坦儿童的伤亡时，我们知道战争仍在我们中间爆发。 基督出生前的八个世纪，上帝一直在寻求正义，但却看到了人类世界的流血事件。 上帝没有看到人与人之间正确的关系，他听到的是哭泣。 有什么改变吗？ 上帝的梦想是一种公正的社会秩序，在这个社会秩序中，所有的人包括贫困的，被忽视，被虐待的都能获得了其蓬勃发展所需的一切。 上帝希望葡萄园结出葡萄。 上帝希望人类共同成长，跨越因经济，种族，政治和宗教差异所造成的冲突和分裂。
Human beings are not like plants, are we?
When we compare the destiny of human society with the plant world, which is more predictable? Helga plants bulbs that sprout into tulips. But we human beings more often than not fail to produce the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. Apart from God’s grace poured out on the cross, we can do nothing but tear one another down, cut one another off, worry about our own well-being and turn in upon ourselves.
但是人类不是植物，不是吗？ 当我们将人类社会的命运与植物世界进行比较时，哪个更可预测？ 赫尔加（Helga）种下郁金香球茎会发芽长成郁金香。 但是，我们人类常常没能结出爱，喜悦，和平，耐心和仁慈的果实。 背离了十字架上所彰显上帝的恩典，我们什么也做不了，只能彼此撕毁，互相割断，担心自己的幸福并转身依靠自己。
Isaiah sings of God’s dream: not just for the salvation of individual souls but for human beings to establish a way of being together without bloodshed and cries from those on the margins. Jesus tells a story to show us what human beings are like apart from God’s grace. A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, built a watchtower and leased it to tenants. Who are the tenants, entrusted with care of the earth and one another? We are you and I, young, old, from many different places gathered here together The owner of the vineyard goes to another country. Then sends a slave to collect what belongs to the owner…and the tenants grab him, beat him and send him away empty-handed. Is it really possible for human communities to fulfill God’s deepest hope of social justice where all human beings live in right relationship with one another?
以赛亚歌颂上帝的梦想：这不仅是为了救赎个人灵魂，而且是为了建立公正的人类社会，大家在一起不会有流血与哭泣。 耶稣讲了一个故事，向我们展示了除了上帝的恩典之外人类是什么样的人。 耶稣说，一个人种了一个葡萄园，在它周围围上篱笆，挖了榨葡萄酒用的坑，建了一座守望塔，并将其租给租户。谁获得了主人的信任，来照顾地球和我们彼此。是我们，你，我，年轻的，年老的，来自不同地方的我们聚到一起。葡萄园的主人去了另一个国家。 然后，葡萄园的所有者派遣了一个奴隶来征收他的财产……而租客则将他抓住，殴打并两手空空地将他送走。 人类社会是否真的有可能实现上帝对社会公义的最深切期望？即所有人都生活在正确的关系中？
Maybe the plant and animal kingdom can show us the way grace works in the world. Caber, (show photo) DPD victim services trauma dog, retired last month after nine years on the job. In those years, Caber, a yellow lab, directly supported 2,132 victims of crime and trauma (including house fires, domestic violence, sexual assault, sudden death, suicides and murders). Caber was the only one who could comfort a boy who learned of his father’s death and a young girl who was only able to testify against her abusers because of Caber’s unfaltering support in court. He responded to the Fort McMurray residents when they returned to their community after the wildfires. And he traveled to Las Vegas in 2017 after the mass shooting of 58 people at the Route 91 Music festival. Caber was the first dog trained in this way in Canada, known as the ‘Dogfather’ on social media. Now there are 46 justice facility dogs working coast to coast in Canada. Caber was raised by human volunteers from Pacific Assistance Dog Society who provide dogs for people with diverse abilities. Caber meets people on their very worst day, helping them face it with hope as a gentle friend.
也许动植物界可以向我们展示恩典在世界上的运作方式。 三角洲警察局受害者服务犬Caber在工作了9年后于上个月退休。 在那些年里， Caber，一只黄色的拉布拉多犬，直接为2132名犯罪和创伤受害者提供了支持，其中包括房屋火灾，家庭暴力，性攻击，猝死，自杀和谋杀的受害者。 Caber是唯一一个可以安慰一个得知父亲去世的男孩，以及一个年轻女孩，因为Caber在法庭上的坚定支持，这个女孩才可以指证虐待者。麦克默里堡山火之后，Caber 为返回家园的居民提供服务。在导致Route 91音乐节58人死亡的枪击案之后，它于2017年前往拉斯维加斯提供帮助。 Caber是加拿大第一只接受这种训练的狗，在社交媒体上被称为“狗狗”。 现在，加拿大境内有46只司法机构的狗在全国各地工作。 Caber由太平洋援助狗协会的志愿者抚养长大，他们为有不同需要的人提供服务犬。 Caber在人们最糟糕的时候遇到他们，象一位温柔的朋友一样帮助他们能充满希望地面对一切。
We know that even plants or trees that are brutally cut down can grow again.
With violence erupting on the Gaza strip this week, violence that has torn down homes and precious human life for decades, listen to an Israeli soldier, Yehuda Amichai, share what it means to live in hope: The Place Where We Are Right
From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the Spring.
The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard
But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plough
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.
Hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? If we live in hope, we wait, for what we do not yet see, what we do not yet hear. We wait in patience…Caber was meant for this work. “He is extremely calm and comforting. He could sit for long periods of time in a courtroom and provided unconditional affection to those he served.” (North Delta reporter Oct 17, 2019.) Tulip bulbs can be counted on to bloom into tulips when you plant them in the dark soil. But we human beings need something more to realize what we are meant to become. We see this in Isaiah’s words spoken in the midst of civil war, a time when no leader could be trusted: A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse (King David’s family line). This shoot is an image of hope. (show stump with shoot) This is a photo taken by Wendy and Rod McKenzie’s trip to Haida Gwaii. This stump has become fertile ground for over 35 species of plants. What seems to be a dead end in the forest, our life, a cut-off relationship, a deceased loved one, neighbours cut off from one another by culture and politics, a dead region of bloodshed and war, with God’s grace, all of this can become new. The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Spirit of counsel and might, Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord will rest on this shoot growing out of a stump. We pray Isaiah’s words with everyone who is baptized, infants, teens and adults…that this Spirit would blow in, with and through them as they walk wet into the world, a world that cries out for justice, for an end to bloodshed, for an end to racism, for an end to everything that keeps human beings at odds with one another. As we pray for a Spirit of the fear, fear doesn’t mean terror in the face of God’s wrath and punishment, but fear meaning awe: we all stand together amazed and humbled by God’s grace.
看到的希望并不是希望。谁会希望已经见到的东西？如果我们生活在希望中，我们就要等待我们尚未看到的，我们尚未听到的。 我们耐心等待... Caber是为这项工作而设计的。 “它非常镇定和具有安慰。 它可能会在法庭上长时间坐着，为它所服务的人提供无条件的情感支持。”（北三角洲记者2019年10月17日）。当你把郁金香种在黑色土壤中时，郁金香鳞茎就可以生长成郁金香，开花。 但是我们人类需要更多的东西来实现我们的本性。 我们从以赛亚在内战中所说的话中看到了这一点，那是一个没有可信任的领导人的时期：杰西家（大卫王的家族）的枝干上应发出嫩芽。 这张照片是希望的图像。 （发出嫩芽的树干）这是Wendy和Rod McKenzie的Haida Guai之旅的照片。 这个树桩已经成为超过35种植物的沃土。 破碎的关系，亲人的故去，因文化和政治原因而相互割裂的邻里关系，流血和战争带来的死寂，这些看似我们生命中的死胡同，因着上帝的恩典，可以成为新的生命。圣灵的洞察与睿智，圣灵的启示与力量，圣灵的感动和对主的敬畏将立足于从树干上发出的那颗嫩芽。 我们用以赛亚的话为每个受洗的人，婴儿，青少年和成人祷告……当他们走进这个世界，这个世界在呼唤正义，结束流血， 结束种族主义，结束一切使人类陷入歧途的事物，所有人都有机会成长。 当我们为了恐惧而祷告时，恐惧并不意味着面对上帝的愤怒和惩罚时会感到恐怖，而是意味着敬畏：我们所有人都因上帝的恩典而感到震惊与谦卑。
[Twenty-five] years ago, Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. )
both chided and encouraged us in this way:
二十五年前，卡尔萨根（Carl Sagan）（11934年11月9日至1996年12月20日）是美国天文学，天体物理学家，天体物理学家，天体生物学家，作家，科普工作者以及天文学和其他自然科学领域的科学传播者。 ）