Reflections...

Meditations, Reflections, Bible Studies, and Sermons from Kowloon Union Church  

If God is Disabled 假如上帝是殘障

A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on Sunday 27 September 2009, Wai Ji Sunday, by the Rev. Phyllis Wong. The scripture readings that day were Psalm 139:13-18 and John 9:1-3.


One day, when I was talking to my eleven year old son about something, he said to me, “mum, you don’t understand a child, his feeling and thinking.” I asked him why? He said, “simply because you are an adult and not a child. You think from an adult’s point of view instead of a child’s.”

This conversation made me think of a question. Does our Lord who is regarded as powerful and almighty understand disabled people?

What do my friends here think? Can our God understand the disabled, their needs and thoughts? This is an interesting question. If we think the disabled best understand themselves, and if we believe God understand the disabled, we will then have to ask a question. Is God also disabled somewhere, somehow?

If the disabled are suffering from a kind of brokenness, physically, psychologically and/or mentally, we can see Jesus Christ had experienced this kind of brokenness in his life too. God had incarnated into the world through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ who was God coming into the world, suffered, and was nailed on the cross till death. Jesus, being innocent, suffered great pain on the cross. He was broken physically and psychologically. He had experienced a strong sense of helplessness, fear, rejection and isolation. What Jesus experienced on the cross was very similar to many disabled people. Because of Jesus’ first hand experience in his brokenness, he can fully understand the struggles and sufferings of the disabled people.

Jesus’ suffering on the cross not only reflects God’s identification with the disabled, and all people who have suffered from different kinds of brokenness. The scars of Jesus revealed that Jesus himself was sailing on the same boat with the disabled. He was a God of the disabled who had deep experience of brokenness in his life. It is through the full presence of Jesus Christ that God heals those who are disabled and fragile in their lives in different ways. Jesus Christ is the representative of God to comfort people in need and bring them the good news of love and hope.

In today’s reading, John 9:1-3, Jesus had clearly answered the question of his disciples of why a blind man was born blind. Jesus said, “neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” How do we understand the words of Jesus in here?

In the social and religious context of Jesus in his time, there was a kind of thinking that people suffered from diseases and disability, it must be related to sins. Sins of the person concerned or their parents or ancestors. Jesus obviously rejected this social norms and tradition.

Jesus’ message to his disciples and the community he lived was clear. To the blind and his family: no one should bear the shame and guilt of the physical impairment. They were perfectly fine and were fully accepted by God. To the public in the community: no one should punish the blind because of his disability. In addition, no one can claim the right to discriminate against the blind. The blind and his family should be accepted and respected.

What Jesus declared was clear. In God’s eyes, the fullness of life is not about physical health and body condition, fullness of life all depends on God. The story of the blind has revealed God’s unconditional love to everybody disregarding their level of ability. (It is very different from the world value in our time, where we measure a person’s worth with their ability to earn money, social status and contribution to others) Equally important is that God embraces the lives of all people. Life is precious to God for God is the source of life. God makes everybody unique and holy.

In our society, disabled people suffer from different kinds of discriminations and exclusion. I wish you all to remember, Jesus has sent a strong message to say no to discrimination against the disabled. Jesus Christ our redeemer has come to free us from oppression. Jesus Christ has come to bring the good news of liberation and freedom to us all.

Jesus experienced great pains on the cross. Jesus Christ is a suffering God and God of disability. Yet, Jesus’ resurrection has given his disciples and all human beings a new hope of life. Suffering and death is not the end and answer to our life, but a life of rebirth. Jesus’ resurrection after his death has given hope and courage to people to continue a life, no matter how hard it is. Today we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Wai Ji Christian Service. Thirty years ago, a member of KUC, Dr. Bernard Ng put forward the idea of setting up Wai Ji in KUC. It is the resurrection power of God that encourage and empower people in different era to engage in the mission and continue to serve the clients with disabilities. In the past thirty years, the organization has grown from a small training centre serving a small number of mentally challenged clients to an organization of providing a variety of services across the broad to address the diverse needs of clients with different levels of ability. We have witness God’s love and grace to the disable people. We are thankful to God for preparing faithful servants to serve in this important ministry that serve the people with desperate needs.

While we humbly give thanks to our loving God, I would like to take this opportunity to offer our deep appreciation to the staff and volunteers for their dedicated services.
May God bless you and keep you in the years ahead.

Let’s us pray. Dear living and loving God,
We give you thanks for your gift of life to each one of us. In you, we are made unique and holy. You have free us from sins of guilt and pride. We thank you for Jesus’ death and resurrection that give us courage and hope. We give you thanks for the dedicated staff and volunteers of Wai Ji who have committed themselves to provide the quality services to the clients in the past thirty years. We ask for your continue blessings to the clients and the workers, empower the workers to engage in your service through the holy spirit. May your gracious love, hope and peace be with them always. Keep them and guide them in the years ahead. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.


假如上帝是殘障
約翰福音9:1-3
王美鳳牧師

有一天與我十一歲的兒子交談,討論到某一事情,他直言對我說,「媽媽,你不了解小孩子。」我問他︰「為甚麼?」他回答說︰「因為你是大人。你只會從大人的角度睇,不會從小孩子方面諗。」

這個對話讓我思考一個問題,我們那位創造萬有,無所不能,而又百分百完全的上帝,是否能夠明白殘障人士?

你們認為如何?我看到有人點頭,為甚麼你認為上帝能夠明白殘障人士?甚麼人最能明白殘障人士,我想應該是殘障人自己罷。

這個問題又使我想到上帝與殘障人士的關係。如果上帝不單是關心殘障人士,而祂自己本身也是殘障。那又如何?

如果殘障是人類遭遇到的「破碎」(brokenness) ,耶穌基督也同樣經歷過「破碎」,並且體驗過傷殘者的苦況。

上帝通過耶穌基督道成肉身,成為在世人活過的人,他經歷過極度的痛苦和死亡。 耶穌原本無罪,但卻被當權者釘在上字架受刑罰。在十字架上,耶穌的身體和心靈一同被破碎。在十字架上,耶穌經驗到無助,力不從心、恐懼、拒絕和孤單。

耶穌的經歷就好像無數殘障人士所經歷過的一樣。因着耶穌基督道成肉身的親身體會,上帝在基督裡也可以完全明白在精神上,肉體上,心靈上破碎的人的掙扎。

耶穌釘身十字架,受到酷刑,不單反映上帝對殘障和在不同方面破碎的人之認同,耶穌的創傷更顯示祂與殘障和破碎的人同坐一條船,因為祂自己也有同樣遭遇和經歷。上帝就是這樣通過耶穌,去醫治身、心、靈殘障的人,帶給他們安慰,信心和盼望。

在今日所讀經文,約翰福音9:1-3。耶穌釘說︰「不是瞎眼的犯罪,也不是他父母犯了罪,是在瞎眼的人身上顯出神的作為。」了解此話,我們必須進入經文之世界(社會宗教處境裡),去理解耶穌的意思。在那個耶穌的時代,猶太人的宗教及倫理觀,存在一種觀念,一個人患病或身體殘障,都與他本人和其父母犯罪有關。因此,這些人士或多或少遭受到別人的歧視和社群的排斥。耶穌對門徒的面應,是十分不尋常和反傳統。耶穌指出瞎眼的人是要顯出上帝的作為,對瞎眼的人及其父母,耶穌清晰指出,他們不會因殘障而受到責罰;他們更毋須因此事而自責和內咎。對社群中人,耶穌的回應,正好顯示上帝的作為是不批判弱勢者,反過來說,神的作為乃反映上帝對每個生命的重視,對整全生命的確認,以及對人無條件接納。耶穌為失明人士平反,在眾人面前,拿走社群給他和家人的羞辱和歧視的標籤。

在上帝的角度,一個人的整全生命,不在乎那人的身體是否健全,乃在乎於上帝的作為。上帝的作為就是對人無窮盡的恩典,憐憫和肯定。每個人都是上主獨特和珍貴的創造。

殘障人士在社會面對不同層面的歧視和排斥,但請各位朋友緊記,耶穌基督拒絕這種壓迫,祂要叫患有殘障的朋友和家人一同獲得釋放和自由。

# posted by Heddy Ha : Sunday, September 27, 2009



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