Reflections...

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

Being Mindful

A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on Sunday 22 May 2016, by Dr. Hope S. Antone, in commemoration of Asia Sunday and Trinity Sunday. The scripture readings that day were Psalm 8, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15.


The three Lectionary readings for today are so packed with meaning but I will focus on only 3 lessons, in view of Asia Sunday and Trinity Sunday. I call them lessons on being mindful. By “being mindful” I mean that capacity to pay close attention to or being especially conscious of something, or someone. In our highly stressful and competitive world today, being mindful is needed so we can listen more closely to what truly matters.

·        The first lesson from Psalm 8 is being mindful of God’s creation. This means appreciating and understanding the diversity of creation, and also our unique role and responsibility as human beings.   
  
Being in Asia immerses us in the diversity of God’s creation. Just consider the vast expanse of land and water; the medley of people’s ethnic backgrounds, cultures, languages, and religions. (We have many natural attractions in Asia. Asia is the birthplace of the major religions of the world.) With these we can say that diversity is God’s gift and will for us. But without being mindful of that diversity, it can become the cause of conflict or even war. We have many examples of such conflicts – e.g. when the majority ethnic, religious, or political group dominates or neglects the minority groups.

What does it mean to be mindful of God’s creation? Reading Psalm 8, I can imagine the young David, perhaps lying on a hillside outside of Bethlehem, gazing up at the sky, the moon and the stars. Filled with the wonder of God’s creation, he takes out his harp, and sings: O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Do you remember a time when you said something like this? Was it when you reached the top of the Dragon’s Back hiking trail? Or when you played again like little children on the sandy beach of Mui Wo, Boracay, Penang, or elsewhere? Or was it on your first flight, when you could see the mountains and clouds up close? Taking time to be with nature is indeed a wonderful way of being mindful of God’s creation.

As with David, the reflection on the wonder and beauty of creation does not only focus on the magnificence of God’s power as creator. It must also be related to our role and responsibility as human beings who are part of that creation. “You have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands...” Being mindful of God’s creation means giving credit to God as Creator, and respecting each creature which holds God’s fingerprint.

The “wai” of Thailand (greeting with a slight bow, with palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion) is similar to the Indian/Nepali Namaskar or the Cambodian sampeah. Its deep meaning is, “My soul recognizes the divine in your soul.” In Malaysia and Indonesia, a typical handshake is the light touching of palms, sometimes with both hands extended to sandwich the recipient’s right hand. This is followed by placing either the right hand or both hands over one’s heart to mean, ‘I greet you from my heart’. It is appropriate for the recipient to follow suit, signifying a receipt of thanks and acceptance. If we are truly mindful and that we mean what we say or do with our greeting, we should be in a much better place than our conflict-torn societies today – there would be no abuse, no corruption, no taking advantage of the other.

To be mindful of God as Creator and of God’s creation is to honor and respect God’s handiwork. To truly praise God means to do our part as responsible stewards of what God created.

·        The second lesson, gleaned from Paul’s Letter to the Romans (5:1-5), is that of being mindful of Christ’s gift of salvation. We affirm that Christ, though sinless, took all our sins and died on the cross for us in order to redeem or save us. This assures us, according to the Apostle Paul, that we have peace with God. 

But Paul also hints that the peace with God through Christ Jesus is not being free from suffering. Confident that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope, Paul says we can boast in our suffering and hope.

Paul, in his earlier life as Saul, had zealously persecuted the early Christians. After his life-changing personal encounter with the Christ, he became a zealous missionary, for which he also had his share of persecution. Suffering in the cause of Christ did produce in Paul a sense of endurance, character and hope.

Today, a most pervasive suffering in Asia is massive poverty. According to the Sri Lankan priest, Fr Aloysius Pieris, the Beatitudes in the Gospels speak of two types of poverty: voluntary poverty and involuntary poverty. Voluntary poverty results from one’s option to live simply so others can simply live. Involuntary poverty is something inflicted by outside forces such as the systems of injustice that make and keep the poor poorer. I think the same principle could apply to suffering. Voluntary suffering results when one knowingly participates in a cause that faces great opposition or resistance – such as the cause of freedom and democracy. Involuntary suffering is something inflicted from outside, such as by an abusive partner or an unjust boss. Which of these types of suffering is worthy to boast of? 

Being mindful of Christ’s gift of salvation means being assured that in view of his will for our salvation, our suffering, in whatever form it takes, should not get the better of us, or overcome us. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair.” Instead, our suffering will produce endurance, endurance will produce character, and character will produce hope. I find this very true of the internally displaced Kachin people in Myanmar whom I visited last September; or when I think about the Lumads (Indigenous people) in Southern Philippines; or of the climate change and other refugees who risk their lives to look for a better life and a brighter future.

Last March was the graduation time at many universities in the Philippines. I got teary-eyed reading a story of how a pedicab/tricyle driver had put his son through university. Indeed, success is sweetest for those who sweat the most; for those who work so hard for it. But today, the trend is more for the quick fix and the short-cut.

Just look at advertisements that promise getting rich quickly, slimming down, losing abs or gaining a 6-pack in a week. These ads play on many people’s desire to get rich and look more beautiful right away. But I am from the old school that says one must work hard and honestly in order to achieve something that one deserves to have. There is no short-cut, no quick-fix to getting there.

Christ’s resurrection means a lot to us only in view of his crucifixion. We have to be mindful that his passion was not an easy path. He agonized and he suffered as he went through it. Through his life of selfless service, he showed us the best about being human! That we can be the best of what God intends for us. It is not easy or smooth – it will include suffering, which produces endurance, character and hope. He showed us that it is possible.   

·        The third lesson, gleaned from the John 16:12-15, is being mindful of the Spirit’s continuing guidance. Christ Jesus says: "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”

Christ’s act of salvation/redemption has been done! But the discipleship still continues. Christ had only 3 years with his disciples on earth. Even though they were with him physically, as students learning closely with their teacher, there was no way that they already had it all. They still had so much to learn, to understand, to comprehend. And because he was no longer with them in person, he assured them that it would be the Spirit of truth that would guide them. 

Learning is truly a life-long process. No matter how many degrees we have earned, or how many books we have read or written, there is always something new to learn. Hence, we also have to be mindful of the Spirit’s continuing guidance. This calls for our openness to continue to learn and grow.

In my present work with the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, I learned from different speakers and resource persons that our universities in Asia must prepare our students now for jobs that are not yet known today. Other speakers say that to do this, our universities should not teach by giving knowledge or information, but by making students know how to learn on their own. The American writer and futurist, Alvin Toffler, has been quoted as saying: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."

Does the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn apply to our Christian faith? Definitely! If life is nothing but dynamic, so is a living faith!   

Last year, I joined Beng Seng in Mongolia at the end of his workshop for the young YMCA there. Two local youth accompanied us on a visit to a nomad family where we experienced a bit of their life, moving around the vast land of Mongolia, looking for grass and water for their animals. In our interactions with the people, we learned that in Mongolia, the sheep and goats live harmoniously together. For the Mongolian herders, goats are very smart and helpful animals, much more than the sheep. The goats know where to look for green pasture; they also know how to get back home to their master/owner. And they would be leading the sheep who often did not have any clue about food and home. That story confirmed for me and Beng Seng that the biblical imagery of goats and sheep did not readily fit in Mongolia!

Jesus may have his reason for using the goat and sheep imagery in the judgment story. But I don’t think it was meant to be the way we should look at or relate with people – i.e. that we should think we are the good sheep and others who are not like us are the bad goats.           

This is only one illustration to show that indeed there is so much to learn. But we can only learn more if we are willing to unlearn something of the old, in order to be open to the new. 

I have shared three lessons from the Trinity: being mindful of God’s creation and our responsibility; being mindful of Christ’s gift of salvation and the possibility to tap the best of our humanity; and being mindful of the Spirit’s continuing guidance to guide us into all truth. May our Trinitarian God inspire us to draw more lessons from scriptures and from our life experiences. And may our efforts glorify God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. 

# posted by Heddy Ha : Sunday, May 22, 2016

 

“Pentecost Celebration”

A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on Sunday 15 May 2016, the Pentecost Sunday, by the Rev. Phyllis Wong. The scripture readings that day were Genesis 11:1-9; Act 2:1-21; John 14:8-17, 25-27.


Opening prayer
God of life, may your Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Inspire us to understand your truth and by the power of the Holy Spirit your Word transform us to become more like Christ. Amen.

Today is Pentecost Sunday.

It is a day of celebration for the outpouring of the Spirit and the spread of the Gospel to all nations.

The red pulpit fall reminds us of Pentecost fire, the fire of Jesus’ love poured out in the Holy Spirit towards others.

Pentecost is the day the early Christian community is empowered by  the Holy Spirit at the Jewish Pentecost festival. For Christians, Pentecost marked the birth of a new faith community - the church. Fifty days on earth after his resurrection, Jesus Christ left the earth but his calling and mission remains in those who believe in him and love him.

Pentecost is a great reminder to Christians of the power of the Holy Spirit and her transforming power to the life, faith and mission of individual believers and the Church community.

Today we celebrate and give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit given by God in Jesus Christ.


To many people, the Holy Spirit is very abstract. You cannot see it with your eyes, you cannot listen to it with your ears. You cannot touch it by hands. However, you may feel it.

Now I invite you all to have a minute of silence. You may close your eyes and be fully aware of your breath. Breathe in and breathe out. If there is anything that side tracks you, just gently come back to your breath. I will finish this time of silent meditation in your breathing by the sound of the bell. Let us start now. Concentrate and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and breathe out.

How do you feel sisters and brothers?

Holy Spirit in Hebrew: ruah; and in Greek: pneuma both meaning breath, the spirit of the Divine.

When we are breathing we know we are a living human being. When we breathe, we know that the God of life is with us. In Genesis when the Lord God breathed into the man’s nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

When Jesus first appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he said to them “Peace be with you. As the Father send me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “receive the Holy Spirit.”

As we breathe, we know by experience the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Jesus Christ lives in us.

Jesus referring the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of truth that dwells in his disciples.

What is the Spirit of Truth? The Spirit of Truth is to be fully united with God (we know God as God knows us. God abides with us and he is with us. (John 14:15-16)

In today’s Pentecost Sunday, sisters and brothers, let us receive the Holy Spirit with thanksgiving and affirm her presence and her power in our life and our faith in Christ.

Pentecost is significant to Christians and the Church. How?

The Spirit within the disciples and the faith community gives them new life and transforming power.

Apostle Peter delivered a message during the Pentecost festival. (The Pentecost festival was the anniversary of the Jews to commemorate and celebrate the giving of Mosaic Law on Mount Sinai. It then became an annual renewal of the Mosaic covenant for the Jews).

Peter, who was called by Jesus as the Rock of the Church, delivered a powerful message referring to Prophet Joel. He highlighted that everybody in God has been called a vision and a role to play. He quoted from Joel 2:28-32.

“the spirit of God will dwell in all flesh. Sons and daughters shall prophesy. Young men shall see visions and old men shall dream dreams. Even upon slaves, both women and men shall prophesy.”

Men and women, young and old, servants of low social status and masters with high status and power, are all valuable in the eyes of God. They all deserve to have dreams and vision. No one will be left out. In God, a God of equals, all human boundaries created by gender, age, race and class should be broken down. In God, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, we are liberated to lead a life that is different from the world values of hierarchy and segregation. The Holy Spirit removes all human barriers and boundaries.

During my sabbatical last year,  I went to Taize France. This was a great spiritual experience. From there I experienced the power and the work of the Holy Spirit that removed many human barriers.

 Taize is an ecumenical community offering a spiritual space for Christians of all background to worship, pray and serve the mission of Christ to bring peace and reconciliation for all. 

In Taize I was staying in a dormitory with some ladies from France and South Korea. The lady from South Korea is a church minister. She commands very little English and no Chinese. For me I can neither speak her language Korean. It was not easy for us to communicate verbally. But we communicated with non-verbal language and we both felt great being with each other.

During my stay in Taize, I met people whose mother tongue is French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Mandarin, German and so on. We were not able to communicate in our own mother language. However, the holy spirit within us has broken the language barrier. We worship and pray together for 8 days. The people who gathered to worship were from different race, nation, nationality, gender, age, and mental ability (there were mentally challenged friends joining the pilgrimage). We shared Holy Communion every day. In the bread and wine that symbolized the body of Christ, we were all united in One Holy Spirit. There are Christians from Catholics, Protestant and Orthodox background. United in Christ through the Holy Spirit, we all overcome many boundaries.

The old testament account today about the Babel Tower. It highlights people scattering because they spoke different languages. In Christ, the Holy Spirit gathers people speaking different languages in unity. The people who built Babel Tower were scattered probably not because they spoke different languages. It was their pride and self centred-ness that divide.  Unlike the disciples of Christ who took risk and left their comfort zone to go to different places to share the gospel, the people from Babel became very inward looking. They just want to keep their stable life and do not walk in God’s way. Their sin is the separation from God. The story of the Babel Tower is a reminder to believers and the church community to walk humbly with God, and to live a life like Christ. Jesus came not to be served but to serve.

Before his passion, Jesus said to his disciples that ‘those who believe in him will do what he does and will do even greater things than him.’ (John 14:12)

Jesus Christ is sent to earth to reveal God’s glory of love and unity. Church is built to witness Christ.

In a world that is full of division, hatred, fear and insecurity, let us who are united by the power of the Holy spirit in Christ break all walls that divide. Let Christ, our unity and liberty restore the world and renew all lives.


Sisters and brothers, let us celebrate Pentecost with the transforming love and power of the Holy Spirit in Christ. Amen. 

# posted by Heddy Ha : Sunday, May 15, 2016

 

“Have faith in God”

A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on Sunday 8 May 2016, the Seventh Sunday after Easter, by Dr. Paul Cheung. The scripture readings that day were Mark 11:20-24.


The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree
20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. 24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Thesis statement
Have faith in God and we will be able to face the obstacles and uncertainties in life.

Script of the Sermon
Introduction
Life is full of happiness, yet we experience failure and disappointment time and again and we feel upset and depressed. In a frustrating situation, can we be all right?

In Proverbs 12:25, it says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”

When unfortunate things happen to us, we may take a negative view to look at our life and ourselves. This attitude makes us feel not all right. On the other hand, we may interpret the unpleasant incidents from an optimistic perspective. So we may remain hopeful and hold a positive attitude, and as a result, we can be all right in difficult situations.

It is not what we experience, but how we respond to our experience that makes us happy or unhappy.

Benefits of being optimistic
Optimistic thinking brings us the energy to live with a happy and positive manner to deal with the problems. Also, research shows that optimism is positively co-related to good health, greater longevity and life satisfaction.

Dimensions of Explanatory Styles
Our thinking patterns determine whether we are optimistic or pessimistic. There are different dimensions to explain our experiences.

Permanence
One dimension is permanence. Encountering a problem or an undesirable incident, we may explain it in a permanent dimension. For example, your boss is not satisfied with your performance in a task. Pessimistic explanatory style explains that your boss probably doesn’t like your performance in the future. Maybe he even doesn’t like you. This is a permanent dimension. A very pessimistic person may think, “I fail this time. I am going to lose my job.” Optimistic explanatory style, however, explains it in another way. “Well, my boss doesn’t like my performance in this task. That is true. But it only concerns this particular task. It doesn’t mean that he won’t be satisfied with my future work performance.” The temporary explanatory style helps us remain optimistic when we are faced with an unpleasant event. Since we remain hopeful about the future, we have the incentive to improve.

Pervasiveness
Another dimension of explanation is pervasiveness, which refers to explaining an unpleasant experience as a universal or an individual case. For instance, Shelly has made every effort to try to pass the examination. Unfortunately, she fails. Pessimistic explanatory style explains that hard work is just a waste of time. Because of this thought, Shelly may be unwilling to work hard again as she thinks hard work is useless. On the other hand, optimistic explanation is that hard work cannot help her pass this exam. That is true, but it doesn’t mean that hard work is not useful for other assessments. Being optimistic, Shelly may continue to work hard. People with hope are more likely to pay effort to improve.

Faith in God
Different patterns of thinking lead to different emotions and behaviors. Facing adversity, optimistic thinking can help us remain positive and keep the motivation to move forward. For Christians, God is the greatest source of our hope. When we are in trouble, we come to God. In 1 Peter 5:7, it says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

Prayer can give us courage and confidence to face the uncertainties. Through prayer, we feel God’s presence and get the strength to handle the problem.

In Mark 11:24, Jesus says to His disciples, “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Jesus’ teaching emphasizes that faith in God is utmost important in our prayer and we have to trust that God will do wondrous things for us. Such great faith is formed based on a very close connection with God. In prayer, our interaction with God lets us understand more and more about God’s will and this understanding guides us to pray according to His will.

Jesus’ prayer is the best example. Jesus knew what He would go through to fulfill the salvation – His mission on earth. On the night when He was betrayed, Lord Jesus was facing the upcoming suffering in agony, He prayed earnestly for the passion. In Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Jesus’ prayer reflects His faith in God – trust God for His almighty power and trust God for His will to do the best for us following God’s plan, God’s way, and God’s timetable.

During American civil war, Abraham Lincoln and his generals were under a great deal of pressure. Seeing no sign of victory and being desperate, one of the generals said to Lincoln, “Mr President, let us pray that God is on our side.” Lincoln said, “No, let us pray that we are on God’s side.”

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

Have faith in God and pray that God will work according to His plan, His way, and His timetable.

Conclusion
I would like to share with you my favourite hymn “Great is Your faithfulness”
The hymn reminds me of God’s blessings. When we are distressed, we are grateful to have “your living presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, these are the blessings your love will provide.”
Great is Your faithfulness. That is the amazing truth – We have faith in God because of His faithfulness.

Life is like hiking on a long mountain trail. We need to climb up the hill and take many steps. We feel tired and sometimes exhausted. Occasionally we get lost, but remain hopeful that we can reach the destination.

Facing challenges and crises, have faith in God and certainly we can be all right.

Prayer
Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

We are grateful for Your dear presence with us in our life journey. We cast all our worries and burdens on You because we know You care for us. In good times and bad times help us have faith in You. May Your will be done on us. We pray in the name of our risen Lord Jesus of Christ. Amen.

# posted by Heddy Ha : Sunday, May 08, 2016

 

“Healing”

A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on Sunday 1 May 2016 by the Rev. Dr. Tjeerd de Boer. The scripture readings that day were John 5:1-9.


John 5: 1 After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3 In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.  5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was the sabbath.

This Gospel reading is about healing, healing on a holy day, somewhere between Easter and Pentecost, about a sign, an indication that Jesus is the one we are waiting for, even if do not know who he is.

Healing, at different levels, in different circles, individual-community-nations healing as of one of the signs by which Jesus makes it very clear who he is – and what his ministry and mission mean.

It is in a place called Bet-zatha, Bethesda (still name of many hospitals): pool of mercy, and it is one of seven signs (in the Gospel of John) by which Jesus shows how comprehensive, how all-inclusive his healing is: by changing water into wine, by cleaning the temple, by curing a sick boy and a lame man, by feeding the multitude, by opening the eyes of one was blind and one who was dead – seven signs of life, of new life.

For many of us, Christians, Jesus’ ministry is the ministry of healing in the first place, indeed – Jesus came and comes to heal.  

A survey among new Christians in mainland China shows that nearly 70%  of them gave healing as motive for conversion, the recovery from illness of oneself or of a family member.
More in general, that is true for most of the first generation Christians in all Asian, African and Latin American (and perhaps other) churches and countries.

The Gospel tells us how Jesus meets with the crowds, with the invalids —blind, lame, and paralyzed people – that is the first circle, of the ones Jesus is coming for, as he testified in his first public sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,  because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor”

Here, he meets with one of them personally.
Very striking, the story of this disabled man, who for already 38 years is waiting for a miracle, waiting to be healed, waiting for someone to heal him, or at least, someone to help him to be healed, 38 years – and still hoping?
Exactly the number of years of the journey of the people of Israel, through desert and wilderness, which took them 38 years – and cost them a whole generation (Deut. 2:14).
So, in fact, Jesus’ encounter with this lifelong lame is a miracle in itself.

And then, Jesus bluntly asks:  “Do you want to be made well?”
It seems to be a rather senseless and unnecessary question, to a person who is, a lifetime long, waiting to be healed.  Of cóurse he wants to be healed.

But the question is and remains to be intriguing, does he really want to be healed, to live with a new perspective, a new life, fundamentally different from the life he used to live, for so many years? Does he realizes what it really means to be healed?

- It is not only as a question to that lonely lame man, it is a question also to us :
do we want to get well, do we want to be healed? Do we want that new perspective? Do we really want to see that what needs to be healed, is healed?
Do we want to change all that has to be changed? Are we willing, are we able, to start a new life, or to start our life anew?

The poor man’s perspective is narrow, limited by his daily routine, he expects his new friend, his unknown benefactor, to help him to go into the pool, without knowing that it is Jesus who asks him the key question
But, Jesus does not bring him to the pool, he heals him right away – without asking further questions or putting conditions - and the man was made well, took up his mat and began to walk –

At this (crucial) moment of change, the Law of Sabbath is broken by both the healer and the healed
Because of tradition, you were not allowed to heal on Sabbath, and you should not take up your mat on Sabbath!

Through those two very short lines, stand up and  walk – and: that day was a Sabbath, the circle becomes wider, wider than the blind, lame, and paralyzed in the pool, as wide as the whole community of believers – of all those who had not seen the need of the invalid, of the poor among them, for so many, many years
-          we get to know Jesus, who heals whenever it is needed and heals whom wants to be healed, if necessary, breaking the Law,

Jesus’ healing goes beyond the Law. Jesus’ message is a sign to the whole community of believers, as the individual change – and healing -  involves all

The message is clear
-          the only authority Jesus respects is the authority of his Father,
-          his mission is God’s mission
-          his question is, with even more emphasis: do you want to get well, do you want to get healed – is also a question to the authorities, whose rules he breaks: do you really want a new perspective, of life?

Jesus’ mission and ministry, Jesus’ healing goes beyond all borders, all kinds of borders, beyond traditions and authorities, beyond pools of mercy, beyond neighborly or friendly help and assistance, beyond our human efforts, how important traditions and authorities may be, how admirable acts of charity and solidarity and how essential human efforts, of course, are !

Jesus’ healing is human and divine at the same time, is very down to earth and effective, is directly related to the sorrows and pains of daily life and is directly to the promises of new life, a new earth, a new city where all and all needs are being taken care of,  and all are healed.

That is the widest circle: the circle which includes áll peoples, áll nations (áll cultures, áll languages), the city where Jesus is Lord (which we celebrate at Ascension Day, this coming Thursday), the community where there is place and food and health and life for all, forever,
>>that is our perspective, perspective of life, néw life
>> therefore this question to all of us: do we really want to be healed, do we really want:

Beauty for brokenness
Hope for despair
Lord, in the suffering

This is our prayer
Bread for the children
Justice, joy, peace
Sunrise to sunset
Your kingdom increase!

With the words of Psalm 67, Psalm of Ascension - which we sang at the beginning of our worship (Laudate Omnes Gentes, Sing Praises, All You Peoples):

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,
That God’s way may be known upon earth, God’s saving power among all nations.
Let us, the peoples, praise God; let all the peoples praise God

Let us all, healed and waiting/wanting to be healed, praise God.  Amen !

# posted by Heddy Ha : Sunday, May 01, 2016

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