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【維我祂 • 繫吾爾】一位牧者對世界亂局的反思

 

最近我從新聞中得悉北京通過的國安法及其對香港市民的深遠影響。在新的法例下,一些年青人遭到拘捕,當中有些被捕者年僅十五歲。我留意到很多從香港移民到加拿大居住的好朋友,都因此而感到十分悲傷,並懇請世界各國關注他們所愛之地的困境。他們呼籲各位重視香港市民的生命和自由;因為他們曾被承諾享有多年的高度自治。我甚至看到不少基督教領袖談論並支持示威者。我也聽到其他基督徒主張順服掌權者,並指責示威帶來暴動和混亂。看來教會也像香港市民一樣,因著如何回應北京日益加強的控制而分裂成藍黃兩派。這令我不禁想到自己,身為一名基督徒和牧者應該如何消化我聽到的所有事情。

在北美,我們同時趕上了另一輪的示威浪潮。 美國黑人和加拿大原住民起來、走上街頭, 讓人們注意到他們在幾個世紀的種族歧視下所遭受的痛苦和折磨。 全世界數百萬人和他們一起湧上街頭。 雖然許多公開帶有歧視的種族主義法律已經修改,但美國人和加拿大人的態度卻很難改善。 種族歧視的方式一直在演變和進化。在美國,從前是奴役黑人,現在變成大規模地監禁黑人。美國和加拿大的法律並非公平地執行;在這兩個國家,深膚色的人更容易被挑出來接受警察檢查、更容易受到警察暴力的對待、更容易被判處更嚴厲的監禁。如果你瀏覽社交媒體,你一定聽過「黑人的命也是命」、「原住民的命也是命」、「削減警費」。在這兩個國家,有不少與種族歧視有關的雕像和紀念碑被移除。校名、商標、一些品牌的種族主義圖像、運動隊伍等,皆受到壓力而需要更改。似乎另一輪的社會改革浪潮正在美國和加拿大進行。

作爲一名曾經移民這兩個國家的基督徒和牧師,雖然這和我自己的種族文化並無直接關聯,但我應該怎樣應對和回應這些緊張的社會關係呢 ?

容讓我和大家分享神是怎樣幫助我處理這些困難的社會和政治的緊張關係。你知道嗎?在聖經中, 神不遺餘力的告訴我們祂的屬性,祂想我們知道祂是怎樣的一位神。你也許已經讀過詩篇103篇 8節:「耶和華有憐憫 ,有恩典 ,不輕易發怒 ,並且有豐盛的慈愛。」(新譯本)。我們甚喜愛神不按我們的罪對待我們,對嗎? 當我們犯罪時,基督徒喜歡頌揚神對我們有忍耐和恩典。你讀過這些神的話語嗎?耶利米書9章24節:「誇口的卻要因了解我,認識我而誇口;認識我是耶和華,我在地上施行慈愛、公正、公義;因為我喜悅這些事。這是耶和華的宣告。」(新譯本)。

在神學院中,我開始留意到 神經常被形容為一位喜愛公正和公義的神。舊約和新約都是這樣形容神。我學到這兩個詞是很重要的,因爲這是關乎神自己的見證。公義,代表著為了追求正確關係而有的正直之舉。公正,代表著不論是從屬神的審判和屬神的憐憫去看,都是正確的判斷。這就是我們敬拜的神。這就是那呼召摩西去對抗埃及法老的神。容我的百姓去。這就是那呼召眾先知去對抗邪惡君王和虛假宗教領袖的神。他們說:「平安了!平安了!其實沒有平安。」(耶利米書6:14)

我從聖經讀到神經常介入人類的事情。神在那些遭受虐待和不被看見的人中行事。當夏甲和以實瑪利被亞伯拉罕和撒拉虐待並差點死亡時,神找到了他們。當一名有罪的女人用自己的頭髮去抹耶穌的腳而被公開羞辱之時, 耶穌保護她。這就是神所行公義和公正的事。神也在受苦的人群中行事。神參與政治的事。祂介入埃及的奴隸中,亦在以斯帖記中保護以色列人免受種族滅絕之害。神照顧所有希臘和希伯來人的寡婦。神讓使徒保羅譴責哥林多教會,因為他們不讓窮人參與聖餐。神要建立一個有猶太人和外邦人的教會。神關心社會公義。

因此,儘管我們了解現實世界政治問題的混亂,基督徒必須尋找機會在世界上彰顯神的公正和公義。如果我們把福音缩减到只是試圖說服人去接受基督進入他們的心,那麼我們就會大大錯過了神的屬性和心腸。「世人哪,耶和華已指示你何為善。他向你所要的是甚麼呢?只要你行公義,好憐憫,存謙卑的心,與你的神同行。」(彌迦書6:8)

這是否意味著香港的基督徒必須為黃絲,並用雨傘抗議?這是否意味著我們必須參加 「黑人的命也是命」 運動,並與原著民一起抗議加拿大的輸油管道?那聲稱受到虐待和歧視的團體又怎麼樣?我們是否應該與那些爭取同志權利和終結生命權利的人一起遊行?對於任何一代神的子民來說,表達神對正義與公義的心從來都不是一件容易的事。學習辨別如何將神的教導和其屬性應用於世界仍然是一件困難和複雜的事情。並非所有抗議運動都符合神的心意和屬性。但是,如果我們認真回應耶穌要求跟隨祂的人,都要愛鄰舍的呼召,我們就要進入世界的混亂之中。正如G. K Chesterton 曾經編寫:「你不能為你所愛的事物而不為它而爭戰」。

最後,請容許我提供一直引導我身為基督徒和牧師一些實際的做法。

1. 學會聆聽受迫害者的吶喊:不要只看新聞,要聽他們的故事,想辦法了解受苦的人。查找播客,聽訪問,結識與你不同的人。

2. 以開放的態度閱讀意見:廣泛閱讀並找出你不認同的觀點。學習權衡你所信的新聞。

3. 在群體中識別:不要試圖獨自面對這些難題。尋找其他基督徒並騰出空間與他們進行不容易,甚至是艱深的對話。與他們一起禱告並識別神的心意。

4. 不要害怕與你不同的人團結一致:你不用認同所有在香港或加拿大街頭抗議的人。你無必要這樣做。神可以使用來自不同信仰和背景的人,他們擁有不同的信仰,以對抗共同的不公正和迫害 。

5. 學懂自理:與不公正爭戰是痛苦和疲累的。花些時間休息,在神裡面重新得著力量和創造力。

我對馬丁路德金博士的話感到振奮「道德世界的弧線很長,但它趨向正義」。神啊!願你的國降臨,願你的旨意行在地上如同行在天上!

 



A Pastor's Reflection on the Messiness of the World

 

Rev Joshua Koh

So I've been reading the news and I've learned about this new security law passed in Beijing that has far reaching impacts on residents of HK. Already people as young as 15 years old caught and being arrested in HK under this new law. I have noticed many of my good friends from HK living here in Canada expressing deep grief, asking the world to care about the plight of their beloved city. They are asking people to value the lives and freedom of those in a city who were promised that freedom of governance for many more years. I have even seen Christian leaders reflecting on and expressing their support for those who protest. And I've also heard the opinions of other Christians who argue for submission to the government, who point fingers at the rioting and chaos caused by protests. It seems the church is just as divided between blue and yellow as the citizenry of HK about how to respond to Beijing's growing control over the territory and I am left wondering how to process everything I've been hearing as a Christian and as a pastor.

Here in North America we are caught up in another wave of protests. Black Americans and Indigenous Canadians are rising up and spilling into the streets to draw attention to their pain and suffering endured under centuries of racism. Millions across the world have joined them in the streets. Even though many openly racist laws have been changed the attitudes of Americans and Canadians are harder to reform. Racism has evolved. In the US the enslavement of Black lives now comes in the form of mass incarceration. American & Canadian laws are being unevenly applied and people of darker skin in both countries are more likely to be singled out for police checks, subject to police brutality, and more likely to receive harsher prison sentences. So, if you have any presence on social media you've likely heard the phrases Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Matter. Defund the Police. Statues and monuments in both countries are being removed. Names of schools, mascots, racist images on certain brand names, sport teams are under pressure to be changed. It seems another wave of social reform is underway in Canada and the United States. As a Christian and a pastor who immigrated to both countries, how am I to engage the social tensions that seem to not directly involve my race?

I'd like to share with you how God is helping me process all of these difficult social and political tensions. Did you know in the Bible that God goes to great length to tell us about his character? He wants us to know the kind of God He is. Perhaps you have read these words in Psalm 103 verse 8, "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love" (NIV). Don't we just love God for being someone who does not treat us as our sins deserve? Christians love to celebrate God for being patient and gracious with us when we sin. Have you read these words about God? Jeremiah 9:24. "'but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord."

In seminary I began to notice how often God is described as someone who values justice and righteousness. God is talked about this way in both the Old and New Testament. I have learned these two words are a significant part of God's core testimony about Himself. Righteousness, right actions motivated by a desire for right relationships. Justice, right judgments seen in both divine retribution but also divine mercy. This is the God we worship. This is the God who calls Moses to confront Pharaoh in Egypt. Let my people go. This is the God who calls prophets to confront evil kings and false religious leaders. They say "peace, peace when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14).

What I read in the Bible is that God gets involved in the affairs of human beings. God acts on behalf of those who are mistreated and unseen. He found Hagar and Ishmael when they were mistreated by Abraham and Sarah and near death. Jesus protects the sinful woman who was publicly shamed for anointing his feet with her hair. This is God's righteousness and justice at work. God also acts on behalf of people groups who suffer. God gets political. He intervenes on behalf of slaves in Egypt, he protects Israelites from genocide in the book of Esther. God cares for all widows, Grecian and Hebrew. God stirs up the Apostle Paul to rebuke the Corinthian church for their practice of leaving the poor out of their communion meal celebrations. God demands a church that includes both Jews and Gentiles. God cares about social justice.

So, however we understand the messy geo-political realities of our world, Christians must look for opportunities to express in the world God's passion for justice and righteousness. If we only reduce the sharing of the gospel to attempts to persuade individuals to accept Christ into their hearts, we miss out on a big part of God's character and heart. "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

Does that mean Christians must be yellow in HK and stand in protest with umbrellas? Does that mean we must sign up for the Black Lives Matter movement and protest alongside Indigenous people against Canadian pipelines? How about any group that claims mistreatment and discrimination? Should we march with those fighting for queer rights and the right to end one's life? Expressing God's heart for justice and righteousness has never been easy for any generation of God's people. Learning to discern how to apply God's counsel and character in the world remains a difficult and messy task. Not all protest movements align with God's heart and character. But if we will take seriously Jesus' call for his followers to love our neighbour it means we will have to enter into the messiness of the world. As G. K Chesterton once wrote, "You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it".

In closing allow me to suggest some helpful practices that have guided me as a Christian and as a pastor.

1. Learn to hear the cry of the oppressed. Don't just read the news, listen to their stories and find ways to get to know people who are suffering. Find a podcast, listen to interviews, meet people who are different from you.

2. Read opinions with an open mind. Read widely and find opinions you disagree with. Learn to weigh the news you trust.

3. Discern in community. Don't try to engage these difficult subjects on your own. Find other Christians and make space to have tough conversations. Pray and discern God's heart together.

4. Don't be afraid to act in solidarity with people that are different from you. You will not agree with everyone protesting in HK or on the streets of Canada. You don't have to. God can use people from different faiths and backgrounds who hold differing beliefs to fight against a common injustice and oppression.

5. Finally, learn self care. Fighting injustice is painful and exhausting. Take time to rest and allow God to recharge your strength and creativity.

I take heart in these words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice". God may your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

 

喜樂 Joy

喜樂的心乃是良藥;憂傷的靈使骨枯乾。箴言 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

然而,我要因耶和華歡欣,因救我的 神喜樂。哈巴谷書 3:18
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:18

要常常喜樂,不住的禱告,凡事謝恩。帖撒羅尼迦前書 5:16-17
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

饒恕 Forgiveness

主啊,你本為良善,樂意饒恕人,有豐盛的慈愛賜給凡求告你的人。詩篇 86:5
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5

你不要說:“我要以惡報惡”;要等候耶和華,他必拯救你。箴言 20:22
Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. Proverbs 6:14

你們饒恕人的過犯,你們的天父也必饒恕你們的過犯;馬太福音 6:14
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

你們不饒恕人的過犯,你們的天父也必不饒恕你們的過犯。馬太福音 6:15
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15

你們各人若不從心裡饒恕你的弟兄,我天父也要這樣待你們了。馬太福音 18:35
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart. Matthew 18:35

謙卑 Humility

敬畏耶和華是智慧的訓誨;尊榮以前,必有謙卑。箴言 15:33
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33

敬畏耶和華心存謙卑,就得富有、尊榮、生命為賞賜。箴言 22:4
Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

凡事不可結黨,不可貪圖虛浮的榮耀;只要存心謙卑,各人看別人比自己強。腓立比書 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

但他賜更多的恩典,所以經上說:神阻擋驕傲的人,賜恩給謙卑的人。雅各書 4:6
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6

驕傲 Pride

驕傲來,羞恥也來;謙遜人卻有智慧。箴言 11:2
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

驕傲只啟爭競;聽勸言的,卻有智慧。箴言 13:10
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Proverbs 13:10

驕傲在敗壞以先;狂心在跌倒之前。箴言 16:18
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

但他賜更多的恩典,所以經上說:神阻擋驕傲的人,賜恩給謙卑的人。雅各書 4:6
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6

忍耐 Patience

愚妄人怒氣全發;智慧人忍氣含怒。箴言 29:11
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11

並且你們要為我的名,被眾人恨惡,惟有忍耐到底的,必然得救。馬可福音 13:13
Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Mark 13:13

不但如此,就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的。因為知道患難生忍耐。羅馬書 5:3
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance. Romans 5:3

我們行善,不可喪志;若不灰心,到了時候就要收成加拉太書 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

你們也當忍耐,堅固你們的心,因為主來的日子近了。雅各書 5:8
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. James 5:8

溫柔 Meekness

回答柔和,使怒消退;言語暴戾,觸動怒氣。箴言 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

溫柔的人有福了,因為他們必承受地土。馬太福音 5:5
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

用溫柔勸戒那抵擋的人;或者 神給他們悔改的心,可以明白真道。提摩太後書 2:25
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 2:25

只要以裡面存著長久溫柔、安靜的心為妝飾;這在 神面前是極寶貴的。彼得前書 3:4
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:4

嫉妒 Envy

不要為作惡的心懷不平,也不要向那行不義的生出嫉妒。詩篇 37:1
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong. Psalm 37:1

心中安靜是肉體的生命;嫉妒是骨中的朽爛。箴言 14:30
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

在何處有嫉妒、紛爭,就在何處有擾亂和各樣的壞事。雅各書 3:16
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16

生氣 Anger

當止住怒氣,離棄忿怒;不要心懷不平,以致作惡。詩篇 37:8
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. Psalm 37:8

好生氣的人,不可與他結交;暴怒的人,不可與他來往。箴言 22:24
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered. Proverbs 22:24

愚妄人怒氣全發;智慧人忍氣含怒。箴言 29:11
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11

生氣卻不要犯罪.不可含怒到日落。以弗所書 4:26
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26

我親愛的弟兄們,這是你們所知道的,但你們各人要快快的聽,慢慢的說,慢慢的動怒,因為人的怒氣並不成就 神的義。雅各書 1:19,20
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19,20

災難 Calamity

謹守口與舌的、就保守自己免受災難。箴言 21:23
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. Proverbs 21:23

民要攻打民、國要攻打國、多處必有地震、饑荒.這都是災難的起頭。馬可福音 13:8
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. Mark 13:8

憂愁 Worry

你們不要憂愁、因靠耶和華而得的喜樂是你們的力量。尼希米記 8:10
Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

主雖使人憂愁, 還要照他諸般的慈愛發憐憫。耶利米哀歌 3:32
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. Lamentations 3:32

凡勞苦擔重擔的人,可以到我這裡來,我就使你們得安息。馬太福音 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

我留下平安給你們、我將我的平安賜給你們.我所賜的、不像世人所賜的.你們心裏不要憂愁、也不要膽怯。約翰福音 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

應當一無掛慮,只要凡事藉著禱告、祈求和感謝,將你們所要的告訴神。神所賜出人意外的平安,必在基督耶穌裡,保守你們的心懷意念。腓立比書 4:6,7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7

因此, 你們是大有喜樂, 但如今, 在百般的試煉中暫時憂愁。彼得前書 1:6
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1:6

患難 Trouble, Suffering

義人多有苦難,但耶和華救他脫離這一切。詩篇 34:19
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:19

神是我們的避難所,是我們的力量,是我們在患難中隨時的幫助!詩篇 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

耶和華本為善,在患難的日子為人的保障,並且認得那些投靠他的人。那鴻書 1:7
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7

為義受逼迫的人有福了,因為天國是他們的。馬太福音 5:10
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

不但如此,就是在患難中,也是歡歡喜喜的。因為知道患難生忍耐。羅馬書 5:3
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; Romans 5:3

我想現在的苦楚,若比將來要顯於我們的榮耀,就不足介意了。羅馬書 8:18
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

因為你們蒙恩,不但得以信服基督,並要為他受苦。腓立比書 1:29
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. Philippians 1:29

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