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Home本期文章「彰天國篇」-- Relearning the Basics

【RESTART (Ctrl + Alt + Del)】「彰天國篇」-- Relearning the Basics


Wayne 1


Having a kindergartener and a preschooler at home, as parents, one of the most often asked questions in our house for this past year has got to be: "Did you wash your hands?" Coming home after school, "did you wash your hands?" Knowing they just come out from the washroom after using the facilities, "did you wash your hands?" "It's dinner time... did you wash your hands?"

Hand washing is one of the many things we have paid a lot more attention to this year in 2020. It has become part of the new normal that we are all still growing accustomed to day by day, along with wearing masks, air hugs, WFH (work from home) and Zoom meetings. As we gaze back on the year that passed[1], there were many significant headliners aside from the Coronavirus. Although the wonderful news that dolphins returning to the Venice canal was a hoax, nor did any elephants got drunk on corn wine and crashed a tea garden, the economic slowdown brought about by the pandemic did reduced pollution worldwide that the Punjabis could see the Himalaya, and Hongkongers can see from Central across the Victoria Harbour to Avenue of Stars against a clear blue sky.

Nevertheless, 2020 was a year of loss. With a death toll of 1.57 million people worldwide at the time of writing this article, we all know someone who died too soon because of the Coronavirus. I, too, lost a close family member in Toronto from this virus. 2020 was a year overshadowed by loss, disorientation, and chaos. We lost many heroes[2]: Chadwick Boseman, Kobe Bryant, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Edwin Hui, Irrfan Khan, John Lewis, J.I. Packer. We learned to comprehend insecurity, frustration, loneliness, despair. We continue to fight for ideologies including democracy, equality, dignity. We seem to have succumbed to injustice, systemic racism, social distancing. Above all, we look eagerly towards the things that give us hope: iPhone 12, CERB, and toilet paper. Undeniably, the year 2020 has turned normality upside-down. We have learned to bake sourdough bread, and to cut our own hair. We discovered the flexibility of working from home and the convenience of Doordash. We mastered the scholar's mate after watching Beth Harmon plays. We respond to the uncertainties of everyday life with: "This is the way."

Wayne 2Life in the midst of a pandemic challenges us to the core of our existence. We ask the hardest question of all: What does it mean to be human? What makes us human? What is the one trait that differentiates us from animals? Is it as in the Genesis account God breathed into Adam the breath of life that ultimately makes us human?

As the recently resurfaced quotation from anthropologist Margaret Mead said,

" the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts."[3]

Contrary to our belief in natural selection and the mechanics in "survival of the fittest", the very fabric that differentiates us from animals is our capacity to give, to share, to be selfless. Only when we reflect the nature of our creator in our outpouring of selves to others, that we are most human. Henri Nouwen echoes this when he said, "What makes us human is not our mind but our heart, not our ability to think but our ability to love." Instinctively we know this! We salute the everyday heroes in each of our communities. We honour the front-line workers who selflessly put their own lives at risk in helping others. They are the ones who exemplify our humanness in these critically dangerous times.

We, as Christian, are the salt and light of the world (Matt 5:13). We are to amplify life when all things seem futile; we are to give hope when the rest of the world only sees darkness. When social distancing and self-quarantine reshape the normality of our society, we have to redefine our understanding of community to continue to shine light in the darkness. We ought to rethink our approach to ministry to continue to demonstrate love and care towards those in need. We must relearn our basic connections as human beings to embody the Gospel in our own lives. In the wise words of Eugene Peterson,

"Love cannot exist in isolation: away from others, love bloats into pride. Grace cannot be received privately: cut off from others it is perverted into greed. Hope cannot develop in solitude: separated from the community, it goes to seed in the form of fantasies." (Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder, p.43)

None of us imagined we all needed to relearn "how to properly wash our hands", but the year 2020 has proved to us otherwise. None of us imagined all that is needed to bring the worldwide economy to a halt is something invisible to the naked eye, but this virus has proved to us otherwise. If there is any take away from 2020 as this year nears its closing, I believe it is a loud reminder that we are but mere fragile humans. For a lot of us, the arrival of the vaccine seems to be the light at the end of this dark tunnel, especially when Canada has secured 76 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer, and Dr. Bonnie Henry hinted at a more sociable summer. If so, the vaccine is the true deus ex machina and should be named "Obi-wan" as that seems to be our last hope. Moreover, if we believe returning to normalcy means operating as we were in the pre-COVID era, then we have not learned anything and 2020 was a waste. God has already pressed the pause button in our busy lives. If we do not take the opportunity to rethink, relearn, and reimagine from our old ways of living, the next time God intervenes so heavily might not be as pleasant as 2020. As such, I am convinced it is divine planning that VCCSTM launches our English ministry, Engage Beyond, in 2020–a year when we rethink, relearn, and reimagine missions. I am excited with anticipation to witness what God has planned, to participate and journey with our Lord in these unsettling but grace-abound times.

[1] Google, Year in Search 2020


[2] CNN, People we’ve lost in 2020

[3] Ira Byock. The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Throught the End of Life. New York: Avery. 2012.

(Pastor Wayne Kwok, English Ministry Pastor / VCCSTMTC)


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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