We Chinese say “the gray bids farewell to the dark” when a youth dies before his or her parents. This is exceptionally sad for the bereaved, for naturally the old pass away before the young. To make the matter worse, such deaths are often associated with acute illnesses or accidents, contributing to the grief of those who remain.
So what if a father or mother, knowingly sends their child to die in a gruesome and terrible way, for someone who does not even know or recognize them, so that this somebody may live? It’s probably beyond the comprehension of most, if not all, of us.
And this is the way God has chosen, for His Son to be born into this world, die on the cross, ex-communicated from Himself, so that someone, that is, you and me, the wandering souls, may live.
The hymn I Cannot Tell tries to describe the strangeness of this love:
I cannot tell why He, whom angels worship,
Should set His love upon the sons of men,
Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wand’rers,
To bring them back, they know not how or when.
And as the prophet Isaiah said:
All of us are like sheep. We have wandered away from God.
All of us have turned to our own way.
And the Lord has placed on his servant
the sins of all of us.
May we be constantly reminded of the Love of God. Since, to be at Peace with the earth, with the creatures, with our neighbours, and with ourselves, cannot be fully attained unless we are at Peace with God, who created the world, and all that is in it.
So let us meditate on John’s words once again, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
Adapted from the transcript of my Reflections on Peace on RTHK Radio 4 in 2016.
May the Peace of God
the Prince of Peace
be with you
pacify your heart
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Have you ever been asked, “what is your biggest regret in life?”, or, “if you’re given a chance to make another choice in one thing in your life, what would it be?”
Some would say that their biggest regret was not showing and expressing love towards their loved ones who had already left them when they were still alive. Some others would say that they wouldn’t have done or said something that deeply hurt their parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends or colleagues.
What would be yours?
The Ecumenical Unity Service of 2020 was held on Jan-21 in Kowloon Union Church. This year the theme was “They Showed Us Unusual Kindness” based on the story of St. Paul’s perilous sea journey as told in Acts 27-28. The materials were prepared by an ecumenical working group of churches in Malta and Gozo.
The cab was entering the roundabout, I pointed at a nearby spot and signalled the driver to stop there. I clumsily got off the taxi with my camera and bag and he thanked me for the little tip. “Ma’a salama,” I bade farewell to him with my broken Arabic as he began to drive away.
Those were the last words in our short time together.
Those were also probably the last words between us in this life. What’s the chance of us meeting again? A traveller from thousands of miles away, and a taxi driver among the thousands of men of the same trade in Amman.
I started walking to the church to meet Pastor Hanna Massad. It was 2011.
Never has there been a rope long enough to slow down the sun,
Water flows, clouds pass, endless lamentations.
When I try to buy the sea from the goddess,
All that remains is a cup of spring dew cool as ice.
– Li Shangyin, “Visiting the Mountain”
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
— Matthew 5:9
Photostory (24 photos)
I’m willing to give up everything for an end to the occupation, which causes such a blight on this land that it’s impossible for me to feel holiness where there are deep injustices taking place.
— Aaron Rotenberg
Photostory (24 photos)
In Luke chapter 10, the author tells the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a lawyer tried to test Jesus. First, he asked Him what should he do to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ answer, according to Luke, was “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
But the lawyer did not stop there and pressed on, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus then told the now renowned parable, in which a Samaritan came to be the lifesaver of a traveller who was robbed and beaten to half dead.