Resurrection and Integral Mission

[“SHARE” APR – JUN 2019 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

Written by: Au Bing Chung (Lecturer at the Christian Ministry Institute)

 

Resurrection is an eschatological idea, and Integral Mission addresses the responsibility and stewardship of Christians living on earth. Although there seems to be no apparent connection between the two, the eschatological view of Christians will affect how they interpret their missions. For instance, if a person believes that the world will be in ultimate destruction at the end days, he will put less effort in constructing a world that will be wiped out eventually. On the other hand, if the believers anticipate a forthcoming new world that is connected to and evolved from the present world, they will somehow attend to the world’s development and conservation.

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Whose neighbor do I want to become?

[“SHARE” JAN – MAR 2019 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

Written by: The Reverend Anders Chan Ming-chuen (Board Member of CEDAR, Associate Senior Pastor of Mongkok Baptist Church)

 

The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is a well-known passage of scripture. An expert in the law asked Jesus to provide an objective definition for the word “neighbour”, but his real intention was to justify his xenophobic point of view – there were people whom he did not have the obligation to love (to him, “neighbour” probably only referred to other Jews). This reflected the sense of national superiority of the expert in the law and his moral values. Even though the Jews did not have their own country at the time, they still prided themselves in being God’s people and discriminated against foreigners.

 

Jesus answered the expert in the law with a parable and reversed his idea that he was the victim in the topic. It is true that Jesus did not really answer the question “Who is my neighbour”, because that was not the point. He made it clear that the subjective emotion of “having mercy” was the essence of the parable – the Samaritan did not segregate the injured man, but did his best to help him because he was injured. Jesus deliberately changed the discourse from having a definition to having a perspective. There are three points about the parable of the Good Samaritan that we should reflect upon:

 

I. Whose neighbour do I want to become?

 

Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” When we see the predicaments of different groups of people around the world, we naturally choose to respond to certain needs according to our unique calling. We must ask ourselves repeatedly, “Who are the people and their needs that motivate us to give more?”

 

What Jesus wanted to correct was that who your neighbours are is not defined by nationalism or geography. He wanted us to ask ourselves, “Whose neighbor can I become?” We should open up ourselves and try to give more to those ministries that move us. If the circumstances of Rohingya refugees move us, we should concentrate on serving them; if we cannot stop thinking about the famine victims in Africa, we should focus on helping them. We cannot and should not impose our definition of a “neighbour” on others. Instead, we should encourage them to find their own neighbours by following their conscience and compassion. A mission can only be sustainable if it comes from the heart.

 

II. Guard our merciful hearts

 

We must constantly reinvigorate our merciful heart, or else we cannot fully understand the suffering of others or summon up the energy and determination to make changes. Living in an age of information explosion, we must not waste the information we receive, but turn any relevant messages about our concerned groups into prayers and bring ourselves closer to these people. If possible, we should go to where our “neighbours” live and serve them, build a relationship with them and face their challenges with them. If we can do this, our hearts will become more compassionate. I was personally involved in the drug addiction rehabilitation programme run by CEDAR’s partner in China and over the course of time, I have established supportive relationships with the staff in local churches and the beneficiaries. This experience of working with my fellow brothers and sisters from another geographical location to serve God has become a memory to cherish. It has given me more specific information about these people’s needs and enabled me to continue to remember them in my prayers.

 

III. Not just money

 

What the Good Samaritan offered the injured man was not just money, but his physical assistance and company. Similarly, to carry out integral mission, we must abandon the idea of “pure donation”. Giving money can be the first step, but it is not all we can do. Jesus told the expert in the law to “Go and do likewise.”

 

May the Lord inspire us all!

 

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Richness in Poverty | David

[ ‘SHARE’ Mar-Apr 2014 -Taking Precaution ] CEDAR’S BLOGGER

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Authro> David Mok

After working in the pharmaceutical industry for almost twenty years; I left my career life in 2010 and went into study in a bible seminary for life transformation. After graduation in 2013, God led me to join CEDAR to learn how to be His faithful servant.

In the past I did not pay much attention to the needs of the poor but through the service in CEDAR, God shows me how He cares so much for those oppressed by poverty. CEDAR’s Chief Executive Dr. Chan Nim Chung often comments that the world of the poor only lacks material goods but is rich in other aspects. This is paradoxical and not easy to understand; until I visited Africa in last November.

In Zimbabwe I met a few students who receive support from CEDAR’s partner. Although they live a very harsh life, they always praise God and the hymns they sing showing their overflowing joy deeply touch my heart. In Ethiopia I visited a mother with her 8-year old daughter; they have only US$0.50 to spend each day and their home is virtually empty. However the little girl has an unforgettable smile always on her face, a smile that is not easily seen even in Hong Kong. These encounters help me to understand more about the Lord Jesus’ comforting words to the church in Smyrna, ‘I know your… poverty (but you are rich)…’ and His warning to the church in Laodicea, ‘…you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor…’ The situations of these two early churches are very different and worthy of consideration by the churches of today.

Almost one quarter of the children in Zimbabwe are AIDS orphans and their local communities have set up Child Protection Committees making up of adults who voluntarily look after the children, giving money, support and love. Their behaviour helps me to understand Jesus’ words to His disciples after His resurrection, ‘As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ Father God sent our Lord Jesus to be the Incarnate Word among us; God is abundant but for us, He is willing to share with us His all.

‘Sharing’ is an expression of God’s love. Our world too much emphasizes on the value of ‘possessing’ and it seems that we will need to go against the mainstream if we are to return to the teaching of the bible. I thank God for helping me to learn from the poor and pray that in future I will work harder to practice the bible’s teaching in life.

David is responsible for CEDAR’s administration and development work. Previously he was in commercial management. He joined CEDAR last August after graduation from bible seminary.

This issue

Some Feelings Expressed | Willis

[ “SHARE” Jul-Aug 2012 – What Has Poverty to Do with Me? ] TAKING ACTION

Author> Willis

Each visit would make me feel confused and embarrassed about my identity as a Christian.

Every time we meet, Old Man A would ignore all my questions and repeat his same old story; Old Man B is a man of few words and we try constantly to start a new topic of conversation; Old Man C keeps on asking about “Scheme $6000”.

Nothing new ever comes out of the visits and our presence seem to cause annoyance. But when we say goodbye, their response is always, ‘Thank you for visiting today.’

These aged ex street-sleepers may have a past that is too painful to recall, or they may have become awkward with conversations because they rarely talk to strangers, yet deep down they yearn for some attention – they cherish even the most trivial chats for they feel loving care from others.

For me, used to living an ever-changing material life, it has not been easy to adjust quickly to or speak kindly to elderly people living in hardship. I may express willingness with my mouth but feel challenged in my heart. Time passes and the once-poor generation of believers has now become more prosperous and the church is becoming middle-class. Thus when a group of well-off Christians like us get together, invisible walls come up which separate us from the world beyond. When the church is happy to stay within the walls, who will look after the lonely and the helpless in the society?

In contrast, Jesus walked with the marginalised and lived among them. Thus the Word became flesh and lived among us. Yet, when we worship and sing ‘Holy! Holy!’ do we understand why Jesus was born, or know what He did while He was in the world?

I fervently hope one day when a street-sleeper comes into our gathering, we will not be offended by him and reject him for what he wears or how he behaves, because whatever we do for one of the least of these brothers, we do for the Lord.

Since mid-2010, CEDAR joined the Salvation Army in a “street-sleepers visit project”, taking note of the street-sleepers’ needs through regular visits. 28 participants are divided into small groups and regularly visit 15 street-sleepers or former street-sleepers. Willis is one of the participants.

TAKING ACTION introduces CEDAR’s education and advocacy activities in Hong Kong; through participants’ sharing encourages believers to take action and practise their faith.