A sermon preached at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Sunday 14 February by Revd Harry Ching.
May the words of my month and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, 奉聖父聖子聖靈的名(in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) Amen
I would like to use this opportunity to wish you a happy new year of the OX.
祝福大家新年快樂, 牛年身體健康, 龍馬精神!
Ox is the only animal that overlaps between the Gospel symbols and the Chinese Zodiac signs. It will take some permutation and combination for some clever school children or adults to work out when will we have the year of the OX, Year C (Luke), once in 36 years? 12?
The Assyrian Church of the East “Jingjiao”景教 – commonly known as the Nestorian
The word “Chinese people” in the Chinese language literally writes- 中國人 “people of the Middle Kingdom”, centre of the World, the concept began to take shape in the city of Xi’an. A stele recorded a form of Eastern Christianity first reached the Silk Road terminal – Xian 西安, or Chang-An 長安, literally means the city of perpetual peace, the ancient capital of many Chinese dynasties, Han and Tang. 漢唐盛勢、比美羅馬拜占庭時代。
Two golden ages of Han and Tang roughly overlapped with the Roman Empire and the byzantine, Han- the name still in use to refer to our ethnicity today, the other dynasty – Tang, our cuisine, literature and architecture. The richness of the Tang Dynasty culture could reach to today’s Japan Kyoto known for its art and beauty much of this architecture was duplicate from the Tang dynasty. The Enthronement of the Japanese Emperor in 2019, inherited much of Tang Court ritual, no longer found in today’s China or recent dynasties. Delegations were sent to Chang-An to study literature and its richness of the Dynasty. 2019年日皇登亦有唐朝色彩。
TaiZhong (唐太宗)of the Tang dynasty was amongst the greatest of Emperors opens its doors to the world, ChangAn, was like London/ Paris or New York, where the world met. To this day we could still witness its past glory, it is a place of welcome.
A Nestorian or Assyrian Church of the East monk, Alopen, first reached china in 7th century during Taizhong’s reign; Christianity was respected and tolerated, and at times embraced in the First half of the Tang dynasty. 景教七世紀來華, 深受君主愛護。
Sadly, this form of Eastern Christianity and amongst Buddhism, fell victim to the purges the end of the Tang dynasties when monarchs were unable to honour the same level of openness or acceptance. Religious leaders were expelled and temples were sacked. 可惜因唐朝後期去佛運動、景教惜微。
In today’s Old Testament and Gospel look towards discipleship and proclamation
Often Chinese Christians would face the dilemma of sharing Ash Wednesday/Lent and Chinese New Year, it could be quite tricky sometimes that when one went to the Ash Wednesday Service then followed by a big feast with relatives of all faiths. 作為華人基督徒很多時候都有機會四昔期跟農暦新年相沖。
Dana – member of our virtual Chinese congregation based in Taipei, gave us a very thorough history of the Christian missionaries in Taiwan and its influence towards society in the past 300 years. They managed to integrate the local culture very well and understood the diversity of culture that won the hearts of many. 過去有傳教仕欠本色化, 剛剛有姊姊跟我們分享臺灣佈道者本色化的遺產, 他們沒有令大家失望.
When able to embrace the indigenous culture also part of God’s creation. I believe the God that we believe is infinite, beyond language and culture able to contain all cultures and its beauty. Christ was inclusive to the rejected and destitute. He met them where they are. 我們相信的上帝包容性是很大的正如耶穌基督的福音工作.
The reason why James, John and Peter brought up to the mountains with because they will probably be too busy thinking and doing everything else as disciples one the ground rather than seeing the face of Jesus, Transfiguration, the glory of God. 約翰雅各彼得被帶到山上能見證上主的容光。
As this is the last weekend before lent both past two Sundays we covered the concept of light. Jesus is the light of the world we continue to proclaim him.
This week the gospel reading of the transfiguration witness by Peter James and John on the mountain with Moses and Elijah. With its location being on the mountain it was understood to be closer to heaven. I hope in this new Lent in 2021（like no other) that we will spend more time at home reflecting on our discipleship it will consider more on what we might be able to do to ourselves the self-contemplation and a reflection what we may be able to do when society resume to a level that we are able to interact with others closer as it is in the past for us to journey, like Elijah like Paul, Encouraging many others to transform the lives of others. To take brave steps to proclaim the risen Lord as the light of the world shining through darkness.
Referring back to the glorious Chinese dynasty under Emperor TaiZhong. There was one famous folktale dated in this period called ‘Journey to the West’ 西遊記, recording a Buddhist monk’s bravery to go to the further West (India) to obtain the sacred scriptures to bring back to the Emperor’s court to enhance the Kingdom’s understanding on the Buddhist faith. At times that we may fail but we must keep trying and learning objective new lent. And we also draw comparison to the animal of this year- like the ox the animal labouring hard, and coming runners in this animal race of the folk legends.
May we persevere in our discipleship and continue in our proclamation to be a place of welcome in the Year of the OX.