When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see many there whom I did not expect to see. The second wonder will be to miss many people who I did expect to see. And the third and the greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there. John Newton (1725-1807)
-- 寂寞神學 陳中潔 --
（摘自1976年 1257期 教會公報）
John 14: 1-9 Seeing God "看上帝" Oct. 2011
In this morning scripture reading, the disciples raised two questions. For Thomas, Jesus answered one of the most known answers in the Bible, “耶穌說, 我就是道路, 真理,生命. 若不藉著我, 沒有人能到父那裡去. Jesus said unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” To Philip Jesus said, “腓力、我與你們同在這樣長久, 你還不認識我麼? 人看見了我, 就是看見了父. 你怎麼說, 將父顯給我們看呢?” “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how said thou then, Show us the Father?”
Earlier this year, my wife and I took a quick trip to Austria to visit two cities, Salzburg and Vienna. Why not? Austria has been a country known for her richness in music and culture. While wandering on the streets of Salzburg one day, we entered a gift shop to see if there were any handy gifts to bring home. Within a few minutes, my wife whispered to me that she over heard some Taiwanese spoken. I told her that she could have been day dreaming, due to the time zone effect. Who in the world would speak Taiwanese half way around the world where I could not even get a straight answer in English from a information desk.
Just when I said that, I saw an oriental lady stood by a cashier machine. So I went over and ask her, “May I ask where you come from originally?” “Taiwan,” she answered. I looked at my wife with a nod and continued the conversation, “Do you speak Taiwanese?”
“Of course!” she answered with a big smile. That was all it took. So we continued our shopping and conversation. Soon we found out that she and her husband were from Kaohsiung city where my national ID card was established decades ago. We also found out that they were both Christians involving in weekly Chinese Bible study class every Monday evening, and they found out that I was a retired minister.
We ended up having dinner at their home, followed by an informal Bible study and general discussion on the subjects of the spiritual growth, the Church, denominations and so on. By the time they drove us back to Hotel, it was past midnight.
We were really surprised to receive a phone call the next morning from them. Mr. and Mrs. Lu insisted that they would drive us to the train station for a trip to Vienna since the station was under heavy constructions with detour instructions in German language everywhere. And we were so grateful and touched to have their helping hands, or we would’ve easily gotten lost not knowing the language.
Where there is love, there is God – we found that out there and then. We have emailed back and forth with them the next few weeks and found out too that they had experienced very busy days since we left. They said they had never been so busy during that time of the year, “Must have been nice to show hospitality to strangers, especially one of them is a minister.”
Four Taiwanese in a city of Salzburg where Mozart was born, together, we saw God.
What Jesus said to Philip was simply saying that seeing Jesus meant seeing God the Father. The way Jesus carried the sick, the outcasts, the lost sheep and His cross… we see the Way, the Truth and the Life. And we see God as well.______________________________________________________
* Come and See "來看" John 1: 43-48 Oct 4, 2011
Now who wants to see Jesus? What is there to see?
Philip was the one who liked to see things for himself. And he also liked to invite his friend to do the same.
In today’s world, people like visual effects. Power point presentations are everywhere. More than once I was asked by the church officials to provide the power points of my sermon before my arrival. My excuses are like, “I'd like to keep my sermons open for the interventions of the Holy Spirit…”
Now that Nathanael went with Philip to see Jesus even though he did not expect anything exciting coming out from Jesus of Nazareth. To his surprise, Nathanael was seen by Jesus before he saw Him. Also to his surprise, not only Jesus saw him, knew him but loved him deeply. What they saw was the caring eyes of Jesus, the love beyond description, and the life that they had always secretly longed for.
I once was a guest speaker at a church near
Once we got there, what I saw was an old and moderate home. There were spots needed to be fixed, paints to be done, and a garage door could not come down completely. They invited us in and joined them for a brief thanksgiving service. After the service, they kneeled down on the floor hand in hand smiling. The rest of us joined them kneeling down as well. Right there and then I could actually see some insects running around under the old floor.
Do you know what I really saw then? What I really saw was the love marks all over that old home. I saw the love between the couple, their love of the nature and the love of God through their smiles and thanksgiving. After a short prayer, they embraced. I noticed then that I was not the only one with the teary eyes.
Come and see Jesus of Nazareth, where you'll see and experience the love of God.
Come and see for yourself.
Come and see for yourself.
* Prayers 祈禱 Luke 18: 9-14 Sep 27, 2011
There is always a tendency that one thinks he or she is an excellent prayer by comparison. So, what are we thinking? Do we really think that God pays more attention to our use of words, grammar, and Biblical/theological understanding level than what we are saying from the bottom of our hearts?
Here is another perspective: One of the last things a Christian should do is to speak of how great his/her achievements are. Even though one did have an outstanding achievement in the past month or the last ten years, it should rather be viewed as a gift from God. One has not earned it. One is given. The congregations won’t pay much attention one way or the other when preachers praise themselves instead of praising God. Besides, the church/temple is a house of the Lord for prayers, not a political platform.
This is exactly the problem of some religious and self-justified people who entered the temple looking down the others and promoting themselves above everybody else. Not so with that tax collector who knew his role and his shortcomings.
“Know thyself,” someone once said.
The religious and self-justified guy got nothing when he exited the temple, because he asked nothing from the Lord. He probably thought he got the whole world in his hands.
The tax collector asked for forgiveness. He got it.
The good news is always meant for the humble, honest and simple minded people. Amen.
* Hello and Good bye Matt 12: 43-45 Sep 20, 2011
One goes to an institution with different attitude:
1. Closed minded – never willing to open for new ideas or messages or friends or love. After years of ‘education’ one comes out pretty much the same as he went in years ago. Education. What education?
2. Empty minded – Takes in whatever comes without much choice. It might end up with enough garbage and nothing constructive really taking place. Degree. What degree?
3. Open minded – One has to say good-bye to the old, childish stuffs and say hello (make room) for the new, mature, meaningful, creative and loving ideas from the classrooms, chapel, library, coffee/tea time and a few talks under the tree on campus.
The scripture we read this morning gives us an example of the terrible results when one says good-bye to the bad spirits without receiving something new and better.
It is your mind, your spirit and your body that you invested here.
It is your life after all. Be careful. Good luck.
And remember: God be with you, always.