二○一八年七月七日／七月八日 Click here for English version
Social Concern: Keeping Going while Strengthening Body and Soul
Rev Wayne Cheung
For believers, social concern and serving the underprivileged are a duty that comes with our faith. They are also real-life situations in which we are shaped and molded by God. Helping the weak and poor, serving the community, social concern education, support for social enterprises, political participation, renewing the culture – exactly how far or wide we get involved in these social concerns differs from individual to individual depending on God’s calling. We are also different in the ways we participate in social concerns. Some consistently and fervently pray for God to watch over the city and its issues. Others offer their sweat and tears, taking concrete actions "to act justly and to love mercy."
Whatever the level of concern or the way we participate, there will be fatigue and faltering in body and soul if we fail to achieve the anticipated result after prolonged efforts. And if injustice persists, social systems collapse and human dignity is trampled upon, there can only be anger and distress. Nevertheless, what the church community must focus on is how to strengthen ourselves at this time and proceed amid the challenging circumstances. If emotional distress is not properly dealt with, it could end up in frustration and despair, even anger and hatred.
Dear Lord, show us how to proceed amid adversity. In this agitated and turbulent era in particular, we need all the more your compassion, illumination and guidance.
Some may think that this city is dying. But since we are born here, we need to learn to pray for its peace. This is God's assignment for us here and now. The only question is whether we still love and care about this land, this city, its people and all that happens here. The church, of course, is a sanctified community different from the rest. We should not forget our objectives for social concern. We need spiritual training in at least two areas.
First, we need to cultivate spiritual courage and insight. In loss of hope or utter despair, we will have wisdom against fear, courage to defend the truth, and not callousness or cowardice. When the world thinks that God is silent amid upheavals of evil, we need to courageously bear witness that God is still in control. In racially segregated South Africa, the then Czechoslovakia under Communist regime, oppressed and poverty-stricken Latin America, God still walked with His suffering children. This is because He is the true light that illuminates darkness.
Secondly, we need perseverance and forbearance. Perseverance provides a mild steadfastness and endurance to sail against the wind. Forbearance gives us the greatest compassion and goodwill towards others including those with dissenting views while not giving way to evil people or desires. In the pursuit of justice, we must not be callous or unrighteous. Nor can we forfeit love and compassion. While our character and deeds display conscience and integrity, we should also let the Holy Spirit fill us, and always be humble and follow the Lord.