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二○一八年七月七日/七月八日                                                                                                Click here for English version

毋忘社關情 堅固身心靈

張穎新牧師

關心社會和服事弱勢群體,是信仰賦予我們的應盡本分,而教會信徒所關懷的社會和弱勢社群,亦是上帝塑造我們生命的現實場景。至於社關的參與範疇——扶助貧病、社區服事、關社教育、社企支援、政治參與、文化更新——人人皆不同,但定必以上帝對每個信徒的召命為依歸。而社關的參與形式,亦因人而異,有人不住祈禱守望,為守護我城付上膝頭的功夫;有人則踏實擺上血汗和淚水,以具體行動落實「行公義、好憐憫」的信仰情懷。

無論是那個層面的關心,那種形式的參與,若是經過長期付出而效果「不似預期」,換來的必是身心俱疲、步履維艱的感受。當社會形勢盡是不公不義、制度分崩離析、人性尊嚴遭受踐踏,試問誰不消沉?誰不忿怒?然而,教會群體極需正視的,卻是怎樣在如此時刻固本培元,繼續逆流而上。社關踐行者的情緒鬱結若不好好處理,輕則會氣餒失望,重則會使心靈受到憤世之怨蠶食。

上主啊,求祢指示我們怎樣在困境中前行?尤其在這躁動和紛擾的年代,我們更需要祢的憐憫、光照與引導。

坊間有論者認為「this city is dying」,但是我們既然生於此世,就要學習為這城求平安,承擔上帝此時此地的託付。問題的徵結是我們對這片土地、這個城市,以及當中的人與事,是否仍然有情、仍然在意。教會既是一個分別為聖的另類社群,我們就更要不忘社關初心,實踐至少兩方面的靈性操練。

首先,我們要培養屬靈的勇氣洞見。在失望甚至絕望的氛圍中,我們要有智慧應對恐懼,也要有勇氣捍衛真理,拒絕冷漠和犬儒。在眾人誤以為上帝看著罪惡昭彰而沉默不語時,我們要勇敢地見證祂仍是運籌千里。試看種族隔離下的南非、共產政權下的捷克、貧窮和受壓迫的拉丁美洲,上帝不是與祂受苦的兒女同在同行嗎?祂是那照耀在黑暗裡的真光。

其次,我們要堅忍寬容。所謂堅忍,是帶著柔韌的剛毅和能耐迎難而上,而寬容則是叫我們對他人(那怕是意見對立的人)寄予最大的同情和善意,而不被惡人惡念惡意所勝。在追求公義的同時,我們不能無情無義,捨棄仁愛和惻隱之心。我們的行事為人既要展現人性的良知與氣節,同時也要讓聖靈充滿,常存謙卑,跟隨恩主腳蹤。






Pastor's Sharing
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.