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二○一八十年十二月一日/十二月二日                                                                                     Click here for English version

我們都是心靈貧窮的人

周曉暉牧師

我們都是心靈貧窮的人,每天不斷尋找天國的味道。

年初時,我跟隨神學院老師到聖地考察,到了伯利恆,我們就在記念基督降生的小教堂內,大夥兒一起清唱 Angels We Have Heard on High,當時內心湧溢出的感動仍迴盪至今:「Gloria, in excelsis Deo! 榮耀歸最高神!」看,好一個「在地若天」的情景!

就在頌唱的一刻,我彷彿看到昔日天使報訊的美景重現眼前。歌唱的同時,我內心深深感動,體會救恩的偉大和自己的不配。然而,歌唱過後(我要坦白承認),類似的感動就不再常經歷到了。或者這樣說:今天,聖誕的故事好像不再感動我們了。因為,我們都是心靈貧窮的人,很易被海量的娛樂和資訊、美物和美食吸引,以致我們自以為富足,不知不覺間,神兒子降生的大好信息就被輕看了。

「將臨期」是教會傳統中預備信徒迎接耶穌基督降生的一段時期,「將臨」有「來臨」和「到來」的意思。在這期間,信徒除了預備慶祝耶穌降世,更是預備自己去期盼和面對基督在末世第二次的降臨。可惜,我們心靈貧窮,因此不喜歡等待,也不願意作預備。難怪,聖誕節期已逐漸淪為一個普通的節日,在這幾天,大家或會集中精神籌備歡聚的派對,或忙於穿梭各大商店以購買年終減價貨品,或到外地去一趟旅行減壓散心,充其量在平安夜和聖誕日,進進教堂、聽聽唱唱聖詩,感受一刻聖誕的氣氛。

主耶穌說:「心靈貧窮的人有福了!因為天國是他們的。」(太五 3,和合本修訂版)

我們都是心靈貧窮的人,目光易被這花花世界所牽引,心思易被節慶氣氛所充塞。其實,我們心中渴慕的是天國,正因為我們的心靈是貧窮的,主奇妙的救恩故事才能促使我們意識到自己的貧窮,使我們越發渴慕真理。

是以,我認為在將臨期最佳的預備,就是去承認自己的心靈貧窮,有意識地在將臨期刻意操練,去默想神兒子降臨這事,再思為何這是極之重要的福音,好讓幾近枯竭的靈命,再度接受神兒子的活水江河灌溉。

讓福音的好消息喚醒自己紙醉金迷的心靈,在聖誕歌聲響起以前,再度滿心期待主的再來!

Gloria, in excelsis Deo! 榮耀歸與至高神!






Pastor's Sharing
We are All Spiritually Poor
Rev Arnold Chow

We are all poor in spirit, seeking each day a taste of heaven.

Early this year, I was among a group visiting the Holy Land with my teacher in theological seminary. At a small church in Jerusalem built to commemorate the birth of Christ, our group began to sing without accompaniment the carol "Angels we have heard on high." The sensation I felt then was overwhelming. And it lingers to this day with the lyrics: "Gloria, in excelsis Deo! (Glory to God in the highest!)" It was heaven on earth.

While singing, I thought I could see the herald angels bringing good tidings to earth. The song deeply touched my heart. I realized the greatness of salvation as well as my personal unworthiness. I must admit that after that occasion, the intense feeling was not often felt again. Or, shall I put it this way: It seems that today, we are no longer touched by the story of Christmas. The reason is that we are all spiritually poor and easily immersed in the ocean of entertainment, news and information, goodies, and good food. We think we have everything but unknowingly, we no longer attach importance to the good news about the birth of the Son of God.

The Advent, which means "coming" and "arrival," is the liturgical season that precedes Christmas. During this season, in addition to preparations to celebrate Christ’s birth, believers are to prepare themselves in anticipation of and to face the second coming of Christ in the last days. But we the spiritually poor do not like anticipation and are reluctant to prepare. Small wonder that Christmastime has become just another festival. It is when we would probably spend time preparing for parties, shuttling among various stores to catch year-end bargains, or going on a trip for fun and relaxation. The most religious thing we do may be to go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to listen to carols sung as well as to enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas.

The Lord Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).

We are all poor in spirit. Our vision is easily driven by a world of sensual pleasures, our thinking dominated by festive atmosphere. But what our hearts really desire is the heavenly kingdom. And it is exactly through poverty in spirit that the Lord’s wondrous salvation story can help us better realize our personal inadequacies and stimulate a longing for the truth.

As such, I think our best preparation during the Advent is to admit that we are poor in spirit, and to consciously train ourselves. We need to meditate on the descent of the Son of God to earth and rethink why it is immensely important good news. That will help a withering spiritual life regain irrigation from the living waters of Christ.

Let the good news of salvation wake up hearts bent on sensual pleasures. Before the chiming of Christmas bells, let our hearts once again prayerfully anticipate the return of the Lord Jesus Christ!

"Gloria, in excelsis Deo! (Glory to God in the highest!)"