二○二○年七月十八日/十九日                                                                                                Click here for English version






聖經指出,保羅和西拉在獄中禱告、唱詩讚美神(徒十六 25),目的是堅持敬拜。臨終的雅各連跪在地上俯伏也沒有能力,於是便扶著杖頭在床上敬拜(創四十七 31,「敬拜」原文是俯伏,表示雅各無法伏在地上,就伏在杖頭上)。猶太人被擄後無法到聖殿獻祭,於是會堂的敬拜就成了他們的信仰生活模式(特別是散居在各地的猶太人)。這些例子都顯示了因為對敬拜生活的堅持而有的靈活處理。面對猶太人和撒瑪利亞人對敬拜場所的差異,耶穌說:那時你們敬拜父,不在這山(基利心山),也不在耶路撒冷。(約四 21)

然而,這種靈活的適應並非出於人的喜好或鬆散,而是在逆境之中本著崇拜的精義去求存,在限制下竭力尋求最好的安排和應有的質素。在每次崇拜聚會中,我們都當渴慕天上敬拜的遠象:「此後,我觀看,見有許多的人,沒有人能數過來,是從各國、各族、各民、各方來的,站在寶座和羔羊面前……(敬拜)。」(啟七 9)


Pastor's Sharing
Who Shall Separate Us from Worship!
Rev Pun Kin Tong

Over the past few months, many churches in Hong Kong have suspended in-church worship services amid the pandemic. We have not stopped worshiping, however. Believers continued to worship online, either via live streaming or pre-recorded broadcast at a convenient time.

This is a balancing act given the environmental restrictions. It nevertheless underlines the importance of worship and the need for flexibility. It is important because worship itself and the ideal way to worship cannot be easily compromised. Flexibility is needed because we should not give up when the ideal mode of worship becomes impossible.

In a worship service, brothers and sisters gather to hail the glory of God, listen to His word and commit to practicing it. Communication and interaction take place among the congregation such that there are no boundaries or distances in worship. After renovation, we have better acoustic effects in the worship hall in the Main Church and the music of praise blend together in harmony. This is an advantage of on-site worship. However, these are no hard-and-fast rules that would hinder appropriate adjustments under unusual circumstances in order to achieve the original purposes of worship.

Acts 16:25 sees Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God in jail. They insisted on worship. Just before Jacob died, he was too weak to even bow down on the floor, so he worshiped leaning on the top of his staff (Genesis 47:31). In the original language, "worship" means "bow down," showing that Jacob could not bow down on the floor, so he leaned on the top of his staff. The Jews in captivity could not offer sacrifices at the temple, so their worship in the synagogue became the mode of their spiritual life (especially for the Jews scattered in different places). These are examples of flexible arrangements while insisting on worship. Addressing the different views of the Jews and Samaritans on the location for worship, Jesus said a time is coming when believers will worship the Father neither on this mountain (Mount Gerizim) nor in Jerusalem (John 4:21).

Nevertheless, flexibility such as this is neither due to personal preference or laxity. Rather, it sustains faith in accordance with the spirit of worship and seeks the best possible arrangement and quality of worship under given restrictions. In every worship, we look forward to worship in the heavenly kingdom, "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb…" (Revelations 7:9).

Insistence on worship requires more than personal will and desire. It also needs God's power and keeping. It is said in Romans 8:35-39: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution…? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, …nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."