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「另一個心志」講道系列

另一個心志(A Different Spirit)

「沒有任何時候,比現在更需要我們在自己的城巿──香港,活出基督徒的生命。」

我當青少年牧者的時候,曾帶一班香港的孩子,到附近一個亞洲城巿的貧民窟短宣。在原定的籃球比賽和外展服侍之前,我們先去探望了一位住在這座巨大垃圾山旁邊的老翁。他在這裡已經住了十五年,他的眼睛也因為環境的煙霧污染而患上白內障,因而失明。我很同情這位老人,但他看不見我們任何一個人。而我也知道孩子們很想快點到籃球場展開我們原定的外展計劃,所以我們為這老翁和他太太作簡單的禱告。

我們動身離開時,一位十四歲的女孩Bonnie拍拍我的手臂說:「Andrew,我相信神想醫治這個男人。」這是令每位青年牧者感到最緊張的時刻:一個年輕女孩相信神可以醫治一位失明的人,但你卻知道這神蹟不會發生。然而,我又怎能說不呢?這只會顯得非常虛偽。我不太情願地匆匆叫孩子們回到房裡,讓Bonnie為這位失明老翁禱告。

Bonnie作了一個很簡單的禱告。神奇的事情卻發生了──就像水撥把車的前窗抹乾淨一般,忽然間這男人的眼睛變得清澈起來,白內障消失了。他開始歡呼尖叫起來,因為他的眼睛看見了。他的太太也尖叫起來,因為她不能相信眼前所看到的一切。這班年輕人亦尖叫起來,因為他們被這對老夫妻的尖叫嚇著了。我也開始大叫起來,因為我發現我們剛剛見證了一個神蹟。

我也很希望可以邀功,但不,這完全是神親自回應這個來自香港的十四歲女孩的信心,回應了她那不一樣的心志。那天早上Bonnie帶著一個與別不同的心志出發,也帶著她那單純的信心,這單純的信心卻是我所沒有的。Bonnie另有一個心志,使一切都變得不一樣。

沒有任何時候,比現在更需要我們在香港活出基督徒的生命。這個地方正面臨著一個歷史時刻,而我們正站在福音使命的轉捩點上。我們的城巿裡裡外外完全被翻轉過來,而我們若要清晰地抓住香港人這個身份,路還很遠,也充滿未知。我們猶豫不決,步步為營。身邊的人受了傷,感到困惑,心裡恐懼。我們迫切需要另一個心志。

目前的情況,對香港教會提出了很重要的詰問。往後我們能成為一把勇敢而團結的聲音,言說盼望、信心和我們的身份嗎?還是我們只會乏力地隱藏起來,沉浸在自己的個人關注和自我保護之中?教會會站起來堅持信念,還是寧可退縮淡出?我們會否只想著妥協,讓福音變得微小,僅僅讓光照在教會四道牆之內,並熄滅我們在公共領域那勇敢作先知的光?

你也許還記得摩西曾打發十二個探子過約旦河,進到應許之地,看看那地如何(民十三至十四章)。神已拯救他們脫離埃及作奴僕的生活,也神蹟地領他們過紅海,將他們帶到這個新家園旁邊──這是流奶與蜜之地,是他們世世代代可安居之處。於是,十二個探子進到迦南地窺探,然後回來向摩西回報。他們十二個人都一致同意那是美地,甚至帶來一掛葡萄作為證據,葡萄大得要兩個人用槓抬著。那地就正如神所應許的一樣。但有一個壞消息:那裡的人身量高大,比他們強壯,城也很堅固。其中十個探子感到沮喪,說:「我們不能上去攻擊那民,恐怕我們還未進城,就已經敗北。」(參民十三31)

這跟我們如今在香港的感覺相似嗎?有許多身量高大的巨人環繞著我們,而我們也遇見重重困阻。這些巨人是本地的,也有全球性的:那沒完沒了的疫症、不斷轉換的政權、日新月異的經濟挑戰、道德敗壞的領袖、道德和文化的混亂、無法理性討論的極端意見、對某些人的封殺等。面對著這樣的「巨人」,我們要怎樣前進?又能怎樣抓緊盼望?

大多數人對應許之地的回報令人絕望,但這時另外兩個探子也發言了──約書亞和迦勒有另一種看法。他們提醒以色列人,既有神與他們同在,那就會有希望。雖然迦南人身量高大,但上帝會幫助以色列人戰勝。他們從另一個角度來看面前的應許之地。他們以信心說話,提醒眾人神有怎樣的性情和哪些的應許。他們雖也看見身量高大的人,但更能看見無所不能的神。他們仰望神,勸諭以色列人繼續前行。神也看見他們的信心,說他們「另有一個心志」(民十四24)。

如今,上帝能看見我們內心「另有一個心志」嗎?這另一個心志不關乎我們的能力,只關乎上帝的能力;不是要反映我們的品性,而是要反映上帝那極大的美善和愛。這心志不關乎我們是否做得完美,而是關乎上帝那堅定的定旨;不要求我們剛強,只需我們在神的大能裡安息。這不關乎我們的聰明,而是全然源於上帝奇妙的智慧。

耶穌釘死在十字架上,並不只是為了拯救我們的靈魂,而是要建立一個新的社群,就是神的國。耶穌說,神臨在我們的世界就有如麵酵藏在三斗麵裡(太十三章)。最初這麵酵既細小,亦毫不起眼,但按時就會使全團都發起來。這酵母帶著「另一個心志」,能改變它所接觸到的一切。當耶穌進入我們的生命,與我們建立關係,我們就是新造的人。教會在社會裡,應該成為先鋒,具影響力、創意和吸引力──因為我們所傳揚的,是與別不同的好消息,是別處前所未見的。基督教信仰之所以有力、無畏,是因為我們與基督的關係使我們成為麵團中的麵酵,黑暗中的光,山上的城。

這就是現今香港教會所應該要成為的樣子。面對未知,我們可以憑信心前進嗎?面對恐懼,我們可以克服嗎?面對壓迫,我們可以靠著主的智慧和能力,解開綑鎖嗎?這才是天國的行事模式。我們站在香港歷史的轉捩點之上,我們要帶著天國的好信息向前行,不能退縮。我們要向人展示另一種的生活方式。我們帶著另一個心志,要向這個疲乏不堪的世界宣告神的美善。就像多年前的Bonnie那樣──面對這複雜的時代,我們是否抱持著單純的信心?我們預備好了嗎?

「另一個心志」講道系列文章)

英文原文:

A Different Spirit

“There has never been a more important time to be a Christian in our city of Hong Kong than right now.”

When I was a youth pastor I led a bunch of kids from Hong Kong on a mission trip to visit a desperately poor slum in a nearby Asian city. Before meeting up for a game of basketball and outreach we visited an old man who lived on the edge of a massive garbage dump. His eyes were blinded by cataracts that had formed over his eyes from the smoke and pollution where he had lived for the past 15 years. I felt compassion for this old man. But he couldn’t see any of us. And I knew my kids were eager to get to the basketball court for our planned outreach. We prayed a brief prayer for the old man and his wife.

As we started to leave, Bonnie, a 14-year-old girl touched my arm and said, “Andrew, I believe God wants to heal this man.” It was a moment every youth pastor dreads. A young girl believes God is going to heal a blind man, but you know it’s not going to happen. But how could I say no? I would be a total hypocrite. Very reluctantly and quickly I ushered the kids back in the room so Bonnie could pray for this old blind man.

Bonnie said a very simple prayer. But then something totally amazing happened. It was like windshield wipers wiping a dirty window clean. Suddenly the man’s eyes became clear. The cataracts disappeared. He began screaming with joy as light flooded into his eyes. His wife began screaming because she couldn’t believe what was happening. The youth began screaming because they were frightened by the screams of the old couple. And I began to scream because I realised we had just witnessed a miracle.

I wish I could claim credit. But no, it was God responding to the faith—and to the different spirit—of a 14-year-old girl from Hong Kong. That morning Bonnie brought a different spirit, and a simple faith that I lacked. Bonnie’s different spirit changed everything.

There has never been a more important time to be a Christian in Hong Kong. We are at an inflection point for the gospel in the history of this land. Our city has been turned upside down and inside out. We are still a long way from finding steady feet and a clear identity as Hong Kong people. We are unsure, cautious, and tentative. People are hurting, confused, and scared. We are desperately in need of a different spirit.

All of this raises some important questions for the church of Hong Kong. Will we become a bold and central voice of hope, faith, and identity in the years ahead, or will we feebly shrink into the shadows of our own self-concerns and self-preservation? Will the church stand up and stand out, or shrink back and fade out? Will we settle for a ‘small gospel’ that keeps the lights on in our church buildings, but extinguishes our bold and prophetic light in the public square?

You may remember the twelve spies Moses sends across the Jordan River into the Promised Land to discover what lies in store for the people of God (Numbers 13, 14). God has delivered them from their slavery in Egypt, brought them miraculously across the Red Sea, and brought them to the very edge of their new home—a land flowing with milk and honey, a good place that will be theirs for generations. So the twelve men go in, spy out the land, and return to Moses with a report. All 12 agree that the land is wonderful. As proof they bring a bunch of grapes so large that it has to be carried by two men on a pole. The land is just like God promised. But the report has a catch - the people who live there are giants, and their cities are fortified and overwhelming powerful. Ten of the returning spies give a depressing account: “We can never conquer this land,” they say, “We are defeated even before we can enter.”

Is that how we feel at this moment in Hong Kong? There are a lot of giants around us right now, and we overwhelmed with the obstacles. These giants are both local and global: an unending pandemic, shifting political powers, economic challenges, moral failures in leadership, ethical and cultural upheaval, extreme opinions over reasoned fact, cancel culture etc. In the face of these giants, how can we move forward? How can we hold on to hope?

In the hopelessness of the majority report about the Promised Land, two of the spies speak up. Joshua and Caleb offer a different report. They remind Israel that since God is with them there is still hope. In spite of giants, God will help them overcome. They offer an alternative view, a different way of seeing the land before them. They speak in faith, and remind people of God’s character and promises. Instead of giant people they see a giant God. They lift their eyes upward, and call Israel to move forward. God sees their faith and declares they have a different spirit (Numbers 14:24).

Does God see this different spirit in us at this time? This different spirit is not dependent on our ability, but on God’s power. It is not a reflection of our moral character, but of God’s incredible goodness and love. It does not depend on our perfection, but on God’s unwavering purpose. This different spirit does not require us to be strong, but to rest in God’s strength. It does not grow out of our intelligence, but flows from God’s marvelous wisdom.

Jesus died on the cross, not just to save our souls but to create a new society, the kingdom of God. This presence of God in our world, Jesus said, is like a small bit of yeast planted in a large clump of dough (Matt 13). Small and insignificant in the beginning, in time it changes the whole lump. That leaven carries a “different spirit” that changes everything it touches. When Jesus invades our lives and relationships a new humanity is born. The church is meant to be the most pioneering, influential, creative and attractive force in society—because we offer something completely different, something not seen anywhere else. The powerful audacity of the Christian faith is that through our relationship with Christ we become yeast in the dough, light in the darkness. We become a city on a hill.

This is what the church of Hong Kong now must be. Where there is uncertainty, can we move in faith? Where there is fear, can we overcome? Where there is oppression, can we by God’s wisdom and power, break chains? This has always been the way of the Kingdom. At this inflection point in Hong Kong’s history, we must not retreat but move forward with the good news of the Kingdom. We must make vivid this alternative way of life. With a different spirit we may reveal the goodness of the character of God to a tired and weary world. Like Bonnie all those years ago - do we have a simple faith for complex times? Are we ready?

作者為The Vine主任牧師。


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