《明⽩上帝的旨意、做個智慧⼈! Understand God’s Will and Be Wise》

你們要謹慎⾏事,不要像愚昧⼈,當像智慧⼈。要愛惜光陰,因為現今的世代邪惡。不要作糊塗⼈,要明⽩主的旨意如何! ~以弗所書5:15~17

以弗所書是保羅寫給在以弗所的眾教會的勵勉書信,保羅期待上帝的⼦⺠在⽣活中能走在上帝的⼤計劃裡,這計劃就是能『照著上帝所安排的,在時機成熟時,使天上、地上、⼀切所有的,都在基督裡合⼀』。這也是每⼀個基督徒在世上⽣活所要努⼒的⽅向和成就,⽽合⼀,是因為基督的愛,也靠著基督的愛。我們每⼀個⼈都不同,有相似也有差異,要能合⼀不是因為臭氣相投,⽽是因著在主裡合⼀。這也是佳恩教會⽬前的寫照,也在2021年中表露無疑,因為我們合⼀不是因為相同,⽽是因為基督。

以教會⽽⾔,佳恩聯合教會的差異是相當⼤,成員年齡的差異很⼤、⽂化背景的差異很⼤,語⾔的差異很⼤,對信仰禮拜的認知差異更⼤。這許許多多的差異加起來,似乎很難找到⼀個共通交集的地⽅,惟⼀有的,就只有「基督的愛」了。因為我們是⼀群差異很⼤,卻在差異中願意委⾝、彼此接納來跟隨基督的,且願意讓基督的愛來改變我們,好讓我們能彼此接納。就好像教會中的長輩⼀直在不斷地提醒,『要看上帝⽽不是看⼈』,『惟有專注看耶穌,才能讓我們能⼀同走下去』。因為這個世界是分裂的,魔⿁不要我們在主裡合⼀,好把我們各個擊破,但神的美意是善的,要讓我們在這破碎的世代能扺擋惡者的攻擊,依然能站立的住。

對於在溫哥華的我們,2021年是⼀個非常挑戰的⼀年,除了世界性疫情影響⽽封城,改變了許多原有的⽣活習慣之外,暑假的攝⽒50度的⾼溫也破了記錄,⽽森林⼤火造成的空氣、道路封閉的影響也是空前絕後。⽽11⽉份的BC省⼤洪⽔⼜再⼀次造成了交通、經濟和⼈⺠⽣計的損失,所有對外道路包括鐵路和油管都中斷了,讓溫哥華成了⼀座對外斷連的「孤島」。再接下來,12⽉份的⼤雪和低溫也破了記錄,讓氣候適合宜居、原本的避寒勝地再⼀次跌落神壇。如果再加上物價⾼漲、經濟衝擊的話,2021年真的是非常剌激的⼀年。

然⽽,神卻也在這當中顯明了祂的愛,讓我們佳恩聯合教會沒有因為環境⽽落敗,反⽽因在這特別的環境中更顯得上帝恩典的寶貴。我們更加珍惜彼此,也更樂意彼此扶持。我們看到弟兄姊妹在⼈⽣病的軟弱中,彼此扶持,我們也看到在年底教會的義賣中,彼此服事。

我們都是智慧⼈,因為我們在世界與上帝中做了選擇,我們更是有福氣的⼈,因為我們選擇在「愛中合⼀」來代替「彼此競爭」,我們也明⽩上帝的旨意是好的、是善的,更在邪惡世代中,愛惜光陰、珍惜彼此的合⼀,詩篇103:5 『祂⽤美物使你所願的得以知⾜,以致你如鷹返老還童。』,願我們為過去的⽇⼦獻上感謝,更在將來的⽇⼦,求主帶領前⾏。


Ephesians is Paul’s letter of encouragement to the church of Ephesus. Paul expects God’s followers to live in His plan, “as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth,” which is what every Christian is working towards and strives to live in this world. Unity is where Jesus’ love is and is what we rely on. We are all different, and we unite not for being evil but in the body of Christ. Unity defines the Amazing Grace United Church. In 2021, it showed that we joined not because we’re all the same but because of Jesus.

The difference among members of the Amazing Grace United Church is very prominent. We vary in age, cultural background, language and perception towards worship. It isn’t easy to find a place where we meet in common with the accumulation of contrasts. But there is one, and it is Jesus’ love. Despite the significant distinctions, we’re willing to commit and accept each other to follow Christ, and we are eager to let the love of Christ change us for more acceptance. It’s like the senior members in the church are constantly reminding us, “It depends on God, not the people”, “Only by focusing on Jesus can we go on together”. Because this world is divided, demons try to break us apart by disunity. But we can resist the attack of the evil in this broken world and stand strong thanks to God’s kindness and goodwill.

2021 for us in Vancouver was very challenging. Besides lockdowns due to the pandemic that had changed our lives, BC had broken the record of the hottest temperature in summer, which caused wildfires and air pollution and road closure that was unprecedented. In November, the floods had crippled the traffic flow in and out of Vancouver, which severely damaged the streets and lives of the affected areas and the local and national economy, leaving Vancouver a helpless island. Visited by a rare winter storm in December, Vancouver was hit by heavy snows and a record-smashing low temperature, falling off its reputation of mild weather and the best place to live. Not to mention the price jumps and economic recession, 2021 was indeed an exciting year.

However, God also revealed His love in all those challenges. The Amazing Grace United Church did not fail due to the difficult times but thrived in the grace of God. We cherish and are more willing to support everyone. We have seen our brothers and sisters taking care of each other amid illness and weakness and helping each other out during the charity sale at the end of the year.

We are all wise, for we’ve chosen God over the world. We are also fortunate because we selected to replace “competing with one another” with “unity in love”. We understand that the will of the Lord is kindness and cherish each other’s company in unity even in the age of evil. Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:5) We are thankful for the days in the past, and in the days to come, may the Lord lead us forward.