Day 4 #listen #聆聽 Wednesday November 30
‘On the cross, exposed and vulnerable, Jesus draws the whole world in a loving embrace. Everything hangs, everyone is held here. Jesus holds the people of Charlestown and Ferguson and Baltimore and all around the globe. Jesus listens to the grieving and grappling, the terrorized and troubled, the frightened and crying. Jesus listens to all the heartache, all the questions. On the cross Jesus bears the weight, the weight of the world, holding us all in his wounded hands’.
Photo taken at 國立臺灣美術館 Taichung Art Museum
Day 3 #renew #更新 Tuesday November 29
‘Christ is all in all. He is here symbolically in a stone altar. He is here sacramentally in bread and wine. He is here spiritually in hearts lifted up and returned to us renewed, transformed, consecrated’.
Advent Sunday 2016 at Advent Church, St. John’s University, Taiwan!
Day 2 #love #愛 Monday November 28
‘Falling in love is one of the most profoundly spiritual experiences a person can have. By falling in love we discover our capacity for selflessness. We experience what it means to entrust ourselves, our souls and bodies, to another. When we fall in love as God does, we too will ultimately “stretch out [our] arms of love on the hard wood of the cross,” just as Jesus did’.
Photo taken at the Juming Museum a few weeks ago….
Today is Advent Sunday! The first day of Advent Word 2016, a project supported by the Anglican Communion.
Day 1: ‘shine’ 光輝 Sunday November 27
‘Rather than experiencing the sorrows of our world as a source of desolation, hear the news as a clarion call, as motivation and clarification for what we are to be about as followers of Jesus Christ: to bear the beams of God’s love and light and life, especially to those who wouldn’t otherwise know it’.
Meet Little Shine, the beloved grandson of Jerry and Jean, devoted church members of St. James’ Church, Taichung, where Jerry is one of the leaders of the English Congregation. Jerry has also kindly translated all the Advent Word meditations into Mandarin Chinese. Little Shine’s Chinese name is 益宣, Yi-Xuan, and as ‘xuan’ ‘宣’ (meaning ‘to declare or proclaim’) sounds a little like ‘shine’, so he is known as Little Shine, and his shining face and sparkling eyes bring great delight to us all!
Day 26: #receive #領受 Thursday December 24, Christmas Eve
‘It doesn’t matter that our lives, or our families or world are not perfect. What matters is that we make a space, no matter how small, for God in our hearts. When we do that, God will do the rest, and Christ will once more be born in the Bethlehem of our lives and the mangers of our hearts’.
Today, the photo and the Advent Word meditation above match perfectly! This was taken last night as we went with our students from the St. John’s University Student Fellowship around the dormitories and university campus sharing the good news of Christmas.
Our last stop was at Ms. Lu’s house, just next to the university ~ here she is lighting the Advent wreath. Ms. Lu is very much loved by us all. She worked for many years here on the cleaning team of the university staff, with special responsibility for Advent Church, giving up much of her free time to help with church events, and always on hand for whatever might need doing. She was baptized at Advent Church, and continues to be the only Christian in her family ~ and is always giving thanks to God for his goodness. There are some spare rooms in her home which she rents out to 3 of our students in the SJU Student Fellowship, who report how well-cared they all are, with a constant supply of breakfasts and goodies and always many words of encouragement. A year or two ago her husband fell ill, and she took early retirement from her job to care for him, which she’s still doing. They’ve just returned home after her husband spent 7 weeks in hospital. Last night she welcomed us all to her home, to light the Advent wreath, sing some carols, pray for her and her husband ~ and finally she gave us all tea eggs which she’d prepared herself, plus cans of soda and cookies to take home.
Truly the salt of the earth!
The remaining photos of the evening are here:
Wishing you all deep peace and great joy this Christmas Time!
Day 25: #reflect #反映 Wednesday December 23
‘Mary has much to teach us. Mary’s experience gives us the message that all is sacred, all creation is redeemed, all is a reflection of the glory of God’.
Advent Church reflected in the windows of the new Advent Church Center this morning!
Day 24: #pray #祈禱 Tuesday December 23
‘Anyone who prays struggles with self-censorship. One of the best pieces of spiritual advice I ever received was to pray for anything that I desired, even if that desire seemed sinful – to begin integrating prayer with life as we actually experience it, rather than as we might wish it to be’.
Busy busy busy today at SJU Chaplaincy 聖約翰科技大學校牧室!
900 Christmas cookies in 6 different flavours, 2 each for 360 SJU faculty & staff, 150 for Advent Church, all wrapped in ribbon with these Christmas greetings: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests’. (Luke 2:14) ~ #pray4us #pray4all
Merry Christmas everyone!