Tag Archives: Advent

Advent Word Global Advent Calendar

Day 9: #be #存在 Monday December 7

‘Contentment is more about being than about doing, or acquiring, or mastering, or craving, or searching. Contentment is about being satisfied given the limitations of our present life’.

知足與其說是一種作為、養成、主控、渴求、或探究,不如說是一種存在。

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And now for the verb ‘to be’ ~ ‘I am, you are, he /she is, we are, they are, everyone is, all are’… here at ‪‎TanShirt‬ Workshop English Class, outreach of ‪‎Advent Church‬…

Day 10: #surprise #驚訝 Tuesday December 8

‘This season of Advent invites us to look and listen for Jesus. Look and listen for the unexpected’.

降臨節期,我們受邀同來注視耶穌、聆聽耶穌。且讓我們真的看見和聽到,那超乎預期的人、事、物!

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Taken outside the National Theater, Taipei!

Day 11: #ask #要求 Wednesday December 9

‘Waiting is a time to prepare the way of the Lord. It is a time to look at our feet, to see where we are, and to be present there. It is a time to examine our lives: to ask ourselves what we want, what we hope for, what we may need to let go of, and to take it to God in prayer’.

等候,是為了預備主的道路。這是審視自己的腳步,明白此刻身在何處的一段時間。在這段時間,我們自我檢查,問自己想要什麼、盼望什麼,又得捨棄什麼,然後藉由禱告,將這一切交託於上帝之手。

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Photo taken a few weeks ago in Matsu Islands…

Advent Word, Day 7 ‘believe’

Day 7: #believe #相信 Saturday December 5

‘Mary was the first to believe in her son, and in that sense was the first Christian. And in believing, she said yes to God. “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word.” So we are called to believe and trust in God’s promises, and to say yes, when he calls us’.

馬利亞起先就相信兒子耶穌,她可說是第一個基督徒。憑著信心,她欣然對神說:「我是主的使女,情願照你的話成就在我身上!」上帝也呼召我們來相信祂的應允;聽見祂的呼召,我們也要欣然回應,說:「是!」

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譚媽媽 & 鄭媽媽, Tan Mama and Cheng Mama, 2 wonderful ladies who long ago said YES to God, and continue to say YES to Him every day!

I took this photo last night at an Advent celebration and gathering for Advent Church ~ these 2 ladies are just so lovely!

Advent Word Global Advent Calendar 2015!

Advent Word is a really great Global Advent Calendar project!  I love it!

It’s run by the Anglican Communion and the brothers of The Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), based in Boston, USA.  The brothers write a daily meditation on an Advent theme – with a photo – which they post to social media, and we respond with an image of our own and the hashtag #AdventWord plus the hashtag for the appropriate theme for the day…. it works best on Instagram, and shared to Facebook, partly because the Instagram filters are so good, and make the photos look really special!

This project was launched last year in Advent 2014, and I loved it!  Now this year, the Diocese of Taiwan has been helping out a bit, and our good friend at St. James’ Church, Taichung, Jerry Liang has kindly translated all the daily meditations into Mandarin Chinese, and these are now posted on the Advent Word website each day along with other languages too ~ check it all out here!

My humble contributions so far (without the Instagram filters of course!), as follows:

Day 1: #Wake Up #覺醒 Advent Sunday, November 29

‘Look clearly and honestly at your life – and take action. Now. For now is the time to waken out of sleep. That is the watchman’s trumpet call – the clarion call of Advent. Now is the time for you – a choice to be made, a decision to be taken’.

應誠實看待自己的生命;把它看清楚,並且採取行動。現在就是你我應該覺醒的時候,那守護者的號角,降臨節的清澈喇叭聲,已經響起。就在這一刻,你(我)必須下定決心,做出抉擇。

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Above photo taken in the park opposite St. Peter’s Church, Chiayi last weekend!

Day 2: #Proclaim #宣告 Monday November 30

‘John boldly asserts that Christ—the very Word of God–is the light and life of all people. In our personal lives, seeing truth, speaking truth as best we can, is essential to the dawn of light and life’.

施洗約翰勇敢地宣告,基督是上帝的道,世人的生命之光。在你我一生中,誰能「眼見真理、口說真道」,那人就能點燃生命之光,好比破曉晨曦帶來光明一般.

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Above photo also taken in the park opposite St. Peter’s Church, Chiayi last weekend!

Day 3: #Give #給予 Tuesday December 1

‘What is your treasure, what is it you value most and feel you have to have to live? Maybe it is money, maybe it is time, maybe it is knowledge, maybe it is love that needs to be squandered on those who have none, who lack hope and need help. Are you being challenged at this time to give all that you have?’

你的財寶是什麼?什麼是你最看重,深感生活中不可或缺的東西?是金錢?時間?或是知識?愛心?也許應當將你某些最愛,分給那些兩手空空,希望渺茫,亟需幫助的人。此刻,你是否接受挑戰,將你所有,濟助他人?

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Mrs. Grace Chien 簡師母 lights the first Advent Candle at St.Peter’s Church, ‪Chiayi‬‬ on ‪Advent Sunday‬ 2015. She and Bishop John C.T. Chien 簡啟聰主教 [1940-2013] have given their whole lives in faithful Christian service. An amazing witness! ‪Thanks be to God‬!

Day 4: #Forgive #寬恕 Wednesday December 2

‘This is the promise of God: not that he will make life simpler but that God will save us, and salve us and heal us and forgive us from all that is broken and diseased in us’.

寬恕是神的應許,其意義,不在於簡化生命,讓生命變得異常容易;而是要我們真心領會,即使身陷全然破碎的困境,我們仍有上帝的拯救、醫治、和寬恕。

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God forgive us for our obsession with convenience and ‘instantness’, help us this ‪‎Advent‬ to patiently wait for your coming….

Day 5: #Repent #悔改 Thursday December 3

‘In Advent, we are called to more clearly engage the subject of God’s judgment; we are challenged to realize that we have sinned and are in need of God’s forgiveness. God’s judgment is his love and his truth. If we would hook into God’s love, we must walk through the door of repentance and forgiveness’.

降臨節期間,上帝呼召我們更清楚祂公義審判的課題;祂要我們理解,人犯了罪,需要祂的寬恕。上帝的審判,換言之,就是祂的愛和真理。若要真正抓住上帝的愛,我們必須穿過「悔改與寬恕」之門。

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Above photo was taken at the chapel at the diocesan office in Taipei ~ the wood carving was done by Bishop Lai himself!

Day 6: #Worship #崇拜 Friday December 4

‘In this season, we not only contemplate, but we worship the One who came, but who is still here. The One who is to come, but who is here already. Time present, time past, time future—three layers of time, bound magically together, bound so deliciously together in the vision of Christ’.

這段期間,我們除了努力思索,更要用心崇拜,那「早已來臨,當下猶在;既已臨在,還會再來」的主。時光的三個層面—-現在、過去、未來,在基督的異象中,神奇地綁在一塊兒,美妙地結合在一起。

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Above photo taken at St. John’s University Library on our Advent Walkabout on Tuesday!

Do join up and take part if you can – it’s very meaningful and of course great fun!

Advent @ St. John’s University 2015 降臨節期點燭禮!

Every Advent off we set!  Off around St. John’s University – to every main office in the whole university – to share with all the faculty and staff the joy of Advent!  Every office has an Advent wreath, and our team from the chaplaincy and church, led by our chaplain Rev. Lennon Chang – and accompanied by a few students – walk around them all once a week throughout Advent. We light the appropriate candle(s), say prayers and readings, maybe sing a song, and finish by wishing everyone ‘Peace’.

Yesterday was our first ‘walkabout’ of Advent 2015 and special for yesterday were prayers by name for every single member of the faculty and staff in each office and department. Quite something! Actually, yesterday most of the directors of each office were out of their offices in a big meeting, so students were on duty.  But we still went.  2 hours in the morning, another 2 hours in the afternoon, and we finished by visiting SJU President Chen in her office to share the joy of Advent and pray for her and her staff.

Oh yes, and we had a group photo at the end of the morning session on the bridge between 2 of the buildings, in front of the wall mural of the Digital Arts Department!

All very meaningful and moving.  May God hear our prayers and bless all the faculty, staff and students of St. John’s University this Advent!

Advent Sunday @ 台灣聖公會嘉義聖彼得堂 St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Chiayi

Advent Sunday is always special ~ at last the excitement of Christmas coming can officially start ~ YES!

And Advent at St. Peter’s Church, Chiayi this year is extra-special because they’ve just finished a major overhaul of the church building.  A big renovation project and big challenge for the vicar, Rev. Simon Tsou Tsai-Shin 鄒才新牧師 and all the church members ~ but thankfully it’s all finished (apart from paying the bills!) and in 2 weeks time, Bishop Lai is leading a dedication for the newly-finished building.

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St. Peter’s Church building was originally not a church at all, but part of a Japanese era house and garden – the church building was where the owner entertained guests, maybe drank tea and generally held court.  When the church bought the property, the only building worth saving was the one which was transformed into a church.  That’s why it looks so distinctive!

But while the church members were busy working on building the Kingdom of God down below, unknown to them, termites were very busy building their own termite kingdom in the roof up above! Actually, maybe more of an empire than a kingdom ~ a takeover by force.  Last year, some minor termite damage in some of the window frames was discovered, and repairs made, but then on further investigation it was found that many of the wooden roof beams and supports were much worse!  Turned out that some were completely hollow, totally eaten away by the termites.  Ready to collapse down onto the floor below at any moment!

Investigation of the church roof was considerably hampered by the discovery that there were 2 ceilings, one on top of the other – with a big gap in-between, and in that gap, the termites were found to be building a colony big enough to take over the world.  Like in a sci-fi film ~ but for real.

And so renovation work has been going on for much of the year, and many of the original wooden beams have been replaced, and it now looks really good.   The wood is a kind of Japanese cypress, and there’s now no ceiling at all – which will make it much easier to manage and check for future problems, as well as being cheaper, making the church seem bigger, lighter and a bit cooler in the summer months.  Plus of course it looks kind of cool ~ all those exposed wooden beams are really beautiful!

The bits of wood that were left over were made into holding crosses, also with strings attached, and are being sold to fund the renovation.  They are really special!

So here we all are on Advent Sunday at the 10:00am service, which included commissioning of the new church committee and worship teams, followed by scrumptious lunch, and saxophone performance!

At St. Peter’s, I was so happy to meet Mrs. Grace Chien, who with her husband, Bishop John Chien gave me such a warm welcome when I first came to Taiwan.  Bishop Chien died in March 2013, and Mrs. Chien continues to live in the Chiayi area ~ she’s invaluable at St. Peter’s Church, helping with training the young organist ~ and she lit the first Advent Candle of Advent 2015!

Actually, I spent most of the weekend at St. Peter’s Church, arriving on Friday in time for an English Bible Study for senior high-school students. It was great!  In fact, many of the young people at St. Peter’s come in the evenings after school and eat dinner with Rev. Simon Tsou and his family ~ and they all say that the main attraction is the food cooked by Simon’s very lovely mother, who lives there too. She just loves to cook ~ as do many of the church members – so there’s a constant supply of yummy things to eat at every meal!

On Saturday, I went with the St. Peter’s group to attend the 60th anniversary celebrations at All Saints Church, Gangshan, about 80 minutes drive away…..

And by thIMG_0032e time we got back to St. Peter’s mid-afternoon, the place was already full of young people arriving early for the evening’s youth group! We were also visited by Rev. Lily Chang and my good friends from St. James’ Church, Taichung, who were on their way home from All Saints Church, and wanted to see the new-look St. Peter’s Church YA!  Aren’t the roof beams amazing?!

As cities in Taiwan go, Chiayi is quite small and very spread out, but there are places where there’s crowds of people ~ and they seem to be all in the area around St. Peter’s!  Opposite the church is a park that is busy all day and all night – in the evenings there are often concerts, and of course there’s the famous Wen-Hua Road Night Market, right there, just across the park from the church.   Well, who can resist a night market?!  And so off I went – it was still early so not too many people ~ what a great place!

And by the time I got back, the church youth group was preparing to eat – another feast!

IMG_0763I just had to buy a shirt and a hat from that night market ~ and Mrs. Chien was so delighted that she took a photo on her iPad for her family – this is it! It was so nice to see so much of her over the weekend, such a great lady – Grace by name and so graceful by nature!

So please pray for St. Peter’s Church, all the young people and church members, the kindergarten and for Rev. Simon Tsou and his family ~ his mother, his wife and son, and such a great outreach to all those high school students! Praise God!