by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)
The Lord is great and wonderful—all of creation sings of his glory! This is an echo of the refrain from the hymn, “How Great Thou Art”, which states, “Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee.” And this is based on Psalm 145:3, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.” During the Shelter in Place, my family has spent some time researching about some of the vegetables we eat. We’ve grown a few vegetables in water and the boys and I planted some corn in our backyard. So far, about 14 kernels (of about 100) of corn have successfully sprouted from the ground! It is exciting to see growth in action. How great is our God! And in another 2-3 months, the corn will be ready to pick, if the raccoons don’t get to them first.
Our lives are made so much easier through the engineering and scientific advances made by God’s creation. How easy and comfortable it is for many of us here in the SF Bay Area during the Shelter in Place. Yes, it can be tiresome to not be able to be more unrestricted to go out and about. But we don’t have a food shortage and I can buy corn while I wait for the ones in the backyard to grow. As for worship service, we are also able to hold service online. What a blessed way to come together in worship. In a few weeks, much of this will change as we will be able to come together in person to worship again. There will be certain restrictions, which is for the benefit for the greater population. Our church plans to abide by the directives to do our best to keep COVID-19 from spreading through our church.
Sadly, Christians in other parts of the world do not get to experience such religious ease. For our Chinese brethren, there is still persecution. In Wuhan, China, where the pandemic first started, there is news of Pastor Luo being detained by the police after the pastor held an evangelical meeting last Sunday on Zoom. His church actually passed out masks during the quarantine time as a witnessing tool and many people, including police officers, were able to hear the message of our great Lord Jesus. This is also a blessing! To be persecuted for Christ is a trial to be thankful for because it is foretold by Jesus and the apostles and builds in us “perseverance, character … and hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Pastor Luo knows this, because he won’t stop sharing the gospel because he knows how great our God is. Therefore, let us pray that the believers in China don’t lose hope but continue to sing of our Lord’s greatness.
主是何等偉大和奇妙,一切受造之物都當一同歌頌祂的榮耀！這是回應讚美詩「祢真偉大」副歌所說：「我靈歌唱，讚美救主我神。」這首詩歌是取自詩篇一百四十五篇三節：「耶和華本為大，該受大讚美。 」在居家避疫期間，我們一家花了點時間去研究一些我們常吃的蔬菜。我們培植了一些蔬菜種子在水中，孩子們和我在後院也種了一些玉蜀黍，我們放了大約100 粒玉米種子在泥土𥚃，到目前為止，經已有大約14 粒玉米從地上成功萌芽了！看到它們的成
神所創造的人類把先進的工程技術和科學帶進來使我們的生活變得非常方便。即使在居家避疫期間，住在三藩市灣區的許多居民仍然能感到很方便和舒坦。是的，在受限制的情況下不能自由出外走動的確會比較麻煩。但是我們並沒有糧食短缺，我可以出外購買玉蜀黍之餘還可安在家中靜待在後院成長中的玉米。至於星期日的崇拜，我們亦可以透過網上敬拜。在這個疫情爆發期間能夠用這種形式來聚集敬拜是何等的祝福。 再過數週後，這個情況便會有改變，因為到時我們已經能夠親身來聚在一起敬拜。 但是為了公眾利益和大眾的健康著想，一些禁制是在所難免的。 我們的教會也計劃遵守這些指令，盡最大的努力防止新冠肺炎的病菌在我們的教會中傳播。
可悲的是，在世界其他地方的基督徒是沒有我們這種宗教上的自由。宗教迫害仍然存在於中國教會的信徒中。有消息傳出盧牧師上週日在疫症首先暴發的中國武漢舉行了一次 （Zoom）網上佈道會後便被警方拘留。其實他的教會早在隔離期間已藉派發口罩來作見證。許多人，包括警察在內，便是因此而聽到關於我們偉大救主耶穌的信息。 這也是一個祝福！為基督的緣故而遭受逼迫是值得感恩的試煉，因為耶穌和使徒們已經在聖經中預先告訴了我們，並且遭
受患難的目的是要建立我們的「忍耐，老練……和盼望」羅馬書五章三至四節。 盧牧師不會因此而停止傳福音，因為他知道我們的神是多麼偉大。 固此，讓我們為中國的信徒祈禱不至失去盼望，並且要繼續歌頌我們救主的偉大。