by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)
With COVID-19 seemingly to be a thing of the past, aside from the fact that we still can’t meet in person in-doors in SF and the maximum is 12 people outdoors, we are pushed into considering what it means to rest. We can get tired, even at home. We are tired of the active kids. We become zoom-fatigued or even tired of simply staring at our computer screens for so long. We’re no longer even interested in bingeing tv-shows because we have likely finished watching every movie and series we have wanted to catch up watching.
In a Zoom meeting recently, a pastor asked the group what they heard when an African-American said, “I’m tired”? And we also had an array of answers. For them, it wasn’t necessarily physical exhaustion, but was spiritual, mental, and emotional. I sought to encourage them to not give up hope, as more and more are coming to understand the source of their exhaustion and are rallying with them.
This is also why we the ancient Israelites were given the 4th commandment in Exodus. There are times when we are to work and there are times when we are to rest. We are called to rest once a week--traditionally on Sunday. It causes us to ask the LORD if there are more meaningful actions and practices He wants us to do. I heard recently of how some believers are waking up early—6am!—to pray and watch sermons online together and reflect, before they even go to work. Waking up early does not seem like rest. It is physically demanding! But it is a creative and healthy way to wake up early and begin the day with the LORD and other believers. Consider Psalm 5:3, “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Obviously, this “watch” isn’t referring to watching sermons online, but to look to the LORD and listen for his direction. Yet, it can also be applied in that way today.
COVID-19 has caused a rude awakening to our routines—for better or worse. As the idiom goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Let us seek to shift our lifestyles and habits for greater spiritual purposes. Perhaps, let us even wake up early, pray and “watch”, whatever watch might mean for you and God.
新冠肺炎彷彿已漸成過去，在三藩市我們除了仍未可以在室內相見，在戶外最多亦只能十二個人見面，大家都一起被迫去思考休息的意義。 即使在家裡，我們也會感到疲累不堪。 我們已經厭倦了家中活躍的孩子們。 因長時間開視像會議或要盯著我們的電腦屏幕，我們變得疲勞。 我們甚至不再對歡樂的搞笑電視節目感興趣，因為我們很可能已經在這段時間看畢所有想要追看的電影和電視劇。
在最近的一次視像會議中，一位牧師問我們這個小組，當一名非裔美國人說「我累了」的時候，大家究竟在當中聽到了什麼訊息？ 組員們都有一系列的答案。 但對非裔美國人來說，這不一定是體力的消耗，而是關乎靈性上，精神上和情感上的事。 我試圖鼓勵他們不要放棄希望，因為越來越多的人開始了解他們精疲力竭的根源，並願意與他們結伴同行。
這也是為何古代以色列人在出埃及記中得到了第四誡命。 有時候我們需要工作，有時候我們需要休息。 我們被要求每週總要休息一次，傳統上都在星期天。 這讓我們都可以向耶和華提問，祂究竟還有沒有更多有意義的行動要我們去做。 最近，我聽說有些信徒如何在清晨六點之前便起床，禱告和觀看線上的講道，並進行反思，然後才再上班。 早起不是休息。 要早起其實身體是吃力的！ 但是早起，與耶和華和其他信徒一同開始新的一天，是一種既新穎而且健康的生活方式。 思想詩篇5：3:「耶和華啊！早晨你必聽我的聲音；早晨我必向你陳明我的心意，並要儆醒。」這種警醒守候並不是指在網上觀看講道，而是指仰望耶和華並聽取祂的指示。 今天也可以如此應用。
新冠肺炎對我們的日常生活程序或好或壞掀起了一個強烈的頓悟。 有句俗語說：「當生活只給您檸檬時，您就拿它做檸檬汁吧。」 讓我們一同尋求改變我們的生活方式和習慣，以實現更大的屬靈目的。 也許，讓我們都可以早起，祈禱並觀看任何對您和上帝有意思的東西。