by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)
A lot of notable people have passed this year, not due to COVID-19. Two in the Western Christian circle are Ravi Zacharias and J. I. Packer. They have influence millions with their writing and lectures about the importance of developing one’s spiritual life as a Christian and who God is to the individual. They will be missed. Thankfully, much of what they taught about Jesus has been recorded for posterity. Another influential person who passed is Representative John Lewis of Georgia, who was not a theologian but a civil rights leader and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, when I visited the memorial of Dr. King in Atlanta, GA, I saw that the establishment of the site was driven by Rep. Lewis.
While “sitting at the feet” of many established pastors, the question was raised as to whether or not someone like this should be honored during the worship service. It is an interesting question that some did not even consider. We should consider this idea as well, even if we don’t do so in the near future. For instance, not all of the founding fathers of our country were believers, yet we still have them to consider and thank for what we see and experience today. Likewise, those who continue to hold positions of office are to be seeking the welfare of the people—as they are elected by the people to represent the people and their desires. I say this because, as I am reading through 2 Kings at the moment, there are some kings of Judah and Israel who “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” and some who “did what was evil in the LORD’s sight”. The same can be said of the Judges. None of the Judges were perfect. In fact, the most scandalous Judge, Samson, is the most well-known!
I think it is important that we as believers in the US consider what Lewis’s life means to us as well. Especially as most of us are Chinese-Americans (or a part of some minority group in the US) it would aid us as residents and citizen of this country to consider the benefits we experience today through the actions of many in our country’s history to fight for these rights we now have legally.
Some pastors did have concern about acknowledging the late senator because of the political views he held, which do not align with the typical Baptist’s moral views. And yet, much of the freedoms we experience today are reaped from the sown efforts Lewis fought for in the political arena and civil rights. We should not “cancel” him for his “faults” nor should we need to glorify those same “faults”. But we can still show honor and respect where it is due. I do not know if Lewis is a believer, but when men and women of color were oppressed, he fought for the needy to be receive the same civil rights. This too is righteousness that exalts a nation. This too, honors God.
Proverbs 14:31,34 (NIV84) He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God… 34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
今年許多名人離世了，(他們的逝世並不是因新冠肺炎引致的) 西方基督教界中就有以下兩位 Ravi Zacharias 和 J. I. Packer。 他們的寫作和演講影響過數百萬的人，他們曾提出建立基督徒的屬靈生命以及認識神是如何的重要。 我們將懷念他們。 慶幸的是，他們那些關於耶穌的許多教導已被記錄下來，以供後世使用。 另一個有相當影響力而離世的名人就是喬治亞州的州國會代表John Lewis，他雖不是神學家，卻是位民權領袖，他當年曾與馬丁路德金博士
作為活在美國的信徒，我覺得思考John Lewis 這個人的生命對大家有什麼意義是重要的。 特別是當我們大多數人都是華裔美國人（作為少數族裔的一部分）時，這樣的思考會幫助作為本國居民和公民的我們去深思，其實我們今天所享有的福利和合法權利都是透過歷史上許多前人的爭取而得。
有些牧師確實擔心對已故參議員John Lewis 表達謝意的事，因為Lewis 所持的政治觀點與浸信會一向持守的道德觀不符。 然而，我們今天經歷到的許多自由都是因Lewis 在政治領域和公民權利方面努力爭取而獲得的。 我們不應因他的「過失」而「刪去」他，同樣地，我們也不應美化那些「過失」。 我們要在適當的時候授予榮譽和表示尊重。 我不知道Lewis 是否一位信徒，但是當有色人種們都在受壓迫時，Lewis 都有為所有需要的人爭取一模一樣的公民
權利。 他這樣做令整個國家的公義被高舉了。 這也是件榮耀上帝的事。
箴言 14:31 欺壓貧寒的，是辱沒造他的主；憐憫窮乏的，乃是尊敬主。
箴言 14:34 公義使邦國高舉；罪惡是人民的羞辱。