by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)
We are starting a new year now. In America, we also always celebrate MLK Jr.’s birthday on the 3rd Monday of January. Growing up, I recall being taught about civil rights in the US. I assumed it was just common knowledge and that racism was evil. But then, protests and riots happened last year. And I heard many stories. One story was from an older White pastor whose family did not really look upon the holiday with much gladness. This made me wonder why, and then I recalled that this holiday has not been in existence for that long. They likely never celebrated it growing up like I did. In fact, the first time this holiday was observed was in 1986. So, in my context, it was “always” celebrated as I grew up according to my memory as 1986 was my first grade year.
This same pastor, who shared with me his family views, also discovered just last year that his family had owned a single slave. His family had been going through some old documents of his grandmother’s and they found an old receipt with a man’s name on it dating back 2 centuries ago. To him, it was horrifying to discover this news. He did not know what to make of this fact in his family’s history. Then, he was invited to participate in a march for justice the same week. Then the march’s facilitator invited all the pastors to speak. And so he did. He shared about what he discovered and apologize to those in the crowd on behalf of his family, for what they did.
Confession is so powerful, because it is the starting point to restoring a broken relationship. To me, what is even more interesting is how he is apologizing for a transgression that occurred generations ago, before he was even born! This was his loving act—the act that was needed for that time for the crowd, and for himself. Yes, slavery is a sin. And there are laws that have abolished it in the US. We have come a long way. However, this does not mean that racism has been removed, nor can it ever be fully. This is why we must see one another as brothers and sisters. This is why may pastors have broken down in tears to see that there are other pastors of different shades and backgrounds who say to them, “brother, I love you”. In some ways, it isn’t the “I love you” that shows the love, but actually referring to one another as brother. Either way, let our words and deeds show that we do love our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. In this way, we fulfill the law.
(Rom. 13:8 ESV) Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
我們現在開始新的一年。在美國，我們也總是在1 月第三個星期一慶祝馬丁路德金 (MLK Jr.) 的生日。在成長過程中，我回想起在美國學習有關公民權利的知識。我以為那只是常識，而種族主義是邪惡的。由於去年發生了抗議和騷亂，我聽了很多故事。其中一個故事來自一位年長的白人牧師，他的家人並沒有正視為高興的假期。這使我想知道為什麼，然後我回想起這個假期其實並不存在那麼久。他們可能從未像我一樣在長大過程中慶祝它。實際上，這個假期是在1986 年第一次出現。1986 年是我一年級的時候，在我成長的過程中，“總是”慶祝” 這假期。
「凡事都不可虧欠人，惟有彼此相愛要常以為虧欠，因為愛人的就完全了律法。」 羅馬書 13:8