Reconciliation Towards an Authentic Community

[“SHARE” APR – JUN 2021 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

 

Written by: Bernard Wong (Assistant Professor (Theological Studies) and Associate Dean of China Graduate School of Theology, Board Member of CEDAR Fund)

 

 

Scripture reading: Revelation 7:9-12

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The Real Meaning Behind “Seventy-seven Times”

[“SHARE” JAN – MAR 2021 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

 

Written by: Bernard Wong (Assistant Professor (Theological Studies) and Associate Dean of China Graduate School of Theology, Board Member of CEDAR Fund)

 

If a Christian has been wronged, other believers often encourage her to offer forgiveness immediately, for Jesus teaches us to “forgive a brother seventy-seven times.” We may think that a good Christian should endure unfair treatment, and ought to be forgiving under all circumstances. Did Jesus really mean that?

 

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Serving beyond Your Ability

[“SHARE” APR – JUN 2020 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

Written by: Raymond Kwong (Chief Executive)

 

Over the past nearly 30 years, CEDAR has participated in over 100 relief campaigns and the most touching thing for us is seeing the disaster-stricken victims help each other. They do not worry about what will happen to them next, instead, they make every endeavour to help those around them. Even though they barely have enough for themselves, they still try to help others, which is not an easy thing to do. This spirit of selflessness is a grace from God.

 

In the Bible, the Macedonian churches are an exemplar of selflessness. In 2 Corinthians 8, the apostle Paul described how the Macedonian churches served the poor Christian believers in Jerusalem. Back then, there was a great famine in the land of Palestine. With that and the long-standing religious persecution, the Christians in Judah were living in extreme poverty. Therefore, when Paul was preaching, he encouraged churches in other places to lend a helping hand to the churches in Jerusalem. The Macedonian churches were among those who responded to Paul’s appeal.

 

After Macedonia was defeated by Rome, the region became very poor and the local churches were in extreme poverty, and were facing a “very severe trial” of religious persecution (v. 2). Even when they were unable to fend for themselves, the churches in Macedonia still made donations to the churches in Jerusalem. They even urgently pleaded with Paul for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people (v. 4). Therefore, Paul testified that they gave as much as they were able, and ‘“even beyond their ability”’ (v. 3), which is the kind of attitude of serving that is pleasing to the Lord.

 

Over the past few months, COVID-19 has made people in Hong Kong feel helpless, worried and even frightened. While we rely on God to face challenges during this long and arduous period, we can also learn to practise the spirit of serving “beyond our ability”. Sharing your stock of masks with others is one example. Apart from the needy in Hong Kong, people in other countries also need our care and services, especially our neighbours in mainland China – one of the places most severely affected by the coronavirus. We cordially invite you to pray for them, and find ways to show them your care. If everyone serves “beyond their ability”, we will still be able to experience the joy and grace from God during this difficult time.

 

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A Spiritual Response to Structural Oppression: Paul’s Reminder

[“SHARE” JAN – MAR 2019 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

Written by: Professor Ip Hon Ho Alex (Assistant Professor, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)



The economy of the Roman Empire was founded upon oppression and exploitation. In the early period, one third of the Empire’s population were slaves; while another third were freed slaves. There were also many people who owned no land and served no masters. These people were often employed as casual workers or day labourers. To put it simply, the relatively high economic growth during the early period of the Roman Empire was a result of exploiting manual labourers who did not have much power to fight for their own interests.

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Caring for God’s Creation and Discipleship Training

[“SHARE” OCT – DEC 2019 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

Written by: Raymond Kwong (Chief Executive)

 

Mankind is unique in God’s creation because we have been made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). We are living beings (Genesis 2:7) and we have been granted stewardship to take care of all other forms of creation (Genesis 1:28-29; 2:15). These are mankind’s intended identities. Unfortunately, when sin enters the world, these identities are distorted. Our stewardship has been altered beyond recognition. Mankind’s role has morphed from stewards of God’s creation into owners, or even exploiters. God’s creation should have received mankind’s love and care, but now it has become an instrument for personal gain. This simply goes against God’s intention in Creation!

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The Trap of Discrimination in Poverty Alleviation

[“SHARE” JUL – SEP 2019 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE

Written by: Wance Kwan (Assistant Professor [Practical Studies], China Graduate School of Theology)

 

“If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:3-4)

 

If you are one of the few in your church who are involved in poverty alleviation work, you may be angry with the snobs in the scripture above. You might probably think that you would never be like them. However, have you ever thought that always putting the poor at the receiving end can also be considered as a form of discrimination? Such attitude of judging people by their outward appearances is being challenged in James 2:1 as favoritism.

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