From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee, Senior Pastor RCAC
Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,
Last issue: Pastoral Reflections on July 1 (1)
On July 1, we celebrated Canada Day here. I know, as I enjoyed a statutory holiday. This year is the 155th Anniversary of Confederation. But for those of us who are from Hong Kong, we know that July 1 this year was also the day to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
In reflecting on these two anniversaries, the question that comes to mind is: What is there to celebrate? In Canada, in the past year we have been reminded again and again of the horrific history of mistreatment and injustice to the children from the First Nations at the Residential Schools and the trauma of their survivors. Furthermore, in the very place we are living in, there are so many other social problems such as the drug overdose crisis and the rising crime rate, just to mention a few.
In Hong Kong, we know that ten of thousands of HongKongers, on both sides of the political spectrum, had decided to leave Hong Kong, looking for a better haven for themselves and their families, many in such a hurry that they did not even say good-bye to their relatives and friends. The anxiety and fear of these people are compounded by the difficulties of finding and settling into a new home in Canada and elsewhere. Yes, “what is there to celebrate”?
The truth of the matter is whether in the birth and development of a nation as in Canada from over 150 years ago, or in the return of a colony to its motherland, as in Hong Kong, in the last 25 years till now, we witnessed prosperity mixed with upheavals, progress mixed with injustice, hope mixed with disappointments, bringing anxiety and tears to all looking for a better future. This is the sad history and geography of the migration of people since the beginning of times, repeated over and over again around the world. If there are achievements to celebrate, then there are also disappointments to grieved about. Again, what is really there to celebrate?
Abraham and the people of faith come to mind. We read in Hebrews 11 these words: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God… 13 These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. 14 For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (8-10, 13-16) Yes, Abraham and many others “aspire to a better land,” and ultimately it is “a heavenly one.” Those words ring true even today.
The truth is there is no place on earth that does not have its share of unrest and problem, because we are all sinful people living in a sinful world. The church does not and cannot offer any solution to political problems, but the church is where true faith, ultimate hope, genuine love can be found. Lasting peace (shalom) and total redemption are found in the church because “In God we trust.” People of all background, race or political background can come to Christ, the Prince of Peace. This is what we can truly celebrate.
Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Simon Lee