From the Pastor’s Desk: Pastor Jeanie Auyeung

God has given me the opportunity many times since 1997, to visit some Chinese brothers and sisters in various cities in Sweden, to edify and learn from them. During one of my visits, I was invited to a sister’s home for lunch. She served me a pot of congee made with preserved vegetables. The first thought that popped into my mind was: “What? How can preserved vegetables be used in making congee?” Out of courtesy, I didn’t say anything, but this way of cooking seemed unacceptable to me.

There was a Caucasian co-worker at our church who worked as a youth pastor many years ago. He was very easy-going and willing to merge into the Chinese culture and especially liked Chinese food. He told us one time that he had made a pot of delicious congee the night before. The sister standing beside me asked him what he made the congee with?  He replied: “tomatoes.” That sister and I both said at the same time, “What? Making congee with tomatoes? We would never do that!”

Another time, another English co-worker put some tofu in the pot while cooking congee. I also asked him, “Can tofu be used to cook congee?” He said “yes!”  Yes, why not? As long as others like it and feel that it tastes good, it is their choice. Why do we have to insist on our usual way of cooking?

The different ways and methods of cooking have given me some space to think and learn from others. In fact, I am also trying to copy from them now. I even tried their way of making congee- something I never would have done before – and I think it is quite good.

Upon reflection, I find that we often miss many opportunities to learn new things or new perspectives on doing things, because we have insisted on doing things in our own way and are unwilling to make changes. Many times, we might hurt each other or even break the relationship between people because of insisting that our way is the only “right” way and refuse to give in. The teaching of the Bible is: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18 -NIV)

Rev. Dr. Kiven Choy Siu-ki, President of the Alliance Theological Seminary, quoted an historical saying in the devotional material teaching us to lower ourselves and be humble, to give up our insistence on “self”, and to hold Christ as our example : “In essentials, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity” (to put love first).

During the season of lent, we meditate on Christ’s sacrifice and His love for us. He gave up his rights, and his own life for us: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8).