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The stained glass windows of CPC's auditorium.

Pastoral Letter 4th July 2021

牧聲 二零二一年七月四日
4/7/2021
by
Esther Wang

God never changes

This Sunday is Pastor William’s last day serving in our Church. We had planned to organise a farewell party with a series of activities including combined fellowship, BBQ lunch and photo taking session, in the hope of giving Pastor William a warm and wonderful memory. However, things have not gone as planned. Due to the increased community infections, the city has gone into full lockdown, stopping all activities. Fortunately, William’s family is not heading to Melbourne immediately. We hope that, if possible, we can still say a proper goodbye before they leave.

The cancellation of the farewell party is certainly sad and a disappointment for many of us. We were excitedly looking forward to all the story sharing and appetizing food. We had hoped to create fond memories and allow brothers and sisters to encourage and support each other, and to witness the wonders and grace of God.  

Although the gathering is cancelled, the heart to love each other is more important, and we can use other means to express it. Perhaps, God would prepare a better time for us to remember and enjoy the wonderful fellowship?

Likewise, when we join a Sunday worship service online because of a lockdown, it might be hard to feel the same level of enthusiasm and worshipful experience of the service when just facing a computer monitor, something we do not normally associate with worship and reverence. Or because we have been at home for an extended period, we start to become lazy and sluggish and joining an online worship becomes more like entertainment or passively attending an online meeting. We cannot benefit from the joy of physical fellowship with brothers and sisters.

At the same time, the ever-changing epidemic and uncertain future makes us feel anxious, as we do not know when we will be back to “normal” life. Due to the border shutdown for more than a year, those who have family overseas do not know when they can travel and visit their loved ones.  Fortunately, despite the frequent and unexpected changing situations that we cannot control, God’s sovereignty and faithfulness never change. Let us remember that God is omnipresent and omniscient, His ways and thoughts are higher than ours.  Now might be the best time to exercise our faith, obedience and reliance on Him.

神不改變

這個主日是許用香傳道在我們教會事奉的最後一天。本來我們計劃了歡送會,滿滿的安排,包括聯合團契、燒烤午餐、拍照紀念等等。希望給許用香傳道一家和弟兄姐妹們留下溫馨美好的記憶。但是,計劃趕不上變化,因為疫情的升溫,全城封鎖,這些活動都不得不暫停了。所幸許傳道一家並不會馬上離開悉尼去墨爾本,我們希望若有可能,仍能在他們離開以前,有一個歡聚告別的機會。

歡送會臨時取消,難免叫人有一些失望和惆悵。美好的聚會、愉快的分享、還有美味的食物,都叫人期待。我們希望留下美好的回憶,也希望藉著這個歡送會,弟兄姐妹們彼此激勵和扶持,再次見證神的奇妙和恩典。雖然聚會不得不取消,但是彼此相愛的心比聚會更加重要,只要我們真的彼此相愛,我們也可以用其他的方式來表達,神或許會為我們預備更合適的時間,來記起和享受衪所賜的美好團契時光。

同樣的,當我們因為封城的緣故,不得不在家中通過線上轉播,參與主日崇拜的時候,對著屏幕的感覺,讓我們難以體會到在教會里大家一起敬拜的熱情和專注;又或者長期困在家中,我們慢慢地變得懈怠和懶惰,參加網上崇拜變成是娛樂或被動地參與而已。同時,反反复复的疫情,讓我們心生焦慮,不知道何時才能恢復到正常的生活呢?邊境已經關閉超過一年了,特別是有家人在海外的,我們也不知道什麼時候才可以出國旅行,探望親友。

所幸的是,雖然環境的變化,突發事件的發生,我們都無法控制,但是唯有一樣不變的,是神的掌權和神的信實。讓我們不要忘記,神無處不在,祂也無所不知,祂的意念高過我們的意念,現在,或許正是我們操練信心,學習順服祂,依靠祂的良機。

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