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09圣灰日的证道

(2009-12-22 03:12:30)
标签:

杂谈

分类: 敬拜礼仪

Text: Matthew 6.1-6, 16-21

Title:  Free for the Disciplined Life

          自由为了操练的生命

Date: 25 Feb 09 (Ash Wed, TTC Chapel)

 

 

Today marks the beginning of the church’s forty-day season of Lent.

     今天是教会大斋节四十天的开始。

 

The origins of Lent are old and complex, and our current observance is actually a combination of practices from different times and places.

大斋节的起源是又古老又复杂的,我们目前的礼仪,实际上是来自不同的时间和地点的一个组合。

 

In the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria, the church had a forty-day period of fasting and preparation for its baptismal candidates just before a mid-February baptismal service.

在古埃及的亚历山大市,教会在进行2月中旬洗礼崇拜之前,为预备要受洗的弟兄姐妹有40天的禁食和准备。

 

This Alexandrian fast, which took place immediately after the commemoration of the Lord’s Baptism (the Epiphany), was meant to imitate Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness.

这亚历山大的禁食,在举行了纪念主耶稣的洗礼(主现节)之后就立即进行,这是模仿耶稣在旷野禁食40天。

 

 

Churches in ancient Rome and Jerusalem prepared baptismal candidates for an Easter baptism during the three weeks prior to that great Holy Day.

这个伟大的圣日的三个星期前,古罗马和耶路撒冷的教会会准备这些在复活节洗礼的弟兄姐妹。

 

 

This pre-Easter period was also a time of fasting for all Christians in the Roman church.

这复活节前的期间也是所有罗马教会的基督徒禁食的时间。

 

 

 

 

 

By about the middle of the fifth century, all of these traditions were fused together to form Lent as we now know it:  a forty-day pre-Easter season of fasting and intensified spiritual practices meant for all church members.

大约在第五世纪时,所有这些传统都融合一起而形成了大斋节,我们现在知道的就是:所有信徒在这40天的复活节前将会进行禁食和密集的属灵

操练(lian)。

 

 

The theological focus of the fifth-century Lent was the suffering and death of Jesus, rather than the preparation of converts for baptism.

第五世纪大斋节的神学重点是耶稣的受苦和死亡,而不是为信徒准备进行洗礼。

 

In the early medi period the first day of Lent became a day for distributing ashes to Christians as a sign of mortality and penance.

中世纪初期,大斋节的第一天是向基督徒分发炉灰,这是一种死亡和忏悔的记号。

 

This practice derived from Old Testament passages that mention the use of ashes in connection with frailty or death (Genesis 18.27), sadness or mourning (Esther 4.3), and repentance (Jonah 3.6).

这种做法是源自于,旧约经文中所提到的使用炉灰与衰老或死亡(创世纪18.27 ) ,悲伤或哀悼(以斯帖记4.3 ),和忏悔(约拿书3.6 )的连结 。

 

The imposition of ashes in this service will remind us of our mortality and sinfulness, and therefore help us to appreciate our need for a Savior and God’s response to that need in Jesus Christ.

在这崇拜里使用灰提醒我们的死亡和罪孽,这能使我们珍惜,我们需要有一个救世主以及上帝的回应, 那就是我们需要耶稣基督。

 

Today’s service also marks the beginning of a journey in which we recommit ourselves to the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and helping the poor – all of which are mentioned in today’s Gospel reading.

今天的崇拜也标志着,在旅程的开始我们再次向自己承诺,致力于祈祷,禁食,并帮助穷人的属灵操练- 就是刚才福音书里所提到的。

 

 

 

 

The purpose of these “disciplines” is to prepare us for the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection at Easter.

这些“操练”的目的是预备我们庆祝基督的死和复活节时复活。

 

Through self-denial, prayer, and helping others, we re-learn Jesus’ way of self-sacrifice for others.

透过舍弃自我,祈祷,和帮助他人,我们重新学习耶稣为人舍己的精神。

 

Lent, in other words, provides us with practical exercise in dying and rising with Christ, such that we embody the meaning of Easter in our very lives.

换句话说, 大斋节为我们提供了与基督一同死亡与复活的实际操练。例如,在我们的生命中我们能体现复活节的含义。

 

To aid you in your Lenten journey, I have placed on our library’s reserve shelf a collection of articles that describe and explain the Lenten disciplines, along with a short bibliography. 

为了帮助您在大斋节的旅程,我已经放了一系列的文章在我们的图书馆保留书架上,文章里附上了简短目录来描述和解释大斋节的心灵操练。

 

Dr Wilfred Ho has prepared a similar resource for Chinese-speakers.

何威达博士已经为华文讲员预备了类似的材料。

 

Please use these materials to shape and deepen your Lenten journey this year. 

请使用这些材料,他们能朔造及深化您今年的大斋节的心灵旅程。

 

My purpose in this sermon, therefore, is not to give a detailed commentary on prayer, fasting, and acts of charity.

在这篇的讲道,我的目的不是给祈祷,禁食,行善做详细的注释。

 

Rather it is to highlight the freedom of these Lenten disciplines – the freedom we have for doing them, and the freedom we find in using them. 

相反的,我要强调这些大斋节操练上的自由- 我们有自由地做以及我们在做时找到自由。

 

 

 

 

Admittedly, performing outward acts of Christian piety can become a kind of slavery – when such acts are misused to justify ourselves before others and God.

诚然,基督徒外在虔诚的行为可能成为一种奴役 - 当这种行为被滥用在他人和上帝面前称自己为义的时候。

 

We might, for example, be tempted to pour out long-winded prayers, go on every possible retreat, or help serve food at soup kitchens only in order to impress others and gain their admiration.

例如,我们可能受到长篇大论祈祷的诱惑,极力参与每个退休会,或是为了讨人喜悦和得到他们的称赞就在厨房帮忙预备食物。

 

We might come to enjoy this admiration, and perhaps find it intoxicating!

我们可能是来享受这份称赞,更可能陶醉其中!

 

We might develop an addiction to it. 

我们可能会上瘾。

 

When we fail to get the kudos we think we deserve, we become disappointed and angry.

当我们不能得到我们认为应该的称赞时,我们会感到失望和愤怒。

 

Of course, we should always acknowledge and affirm the good works of one another.

当然,我们应该常常认定以及肯定别人的好行为。

 

But if our Christian good works are done just for the kudos, we are missing the point – namely, that good works of piety are done for their own sake, not for the complements. 

但是,如果我们基督徒的好行为是为了称赞,我们的焦点就错了 – 因为这些虔诚的好行为是为了自己而不是为了互相帮助。

 

This kind of wrong-headed piety might indicate an enslavement to the ego, and a need to glorify the self, rather than God!

这种错误的虔诚可能一种自我奴役的表现以及自我荣耀的需要,而不是为了上帝!

 

 

 

     Yet the arrival of the kingdom of heaven (Matt 4.23) liberates us from any slavery to the ego. 

然而,藉着天国的降临(马太4:23)我们得以从自我奴役中得到释放。

 

For Jesus, the “kingdom of heaven” meant the unconditional justification of ungodly sinners, which is why he speaks of his coming to seek lost sinners (Matthew 9.9-13).

对耶稣而言,这“天国”就是不敬畏神的罪人的无条件的称义,这就是为什么他说他要来寻找迷失的罪人(马太9.9-13 ) 。

 

The good news of the kingdom of heaven is that we have a right relationship with God through the blood of Christ.

天国的好消息是,通过基督宝血我们得以与上帝有一个正确的关系。

 

Accordingly, we need not justify ourselves before others with our piety.

因此,在人面前我们不需要证明自己的虔诚。

 

Furthermore, Jesus reminds us that a piety practiced “in secret” will be noticed and remembered by God.

此外,耶稣提醒我们在“秘密”中操练虔诚,上帝会发现也会记念我们。

 

Surely, God’s approval means much more than the approval of other people!

当然,上帝称许的方法远远超过其他人的称许!

 

Since God will regard our faith and piety, we can let go of the need for human regard! 

既然上帝会注意我们的信仰和虔诚,我们就不必在意他人的看法!

 

I am not saying that a genuinely God-focused piety earns eternal salvation for us. 

我并不是说,一个真正以上帝为中心的虔诚能为我们赚取永恒的救恩。

 

Salvation, after all, is God’s gift in Christ and cannot be earned.

毕竟救恩是上帝在基督里的礼物并不能被赚取得到。

 

 

 

Because we are right with God through Christ alone, we are free even from the need to earn our eternal salvation.

因为唯有透过基督我们得以称义,我们不需要去赚取永恒的救恩。

 

In that case, we can “do” piety simply for the sake of glorifying God and living lives that are worthy of our calling. 

在这种情况下,我们可以“做”的虔诚只是为了上帝的荣耀和

活出配得呼召的生命。

 

Not only do we have the spiritual freedom to undertake the disciplines of Lent, we realize freedom in the doing of them!

我们不仅有属灵的自由进行大斋节的操练,而且我们了解到行在当中的自由!

 

Through prayer, we embrace the freedom to know ourselves as weak and needy people who must depend on God.

通过祈祷,我们拥抱自由并知道自己是弱者和贫穷的人,我们必须依靠上帝。

 

Through fasting, we actualize freedom from our appetites and find a greater freedom to satisfy our hunger for God.

通过禁食,从我们的食欲中我们得到自由,并找到一个更大的自由以满足我们对上帝的饥渴。

 

In helping the poor, we embody freedom from greed, as we put the needs of others first.

在帮助穷人的当儿,我们从贪婪里得到自由,因为我们把他人的需要放在第一位。

 

Through God’s grace, the Lenten disciplines can bring about growth in Christ-likeness.

通过神的恩典,大斋节的操练能带来基督形象的成长。

              

Similarly, the ashes are all about freedom. 

同样的,这些炉灰都是关于自由。

 

 

 

 

By putting ashes on our foreheads, we throw off the shackles of the world’s death-denying attitudes and tell the truth about our mortality.

把炉灰放在我们的额头上,我们摆脱世界否定死亡的态度以及

关乎我们死亡真理的枷锁。

 

By embracing our mortality with this act, we come to appreciate the Easter gift of eternal life!

用这样的动作来拥抱我们的必死性,使我们能珍惜复活节带来永恒生命

的礼物!       

Later in this service, you will be invited to come forward to receive ashes on your forehead.

在崇拜之后,您将被邀请前来,我们将会用炉灰沾在您的额头上。

 

You may leave the ashes on throughout the day, or at least until the conclusion of this service.

您可以让这些炉灰在你的额头上一整天,或者至少直到崇拜结束为止。

 

     Of course, growth in spiritual freedom is a gift from God, who freely grants that gift where and when it pleases him.

当然,属灵自由的成长是一份来自上帝的礼物,当祂被喜悦时祂会自由地

给予我们这份礼物。

 

Therefore, let us avoid any thought that ashes and Lenten disciplines are sure formulas for spiritual maturation.

因此,让我们避免任何想法认为炉灰和大斋节是一个属灵成熟的方程式。

 

Let us pray that God will use the things of Lent to accomplish his will in us!

让我们一起祈祷上帝,求神使用大斋节的事物使神的旨意在我们中间完成!

    

Also, let us remember that prayer, fasting, and works of charity are meant to promote holy lives, not self-destruction.

此外,让我们记住,祈祷,禁食,善行是为了使我们更圣洁,而不是自我毁灭。

 

 

 

 

 

Those with eating disorders should fast not from food during Lent, but from unhealthy attitudes about food.

那些饮食失调的人不要在大斋节期间时禁食,而是要改正对食物不健康的态度。

 

Those in economic crisis should avoid contributing to the relief of the poor if it means depriving their own families.

那些处在于经济危机的,应避免救济穷人,不然他们自己的家庭的需要就被剥夺了。

 

Theological students should perish any thought about submitting a paper late with the excuse that a Lenten “prayer discipline” demanded too much time!

神学生们不应当想有任何迟交功课的借口,就是大斋节的“祷告操练”要求了太多的时间!

 

My colleagues and I will surely reject such an excuse!

我和我的同事一定拒绝这样的借口!

 

In Lent, let us be free, but let us be responsible.

在大斋节,让我们得自由,但我们也必须有责任感。

 

     Finally, I hope that those of you familiar with Lent will get beyond the simplistic idea that it is all about “giving up” somethings – it’s really about taking hold of somethings, the freedom to be holy!

最后,我希望那些熟悉大斋节的人能想的更深入,那就是大斋节是关于“放弃”东西 - 它是真正关于要抓住的东西,那就是要成为圣洁的自由!

 

I hope that those of you from churches with no Lenten practices will consider adopting the traditions of Lent for yourselves and for your churches.

我希望,如果你的教会没有大斋节的操练,为自己和你的教堂可考虑使用大斋节的传统 。

 

I hope that God will grant all of us a Lent of joy and freedom.

我希望,上帝会给予我们大斋节的喜悦和自由。

 

Amen.

阿门。

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