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Hosting Jesus(TTC Chapel_14-07-2010)

(2010-08-02 16:25:24)
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杂谈

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Hosting Jesus

Luke 10.38-42

接待耶稣

Martha was distracted by her many tasks, while Mary has chosen the better part of sitting at the feet of Jesus, so says the Gospel reading for today.

马大伺候的事多,心里忙乱,而马利亚已选择了那上好福份坐在耶稣脚前,今天的福音经课是这样说的。

When this is taken at face value – without plumbing its depths – we can understand why this passage has been interpreted as establishing the priority of the contemplative life over the active one, through the many centuries of Church history.

从表面理解这个故事——而不是去解读它的深层含义时,我们能理解,教会历史的历代人们根据这段经文,重视默观胜于行动。

However, this hallowed way of reading the passage sounds hollow in the light of human experience.

然而,按人类的经验,用神圣化来解读经文反而有点不真实。

 

Prayer and meditation are great but someone has to cook!

祷告和默想当然好,但是谁烧菜做饭!

Where would you contemplators be if we administrators and workers did not work very hard to make it possible for you to luxuriate in your contemplation?

如果没有我们这些行政人员在幕后劳碌地工作,哪里有您们这些默观者,可以闲情静修?

Deacons weren’t put in place for nothing!

您以为选出执事来只是一个空名吗?

Indeed, if you were to take this interpretation to tired housewives today, you would find that they would all agree with you, and petition you to practise what you preach, and allow them to rest from doing chores.

的确,如果今天你把这样的解释用于疲惫的家庭主妇,你会发现她们完全同意你的观点,恳求您讲得出做得到,并允许她们可以获得自由。

 

After all, it is the inferior choice. Poor Martha! If she were taught this interpretation, she would have snorted, ‘If only I knew, I would have called for KFC home delivery. Or better, let Mary do the calling while I sit at Jesus’ feet.’ And yet, the passage insists that Martha did miss the important thing while Mary found it.

毕竟,这不是理想的选择。可怜的马大!如果她懂得这种解释,她可能会气呼呼的说,“早知道,我就会打电话要肯德基的上门服务。或者更好些,让马利亚去打电话而我可以坐在耶稣的脚前。”然而,这段经文强调的是马大错失了重要的事而马利亚却得着了。

 

What, then, did Martha miss and what is the point of the Gospel story? The answer to this becomes transparent when we take into account the setting of the story.

到底马大错过了什么,这个福音故事的重点是什么?当我们仔细思想这个故事的处境时,答案就显而易见了。

 

An important datum is provided right at the beginning.

故事一开始就告诉我们一个重要的线索。

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to accomplish his messianic task.

耶稣正在赶路去耶路撒冷,去完成弥赛亚使命。

Martha opens her home to Jesus, i.e. she welcomes him and hosts him.

马大打开家门,接待耶稣。

This is significant because this divine traveller to Jerusalem has been rebuffed before (9.51-56).

这一点实在重要,因为这个神圣的旅客曾经为了去耶路撒冷而被拒绝(9.51-56)。

 

For Martha to open her home to Jesus says a lot about her character.

马大打开家门迎接耶稣这件事情,正说明马大是什么样的人。

Furthermore, hospitality is an important institution in an ancient society.

进一步说,殷勤好客是古代社会一个重要的习俗。

 

When we host someone, we should do our level best to make the traveller feel honoured and well taken care of.

当我们接待某人,我们就要做最好的东道主,让对方宾至如归。

This was precisely the intent of Martha, which is laudable.

这的确是马大的本意,是值得称道的!

 

This setting, then, serves as the Ariadne’s thread through the maze created by a long, hallowed way of reading the passage.

这个经文的处境,把我们长期以来对经文神圣化的解读所造成的疑团解开了。

It informs us straightaway that the story concerns how Jesus is to be hosted or welcomed.

故事所关心是人们应当如何接待耶稣。

 

1. Hearing Jesus

1. 聆听耶稣

Martha knows she is hosting a very important guest and not any ordinary person.

马大知道她所接待的不是普通人,而是一位贵宾。

The way Luke writes up this account indicates this too: the word kyrios appears three times in this short passage. Luke tells his readers, then, that Martha is hosting the Lord, and she knows it. How is Jesus the Lord to be hosted?

路加叙述的方式也显明这一点:“kyrios”这个词在短文中出现了三次。 路加告诉读者,马大接待的是主,她知道这点。问题是:要怎样接待耶稣这位主呢?

 

To be expected, Martha does her level best to provide hospitality: probably taking out her best and secret recipes, whipping up elaborate dishes, and making sure the place is ready for this august guest. 可想而知,马大会尽她所能提供最好的接待:可能拿出了她最好的绝活和私房菜,大摆宴席, 并力求为这位贵宾预备好地方。

You can imagine her busyness and stress, and not surprisingly, she complains to Jesus about Mary because she is listening to Jesus, and is thus absent from the kitchen.

你可以想象她忙碌又充满压力,毫不奇怪,她向耶稣投诉马利亚只顾听耶稣讲话却不去厨房帮忙。

Instead of supporting her, Jesus commends Mary. Why?

耶稣却没有支持马大,反而称赞马利亚。为什么呢?

It is to be observed, first of all, that the activities connected with hospitality have become a distraction (v. 40).

首先我们注意到,(在第40节),殷勤好客的种种活动竟然变成分心。

Indeed, they have caused Martha worries (v. 41).

的确,马大因此而忧虑。(第41节)。

She was not just distracted, but anxiously so.

她不仅分心,还变得心烦意乱。

Sadly, a cultural norm which has been put in place to make life viable and enjoyable has become a burden.

令人遗憾的是,一个本来可以让生活满有活力和快乐的文化准则,反成了一个负担。

Although Martha started off with the Lord’s needs in mind, she ended up being concerned about hers.

虽然马大开始时关心的是主的需要,最后关心的却是自己的需要。

In this state of affairs, Martha failed to see the one important thing: to host Jesus is to listen to him. 在这些情况下,马大错失了一件重要的事:接待耶稣就是要聆听耶稣。

This is precisely why Mary was commended.这也正是为什么马利亚得到称赞的原因。

In v. 39, the main verb in the Greek syntax is ‘listen’, pointing out where the verse’s centre of gravity is.

在39节,希腊文句子中主要动词是“聆听”,这指出了句子的重心所在。

Mary knew that to honour the Lord best was to listen to him attentively and obediently (v. 39).马利亚知道去尊敬主的最好方式是专心且顺服地来聆听(第39节)。

In other words, Jesus being the uniquely special guest that he is, is to be welcomed by our listening disposition. This is the sort of hospitality Jesus seeks. 换言之,我们是要用聆听的态度来接待这位独特的贵宾。这才是耶稣希望的待客之道。

What counts is whether we listen to him and not whether we put up the greatest show. 关键之处在于我们是否去聆听他,而不是我们大费周章地来接待他。

Don’t get me wrong. 不要误解我的意思。

Doing the best possible show for Jesus is commendable, but it must not distract us from the one thing: listening to Jesus.

尽可能为耶稣献上最好的,当然值得称赞,但不要因此让我们从“聆听耶稣”这事上分心。

Of course, we shouldn’t think that listening to him is an excuse for laziness because you will certainly hear the words, ‘Go and serve!’ Indeed, in Luke’s Gospel, listening usually means being a disciple (6.47; 8.11; 11.28).

当然我们不能把聆听耶稣作为懒惰的借口,我们一定听过这句话:“出去,去事奉!”。的确,在路加福音里,聆听通常是要成为一个门徒。

If Martha were given a chance to re-enact this, what she should do was to provide the right and comfortable setting for people to listen to Jesus. Indeed, she should herself join in to listen. 如果给马大一个重新来过的机会,她将会怎样做?是忙着为人们提供舒适的环境,以便让人去聆听耶稣?事实上,她本身也应该加入聆听的队伍。

A simple meal with attentive listening is far better than an elaborate meal where no one listens. And the Gospel of Luke is full of such examples.

虽简朴却是人人都能专注的一餐,远远胜过满汉全席却无人聆听。这样的例子在路加福音中比比皆是。

 

2. Clearing Hindrances

2.扫清障碍物

The story ends with a pronouncement, which indicates to the audience its major theme. It is that Mary has chosen the better part and this choice has been given a permanent endorsement (v. 42).

故事以一个宣告作为结束,向读者表明了主题所在。就是马利亚已经选择了上好的福分并且这个选择得到了永恒的保证(第42节)。

What really is the point here and how does it dovetail with the setting of the scene, which speaks about hosting Jesus?

到底真正的重点是什么?这个重点是怎样与当时讲到接待耶稣的情景相吻合?

 

Some background information is needed. Mary is described as sitting at the feet of Jesus. This is not just a posture of attentive submission. It is also the posture of a learner, a disciple (cf. Acts 22.3).

我们需一些背景资料。经文形容马利亚是坐在耶稣脚前。这不仅是一个专注的聆听者的姿势。这也是一个学生,一个门徒的姿势(参考 使徒行传22:3)。

Jewish texts speak of people learning at the feet of rabbis (m.‘Abot 1.4).

犹太文献讲到人们是在拉比脚前受教(m.‘Abot 1.4).

Now, according to the 1st century Palestinian setting the kitchen is the place of the women.

在第一世纪巴勒斯坦的处境中,厨房是女人呆的地方。

The place of learning is for the men.

学习的地方则是男人的专利。

In this respect, when a rabbi comes a calling, men will sit at his feet to listen to him discoursing, while the women will busy themselves preparing food or refreshments. That would be the feminine contribution to the betterment of society.

当一个拉比发出呼召,男人们就会坐在他脚前听他谈论,而此时,女人们则为预备食物和点心而忙碌。那是社会分工中女性的角色。

 

What Mary did, then, was counter-cultural.

马利亚所做的,是逆向文化的。

She did not keep to the place society assigned her.

她没有遵守社会安排给她的位置。

She sat at Jesus’ feet, i.e. she joined the other men to hear Jesus, with a view to being his disciple.

她坐在耶稣脚前,和其他男人一起听耶稣讲道,为了成为他的门徒。

This explains why Martha was upset with her. Not only was Mary not helping out in the kitchen, she was joining the men, arrogating to herself the right to be a disciple, and doing something socially out of place.

这就是为什么马大会因此心烦意乱了。马利亚不仅没在厨房帮忙,还加入了男性的行列中,不合法地争取做门徒的权利,并做一些与社会格格不入的事情。

 

In the light of the passage’s emphasis on hearing, Jesus’ defence of Mary’s counter-cultural action must mean that boundaries erected by society should be discarded if they prevent people from hearing him.

根据经文所强调的聆听,耶稣为马利亚的逆向文化传统行为辩护,这表示社会所设定的任何约束,如果阻止了人们来聆听他的声音,都要被破除。

In other words, if Martha were to be a good host to her divine guest, she should remember that whatever hospitable action she performed must encourage people to listen to him.

换言之,如果马大是接待耶稣的好东道主,她要记住任何好客的行动都要鼓励人去聆听耶稣 。

Hearing Jesus is primary and urgent. And all are invited to hear him.

聆听耶稣是最重要的,也是迫切的。我们邀请所有人去聆听。

If this is the case, impediments must be cleared, including hoary traditions or time-honoured demarcations that structure society.

若是这样,所有包括古老传统和界限的障碍物应被清除。

But do note: this is performed not because Jesus would like his disciples to be anti-establishment or culture-haters, as if our task is to go on a tradition-hunt, to ferret it out in order to kill it.

但请注意:这样做不是因为耶稣想要他的门徒成为叛逆者或仇视文化者,好像我们的任务就是去搜寻旧传统,刨根究底并革除它。

 

No. The point is rather that hearing Jesus is primary and all barriers that bar people from hearing him must be dismantled, even if it means earning the ire of society.

非也!真正的重点是:聆听耶稣实在太重要了,纵然这会引起公愤,所有成为拦阻人们倾听他的阻碍必须被拆除。

 

3. Conclusion

3.结论

 

How are we to host our Lord and Saviour?

我们如何接待我们的主、我们的救主。

When he comes a calling, what is the one thing we are to remember? Hear him, and remove all barriers that bar people from hearing him.

当他发出呼召时,那一件事情是我们要记住的?就是聆听耶稣,并清除所有妨碍人们前来聆听的障碍。

For a theological college like ours, it does not take much mental effort to understand how this passage is relevant.

像我们这样的神学院,不用多想,就可知道这段经文的相关意义。

Many good things are put in place for our spiritual growth and vocational equipping. 人们为着我们的灵性成长和职场训练安排了很多好东西。

It is so easy to let these good things become an end in themselves, i.e. to distract us from the one thing Mary perceived so well so long ago.

我们很容易让这些好东西变成了妨碍。

But we must learn to choose the better thing, and by the grace of God, may we do so and may it not be taken away from us. Amen. 但是,我们必须学会选择那上好的福分,靠着上帝的恩典,不要让那些真正好的东西与我们失之交臂。阿们。

     

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