Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, November 01, 2010

Hope Needs Rejoicing 

Doing my homework. Just left Shanghai on the train to Hong Kong. I stopped by Amy's office, and she and Jenny walked to the train station with me. We found a little Japanese restaurant, and Harry, another guy from the company Jimmy and Amy have started joined us for dinner. They they walked with me to the train station, where we had to say goodbye, because I was taking an international train, so they could not go to the train with me without "leaving" the country.

Yesterday I went to the Mu'en church near People's Square. In today's China, all public churches are part of the Three Self Patriotic Movement, but the old missionary churches all have their own history. The Mu'en Church happens to be an old Methodist Episcopal Church. The Methodist Episcopal Mission started work in China in the middle of the nineteenth century and spawned believers like Watchman Nee, and was involved in establishing schools and hospitals, including the Peking Union Medical College.

The Mu'en Church does not provide English translation, and the pastor was a fast talker, but I was intrigued by the Chinese version of the text he spoke from (Romans 12:12). In English, it says, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." But the Chinese phrases it a little differently. Translated literally, it would be "In hope you need to rejoice, in tribulation you need to show restraint, and your prayer needs to be constant." So the emphasis is on what attitude is appropriate for which situation. It is the first one that I tended to focus on, because I tend to identify hope with nail biting. But that's not faith. God wants us to hope with an attitude of faith, which means rejoicing in the fulfilment of what we hope for. Here is how the Thayer's lexicon in e-sword defines the word:

χαίρω>chairōr>Thayer Definition:
1) to rejoice, be glad
2) to rejoice exceedingly
3) to be well, thrive
4) in salutations, hail!
5) at the beginning of letters: to give one greeting, salute
Part of Speech: verb

This, then is the essential attitude for anyone who has dared to ask God for something, and patiently wait in hope for the answer.

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