Pray always常常禱告

Jesus admonishes us to pray always and never give up.今天,耶穌勸導我們要常常禱告,不可放棄。

How should we practice incessant prayer? 我應當怎樣實踐不住的禱告?

This sermon from The Chinese congregation at Tao Fong Shan, Shatin, Hong Kong deals with one of the most important practices of Christfulness and the experience of “Christ with me”. Read the full sermon below.

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Pray always常常禱告

Sermon in Tao Fong Shan Chinese Congregation 13th October 2019 

Readings 2. Kings 5:1-3,7-15c; 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5; Luke 18:1-8

經文:王下五1-3, 7-15下;提後三14-5;路十八1-18

Rev. Ole Skjerbæk Madsen

Translation: Jason TOO

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,在基督耶穌裡親愛的姊妹弟兄:

Today Jesus admonishes us to pray always and never give up.今天,耶穌勸導我們要常常禱告,不可放棄。

Prayer is a hallmark of Christian faith practice. 祈禱是基督教信仰實踐的標記。

We are waiting for the full manifestation of God’s Kingdom,我們正等候上帝國度完全地彰顯,

and this is the reason for Jesus today to exhort us to pray always (Luke 18:1).這是今天耶穌勸勉我們常常禱告的理由(路十八1)。

At other occasions he admonishes us to be on the watch by praying (Luke 21:36), 在其他的場合,他勸導我們要警醒,不斷地禱告(路二十一36),

and to be alert! “You do not know when that time will come” (Mark 13:33). 要警醒,「因為你們不知道那時刻甚麼時候臨到。」(可十三33,《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

Also the apostles exhorts us to pray incessantly: 並且, 使徒們也勸勉我們不住禱告:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)「要常常喜樂,常常禱告,在任何環境中都要感謝。這是上帝為你們這些屬於基督耶穌的人所定的旨意。」(帖前五16-18,《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

We should pray in the spiritual battle;在屬靈的爭戰中,我們應當禱告;

it’s through prayer that we put on the armour of God so that we will stand against the devil’s schemes. 我們乃藉著禱告,穿上上帝的盔甲,以致我們可以抵禦魔鬼的詭計。

And St Paul continues: 保羅並繼續說:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel  for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:18-20).

「你們要在禱告中祈求上帝的幫助,常常隨從聖靈的帶領禱告。要事事警醒,不可放鬆;要不斷地為信徒們禱告。也要為我禱告,求上帝賜給我適當的話,在我該講的時候,能夠大膽地開口傳揚福音的奧祕。雖然我帶著鎖鍊,我卻是為這福音的緣故作特使的。你們要祈求主賜給我勇氣講應該講的話。」

(弗六18-20,《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

How should we practice incessant prayer? 我應當怎樣實踐不住的禱告?

On the personal level we may somehow have a prayerful awareness in the middle of ordinary life, and thus often communicate with God. 從個人層面,我們或許在平常的生活中有禱告的意識/覺察,因而慣常與上主溝通。

This prayerful awareness all day long is a living in never ending prayer這種整日的禱告意識/覺察其實是一種生活在不停的禱告中,

even though we do not speak out loudly or think the words of prayers all the time. 縱然我們沒有大聲說出來,或全時間都想及祈禱的說話。

We just know that our life is walking with Jesus.我們只知道我們的生命一直與耶穌同行。

The prayerful awareness means that conscious contact with God can be made at every moment.禱告的意識/覺察表示,在每一刻都可以和上主有意識的接觸。

As a help to have this prayerful awareness it’s good to have specific more or less fixed times for prayer during the day. 要幫助這種禱告的意識/覺察,在日常中定立相對定時定候的祈禱,會有好處。

The first church in Jerusalem as well as the early church had prayer times several times every day, but most importantly at evening and at morning.最早在耶路撒冷和初期的教會每天都有幾次禱告,但最重要的是在晚上和早晨的時間。

In Acts 2 we read使徒行傳二章42、46及47節(《現代中文譯本修訂版》)這樣說:

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 他們專心向使徒們領教,參加團契生活,分享愛筵,一起禱告

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts [for prayer]. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,他們同心合意,天天在聖殿裏聚會[禱告],又分別在各人的家裏分享愛筵,以歡喜純潔的心一起用飯,

 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.頌讚上帝,跟人人保持和睦的關係。主天天把得救的人數加給他們。

And from Acts 3 we know that從使徒行傳三章我們知道,

it was for the appointed prayers in the Temple that the apostles met in the temple courts:使徒們在聖殿的院內的時候,正是為了那定時的禱告。

1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.

1有一天,下午三點禱告的時間,彼得約翰上聖殿去。」《現代中文譯本修訂版》

The apostles knew that it pleased God to receive the prayers of his people, since God had ordered the prayer times in his Law (cf. e.g. Numbers 28:1–8). 使徒們知道,上帝喜悅聽祂子民的禱告,因為上帝在祂的律法中吩咐他們按時祈禱(參民二十八1-8)。

Outside Jerusalem there was no Temple, but this didn’t hinder the first generation of Christians to assemble for prayer, e.g 1 Corinthians 14:26-33. 在耶路撒冷以外並沒有聖殿,這卻沒有阻礙第一代的基督徒聚集祈禱,例如哥林多前書十四26至33節。

And the purpose was to make “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving … for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). 目的是「要為所有的人向上帝祈求,禱告,代求,感恩;也要為君王和所有在位的人禱告,使我們能過安寧、和平、端正、虔敬的生活。這是好的,是我們的救主上帝所喜歡的。上帝要人人得救,都認識真理。」(提前二1-4,《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

 

These daily prayer times, especially evening and morning, has set the pattern for the daily prayer life of the church and of individual Christians up to now這些每天的禱告時刻,特是晚上和早晨,已確立了教會和基督徒個人的日常禱告的模式,直至現在,

– not the least in Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican churches –不單在正教會、天主教會和聖公會,

and we also do so on weekdays in Christ Temple: Morning, Midday and Evening. 我們在平日的早上、正午和晚上,也在這聖殿祈禱。

These fixed hours for prayer set the pattern for our daily prayerful awareness of being in God’s presence.這些固定的祈禱時間,也為我們每天在上主臨在中的祈禱覺察,確立了模式。

Another help for this incessant prayer is to use short prayers that are easy to remember. 另一種有助不住禱告的,是運用容易記憶的簡短禱文。

You may change Bible verses that contain Christ’s promises into short prayers. 你可以將包含基督的應許的聖經經文轉變為簡短禱文。

As an example you may have read Romans 8.38-39:你可能讀過的羅馬書八章38至39節,可以作為例子:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

因為我確信,甚麼都不能夠使我們跟上帝的愛隔絕。不管是死,是活;是天使,是靈界的掌權者;是現在,是將來;是高天,是深淵;在整個被造的宇宙中,沒有任何事物能夠把我們跟上帝藉著我們的主基督耶穌所給我們的愛隔絕起來。(《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

 

You may want to remember this promise. 你可能想記住這個應許。

To do so you extract the essence of the promise and make it into a short prayer:這樣做的話,你可以抽取這應許的精髓,化為一段簡短的禱文:

No power on earth地上掌權的

can separate me from the love of God都不能叫我和上帝的愛隔絕

that is in Christ Jesus.這愛就在基督裏

God, I thank you!上帝,我感謝祢!

 

Now you have a short prayer that you may use at any time and in any place, 如今你就有一段禱文,可以隨時隨地都用得著,

even the most stressing situations as you need to affirm your contact with Jesus Christ 即使在最大壓力的景況下,當你需要確定和耶穌基督接觸的時候,

Such a short prayer is a kind of affirmation. 這樣的短禱其實是一種堅持。

You affirm the presence of Christ or God as well as your confidence in God-in-Christ to God himself, to yourself,你向上帝祂自己,也向你自己,堅持基督或上主的臨在,堅持你對基督裡的上帝的信心,

and you confront every life-threatening power.以致你也向每一種威脅生命的權勢對質。

Thereby reality often is experienced in a new way consistent to the content of your affirmation.因而你往往就以一種新的方式體驗真實,這種體驗和你所堅持的是一致的。

This kind of short prayers helps us into the experience that Christ is with us always – 這種形式的簡短禱文幫助我們進入基督乃常與我們同在的經驗中-

even unto the ends of the earth and the end of times. 甚至直到世界的盡頭和時代的終結。

I hope these thoughts may help you to pray always and never give up.我希望這些思想可以幫助你們常常禱告,永不放棄。

Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit願榮耀歸與父、子、聖靈

as it was in the beginning, now is, and ever shall be. Amen昔在、今在、永在,永無窮盡,阿們。

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A service

This service falls in three parts:
  • A time for faith formation / encouragement
  • Eucharist and Communion
  • A time in the healing presence of God

A time for faith formation / encouragement

Worship-songs and Body Prayers (you will find good ideas here: http://www.borgso.no/dvdenglish.html)

Invocation and Proclamation:

All: Jesus, King of Righteousness,

Son of God and Son of Man!

Send us your light and your truth!

Jesus, Light of the World,

Son of God and Son of Man!

We desire to sit at your feet

And to receive your word in our heart and mind!

Jesus, King of Righteousness,

Son of God and Son of Man!

Send us your light and your truth!

Words for encouragement

This might be a testimony, a short Bible reflection, an “inspiration” (see examples in the booklet: Christfulness http://www.lulu.com/shop/ole-skjerb%C3%A6k-madsen/christfulness-an-introduction/paperback/product-21646227.html We will add inspirations on www.christfulness.net under “Ressources”.

Meditation

Eucharist and Communion

Hymn (prepararing bread and wine for the Eucharist)

Eucharistic Prayer

Priest I:                      The Lord be with you!

Answer:                      And with your spirit!

Priest I:                      Lift up your hearts!

All:                              We lift them up unto the Lord!

Priest I:                      Let us give thanks unto our Lord God!

All:                              It is meet and right so to do!

Priest I: It is very meet and right, that we should at all times give thanks unto thee, Father God, Almighty, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Through Him you did call forth all creatures out of darkness. Also humans were created by you; in your image you created us. You gave us responsibility for this earth, and you allowed us to recognise your presence in all which you have created, that we as one human race of brothers and sisters would serve you and worship your presence. We confess that we have broken your confidence, but when we sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, you did send to us. Christ your Son, the sun of righteousness with healing in his wings. He did show us the kingdom of Light, men descended through the cross into the darkness as a corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies. But he rose from the dead as the first fruit of restored humankind.

Priest II: Father, in the name of Jesus Christ we approach you as members of the earthly creation and as those to whom you have called to be responsible for our fellow creatures. We offer the world, ourselves and our fellow creature to your healing love.

Priest II or Deacon:

We will unite in love for the Earth and all living beings and ask God, that God’s love in Jesus Chris twill enlighten the Earth… enclose all of humanity… and especially heal XXX (mention an area in need of prayer) and seal the door of the house of the evil and all destructive energies.

Silent prayers

Let us pray for persons we know in need of help because of suffering in mind, spirit or body, or for those who feel trapped in destructive patterns of life or lost in a darkness without God, that God renews, restores and heals their lives.

Silent prayer.

Priest II: Lord, thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created!

All: And thou renewest the face of the earth!

The healing prayer is taken up in the Eucharistic prayer:

Priest I: Father! You are God, greater than principalities, powers, authorities, or names in this age, but in the age to come, yea in all ages. Thus the entire creation will be fulfilled in the worship of you, and thus we with your congregation on earth as in heaven, chorusing with all angels sing the praise of your glory:

All: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

 Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Priest I: See to us, o God, [he takes the bread in his hands] and bless, and sanctify this bread, yea send your Holy Spirit and make it unto us the body (+) of your Son Jesus Christ,

All: Who in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread, and, when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

Priest I: See to us, o God, [he takes the cup in his hands] and bless, and sanctify this wine, yea send your Holy Spirit and make it unto us the blood (+) of your Son Jesus Christ,

All: Who after supper took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins; do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me.

The breaking of the bread

During the breaking of the bread all may sing Agnus Dei; after the breaking of the bread all pray The Lord’s Prayer

Communion

Conclusion:

Priest I: Let us end the seasonal service taking refuge in the living God!

All: With all my heart I take refuge

In God Most High,

Who created all things,

The merciful Father, source of all goodness.

With all my heart I take refuge

In Christ, the Redeemer from sin,

Who restores my true nature,

The perfect and mysterious Word.

With all my heart I take refuge

In the One who embraces the universe,

Who at all times and in all places

Responds to our needs,

The pure and tranquil Holy Spirit.

Hymn

Blessing

A time in the healing presence of God

This is an open ended section. We will listen to meditative music. Some will pray or meditate for themselves. Others will lit a candle or kneel at the altar. There is offered individual prayers for healing, counseling, listening, confession.

People leaves, when they are ready.

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Liturgical prayers for the Healing of nature and environment

An important aspect of Christfulness is seeing the fullness of Christ as the restoration of creation, bringing humankind and nature to their fulfilment. We were created through God’s Word (Logos) who laid down his own nature into creation as the law of life, i.e. his serving love. Thus, as this order has been distorted through sin, God’s Logos had to become human to restore humankind once more to become stewards of God’s creation and reinstalling the law of life. Following the law of life is serving each other and the whole in love.

In the liturgy we in a microcosmic event proleptically experience the order of creation being restored and have a glimpse of the fulfilment when everything that is created through the Logos of God is united to him. Through him and in him and for him everything is created.

We present two ways of forming a healing prayer on behalf of creation. The first one is a Eucharistic Prayer used at the eight Celtic festivals following the cycle of the Sun through the seasons of the year. This is a very Western liturgy as it makes use of the four elements as physical representations of creation.

The second one is very Eastern. The framework is the perhaps oldest Chinese Christian liturgical text (8th Century), a praise of the holy Trinity. These Christians made an attempt to express their Christian faith in Chinese religious language. The translation I use is mainly from Martin Palmer: The Jesus Sutras. Rediscovering the lost religion of Taoist Christianity. London 2001, but some expressions are taken from other translations. Inserted into this praise follows the interceding for creation. Usually it is said that Chinese religion knows five elements, but that is a too static and material interpretation. Phases are a better translation as its not only elements in Western meaning, but also colors, seasons, tastes, corners of the world, smells, senses, domestic animals, parts of the body, planets. The prayer for restoring creation is more about flow than fixed elements, as we pray God to breathe the Holy Spirit into creation to restore the flow of Qi (the vital spirit or energy) in Wu Xing (the five seasons, phases and processes). Creation is also related to Tao that is manifested in creation as the way (Tao means Way) to follow to be in a simple harmony with the flow of life. We meet Tao as God’s creative Word (Logos) who was incarnated in Jesus Christ to restore creation.

A Eucharistic prayer as healing prayer for creation.

Priest:       The Lord be with you!

Answer:    And with your spirit!

Priest:       Lift up your hearts!

All:            We lift them up unto the Lord!

Priest:       Let us give thanks unto our Lord God!

All:            It is meet and right so to do!

Priest:       It is very meet and right, that we should at all times give thanks unto thee, Father God,

Almighty, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Through Him you called forth all creatures out of darkness. Also humans were created by you; in your image you created us. You gave us responsibility for this earth, and you allowed us to recognise your presence in all which you have created, that we as one human race of brothers and sisters would serve you and worship your presence. We confess that we have broken your confidence, but when we sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, you did send to us. Christ your Son, the sun of righteousness with healing in his wings. He showed us the kingdom of Light, but descended through the cross into the darkness as a corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies. But he rose from the dead as the first fruit of restored humankind.

All:           Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, we approach you as members of the earthly creation and as those you have called to be responsible for our fellow creatures. We offer the world, ourselves and our fellow creature into your healing love.

                                Now follows the healing prayer within the Eucharistic prayer.

Assisting participant 1 brings a crystal to the North of the altar:

                We offer you the element of earth, the world of the minerals and every which you have created out the earthly matter, plants, trees, birds, animals and humans.

Assisting participant 2 brings a bottle of pure water to the West of the altar:

                We offer you the element of water and every creature which lives in the water and every creature which you refresh and sustain through it.

Assisting participant 3 brings a burning candle to the South of the altar:

                We offer you the element of fire which transforms matter into energy, and we offer you everything that has its warmth and light from the fire or contains its nature.

Assisting participant 4 brings some feathers to the East of the altar:

                We offer you the element of air in which we breathe, and we offer you every creature that breathes and lives in the air.

Priest:       Let us hold out our hands towards the altar as a symbol of our world and say:

All:           The entire created world belongs to you, God:

                the physical world with the elements,

                the psychical world that contains life, feelings, and thoughts,

                the invisible world of spirit in which we open ourselves to you.

                Heal the nature, the creatures of the earth and humankind, and make this world whole.

Assisting participant 5:               

Imagine how God breathes life into the world and unites all creatures and humankind in one breath, that we live, and move, and have our being in God.

                Short silence.

                And imagine how the divine light of Christ, accepted into our hearts, becomes a light to our fellow creatures and humankind.

                Silence.

Priest:       Lord, when you send your Spirit, they are created!

All:           And you renew the face of the earth!

                The healing prayer is taken up in the Eucharistic prayer:

Priest I:     Father! You are God, greater than principalities, powers, authorities, or names in this age, but in the age to come, yea in all ages. Thus, the entire creation will be fulfilled in the worship of you, and thus we with your congregation on earth as in heaven, chorusing with all angels sing the praise of your glory:

All:           Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts,

heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

                Hosanna in the highest.

                Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

                Hosanna in the highest.

Priest I:     See to us, o God, [he takes the bread in his hands] and bless, and sanctify this bread, yea send your Holy Spirit and make it unto us the body (+) of your Son Jesus Christ,

All:           Who in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread, and, when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

Priest I:     See to us, o God, [he takes the cup in his hands] and bless, and sanctify this wine, yea send your Holy Spirit and make it unto us the blood (+) of your Son Jesus Christ,

All:           Who after supper took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.

 

B Praise to the Trinity and lifting up creation to God

  

L:              The highest skies are in love with you

                The great Earth opens its palms in peace.

                Our truest being is anchored in your purity.

                You are God: Compassionate Father of the Three.

All:            Everything praises you, sounding its true note.

                All the Enlightened chant praises.

                Every being takes its refuge in You

                And the light of Your Holy Compassion frees us all.

Men:          Beyond knowing, beyond words

                You are the truth, steadfast for all time.

                Compassionate Father, Radiant Son,

                Pure Breath of God – three in one.

Women:      In the midst of kings and regents,

You are supreme

                Among the World Famous,

You are Lord of everything.

Men:          You live perpetually in the light

                The light which enters every sphere.

                You have never been seen

                No eye can see Your Form

                Or Your Unclouded Nature.

Women:      Among all spirits You alone are unchanging

                Making all that is good, beyond reckoning.

                The root and essence – the thing itself!

All:            Today I reflect on your Compassion and Grace,

                I delight in that wondrous bliss that covers our land.

 

 

Lifting up creation to God

 

 

L:              Compasionate Father, Holy World Honoured God. You manifested yourself to us calling the world into being through your Son, the eternal Dao, and breathing your lifegiving Spirit into creation.

                King of Heaven and Earth let your love for us in your incarnated Dao, Jesus Christ, restore the order of creation, that we may follow your Dao. Breathe your Spirit into creation to restore the flow of Qi in Wu Xing (the five seasons, phases and processes): that we rejoice

L lifting up the branch:

                in the season of Spring and the vitality of life in plants, trees, and all that grows; that we rejoice

L lifting up the burning candle:

                in the season of Summer full of swelling, flowering and brimming with energy; that we rejoice

L lifting up the stone:

                in the earth and in the Long Summer, dampening and fruitful; that we rejoice

L lifting up the metal:

                in the Autumn season and the work of harvesting and collecting; that we rejoice

L lifting up the water:

                In the season of Winter, where stillness and storage pervades.

L burning some incense:

                Our life comes from you Compasionate Father, Eternal Dao and lifegiving Spirit

All:            Receive our praise and prayers as a sweet savour of incence

 

Continued praise of the Trinity

 

L:              Messiah, Great Holy Son of the Honoured One

                Saviour of countless of the suffering souls –

All:            Supreme King, Will of Ages,

                Compassionate Joyous Lamb

                Loving all who suffer

                Fearless as You strive for us.

                Free us of the karma of our lives,

                Bring us Back to our original nature,

                And deliver us from all danger.

Women:      Divine Son invited

                To stand on the right of the Father,

                Great Messiah, hear our prayers

                Send Your raft of salvation

                To save us from the burning streams!

All:            Great Teacher, I stand in awe of the Father

                Great Teacher, I am awed by the Holy Lord

Great Teacher, I am speechless before the King of Dharma

L:              Everything looks to You,

                Shower us with Your Healing Rain!

                Help us to overcome, give life to what was withered,

                And water the roots of kindness in us.

All:            Great Holy World-Honoured One,

                Boundless Sea of Compassion

                And the Clean Pure Wind

                To you be honour and glory, now and evermore. Amen

 

 

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Christfulness retreats

Do you or a group of friends like some time for reflection and meditation, then a retreat in the beautifull surroundings of Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre will be the right place for you. Go to the calender on this website, and book a retreat. Please share with friends and colleagues:

Posters:

You can print the poster in Cantonese here:  

Christfulness Retreat_Sep-Nov_Chi-已轉檔

And in English here:

Christfulness Retreat_Sep-Nov_Eng-已轉檔

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a poster in English: Christfulness Retreat_Sep-Nov_Eng-已轉檔

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Today is Sunday

This may be your day of relaxing – of feeling free. Tomorrow it’s work, and a week full of work is lying ahead of you.

You may wonder how your relationship with your colleagues is. How will you meet them? Some of them may have hurt you. Some of them are not appreciating of what you do and of who you are. Sometimes they are like enemies. Sometimes they will slander you, and meet you with nasty and degrading remarks.

Is it possible to see your colleagues with new eyes? Is it possible to see yourself with new eyes?

It has been a great help to me that Jesus talks in such a trusting way of God. He calls God Father in a very intimate way. He makes me see, that we can be like children in relation to their caring parents in our relation to God. I have found good help with this affirmation.

I am a child of God

I am loved

And I am appreciated.

God, I thank you!

Through this affirmation as a faith statement to God I also remind myself of my worth. And thus I’m not so much influenced by other’s judgment on me – what they think concerning me, – how they act towards me. They cannot make me less than I am even if they hate me or neglect me, because -I’m a child of God, loved and appreciated.

From this position I may see my colleagues and those who I have considered to be my enemies with new eyes. I’m not the only child of God in the world; the others are also created in God’s image as God’s children. Therefore I begin to look for Christ in them, and my attitude to them changes. They may be potential friends. Often my changed attitude will also change the relationship with them.

To remind myself and to proclaim it as my faith, I every day pray:

God, You who are “I AM”!

I recognise the working of Your Spirit in the longing of humans for the peace of Your Kingdom,

And in their longing for Truth, Beauty and Goodness.

I recognise the presence of Your servant love in men and women of good will

And in all who dedicate themselves to walk the way of discipleship.

May the power of Your Holy Spirit flow in us and guide us

To the recognition of all Truth and into practical service.

May Your Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, inspire us to servant love

As co-workers of the Kingdom of God.

May I find my place in Your one work for the restoration of the Earth and the human race – in a humble spirit, in purity, truth, and love.

 

May God bless your Sundays and the weeks to come.

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Christfulness in Chinese – Introduction by the author, Ole Skjerbæk Madsen

Tao Fong Shan Christian center has just published a collection of Spiritual exercises from the Courses and Retreats under the heading “CHRISTFULNESS”.

 

Introduction by the author, Ole Skjerbæk Madsen

The English word Christfulness sounds like Mindfulness – even though it is a biblical concept (Ephesians 4:13). This similarity is intentional, because I wanted to introduce Christian spirituality and understanding of human nature into a milieu where people seek spiritual practices – whether secular or religious – that might improve their wellbeing in body, mind and spirit.

Christfulness was first introduced at spiritual fairs (expos) in Denmark. In the West inspiration has come from the East for attaining a holistic wellbeing. Practices of a religious origin were transformed and even secularized. Thus, Mindfulness has been introduced to the West as a nonreligious practice to cope with stress and pain. Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism as a part of the noble eightfold path leading to enlightenment, and Buddhist teachers have generously shared mindfulness with non-Buddhists as a means to greater awareness – without introducing the whole “program” and without proselytism. In the West mindfulness is not seen in the wider context of enlightenment. The main idea is to reduce stress and to manage pain. To some practitioners this is a fully secularized practice that is often combined with other practices, e.g. cognitive therapy and positive psychology and positive pedagogy – and in this secularized form it has come back to the East. However, in the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at University of Massachusetts that introduced Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction they operate with two epistemologies – that of dharma and that of science, medicine, and psychology. Thus you may expect to meet a worldview and understanding of human nature that is influenced by Buddhist thoughts and experience. Other teachers and practitioners are unaware of what worldview and understanding of human nature that may or may not be involved in practicing mindfulness.

We present our spiritual practices as Christfulness in this arena of secularized and religious spiritualities to be totally transparent of the basis for our spiritual practices. When we use Christfulness as a term for Christian spirituality we set our practices within a specific Christian worldview and understanding of the human person. We state that we practice our faith with a specific aim: we are aiming at maturity and unity of humans in relation to one another and in relation to the surrounding world. Thus, Christfulness can be understood as a spiritual process towards maturity and wholeness – in traditional Christian language this is a process of sanctification – a process that starts at the individual level but is only fulfilled in relation to others and to God.

We follow 4 phases as it will be described in the book

  • an experience of God’s love in Christ as a protecting and accompanying presence (Christ in me)
  • an experience of “Christ in me, the hope of glory” (Christ in me)
  • an experience of seeing Christ or the image of God in others (Christ in you), and
  • a vision of a redeemed mankind as the body of Christ (Me/us/together in Christ).

We emphasise the Christian content of our spiritual practices not to exclude others or to devaluate other practices. We think we have much to learn from meeting the spirituality of other peoples of faith as well as from secularised forms of spirituality. We recognize the good results in stress reduction and coping with pain, not least in Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction. We recognise some of our own practices and similar experiences in what are shared from other practices than our own. And we invite others to practice with us.

We hope together with people from other traditions to meet in an open space for generous sharing. We know that many people have found a common ground in meditating together even though coming from different backgrounds. We likewise want our own spiritual practice to bring about such an open space and meeting place, and it is exactly for this reason that we emphasize our basis in Christian faith. This transparency and honesty give our guests and fellow pilgrims in spirituality the right to be themselves as they are invited to take part in our spiritual life.

Thus, you are welcome. We offer you to drink of the water of life that we ourselves have tasted. We want to share with you what has made our hearts whole.

Jesus taught us not to be stressed, not to worry, because God is loving-kindness, and each one of us is a loved child of God. Come, let us join in a spiritual journey together.

 

The book can be ordered from TFSCC at contact@tfscc.org  – Price 58 HKD

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Christfulness in Chinese – Preface by former director of Areopagos dr. Raag Rolfsen

Tao Fong Shan Christian center has just published a collection of Spiritual exercises from the Courses and Retreats under the heading “CHRISTFULNESS”.    

Preface by former director of Areopagos dr. Raag Rolfsen

                                          The Dream

Faith is a desperate act. At certain times, nothing testifies to the promises of faith. When the word reaches you that someone you know died, the memories of the close ones you lost bursts forward. It blows to pieces the protecting covers that you have built to contain the pain. The grief returns with a power that is almost as strong as the day she passed away. In this very blast of sadness, the fragility of your own life also becomes evident. You live, and one unknown day you are gone.

The ridicule of faith also reveals itself when we realize the injustice and suffering around us. The inequality of wealth leaves us without words. How can it be that some few people can control most of the riches and resources of our world? Indifferent leaders crush the hopes of more political freedom with a shrug. Soldiers use rape and abuse as weapon of war. A world that we believed would move forward to humanity is today taking consistent steps back to the most ruthless heritage of our past.

The pain is also inside. The wounds inflicted by a brutal and insensitive father just reject to heal. They remain a lifelong cause of suffering and mental confusion that we cannot control. Many times, it steers us in directions we do not want to go. An uncontrollable power forces us to go to places where nothing awaits us but our own destruction.

Buddhism represents the wisdom tradition and religion that accepts this situation as real. It teaches us that the longing, striving and craving to change this condition only adds to the pain. It therefore invites us, as a decisive step on the way to peace, to accept this situation as real. The emptiness that mindfulness seeks is a state of mind and body that admits this reality. It is neither an abstract nothingness nor a destructive and negative denial of values. It is an insight into and acceptance of how life is.

This insight is not unbiblical. The first words of Ecclesiastes read, “’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless,’” (Ecclesiastes 1:1). The biblical teacher continues to proclaim how the wheel of life continues to turn with no purpose. There is nothing new under the sun.

The coming of Christ, and thus Christfulness, is not an escape from this reality. Christ represents God’s action when approaching this reality seriously – and lovingly. Christ is not a hero or a king solving the problems of human reality with his might. He is essentially the embodiment of this human condition, of this pain, this desolation, this poverty – this desperation. It is only when seeing this reality as it is incarnated in Christ, that we can catch a glimpse of that which supersedes it. In the vulnerability of the human condition we can learn to see the possibility a love that transcends this reality.

Christfulness, seen in this way, presupposes mindfulness. To experience Christ can only happen through accepting the emptiness of existence, and, in that very wisdom, to be imbued by a stubborn hope for release. Somehow, the eastern and western traditions meet in this experience.

Faith is a desperate act. Christfulness is a practice that can give us strength to cling to the hope that says that goodness, fellowship, and love is a possibility in the world as it is. The Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge has given expression to this insistent hope that is inherent in human reality.[1]

IT IS THAT DREAM

It is that dream we carry within us

that something wonderful will happen

that it has to happen –

that time will open up

that the heart will open up
That doors will open up

that the rock will open up

that springs will burst forth –

that the dream will open up

that we one morning moment shall slowly sail
into a bay we did not know were there

[1] Olav H. Hauge, «Det er den draumen», in, Dropar i austavind (1966).

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Christfulness in Chinese – Preface by Dr. Tong, Wing-sze

Tao Fong Shan Christian center has just published a collection of Spiritual exercises from the Courses and Retreats under the heading “CHRISTFULNESS”.

 

Preface by Dr, Tong Wing-sze and contents:

湯序

每逢參加奧勒牧師主領之「基督滿全」(Christfulness)退修,總讓我想起1936年道風山基督教叢林出版之《東亞基督教道友會禮拜儀式和聖禮》,本山的禮文書除載有早上的晨殿、黃昏的晚殿、公共懺悔、個人懺悔、靜坐、基督讚以及景尊頌外,其中「道風山歌」的歌詞更是我們在山上學習「基督滿全」的最佳寫照:

美矣哉,吾等之道風,崢嶸崛起萬山中;

樹林間鳥語清晨好,采玉雲天夕陽紅!

早晚蒙聖靈之引導,聖殿內或松下祈禱,內心得蒙主光照。

潛心修養,愛惜光陰,彼此勉勵,親愛精誠;

成大工,覺己救人!

從2017年起,道風山挪威差會亞略巴古為了延續開山祖艾香德牧師之遠象,交通中西靈性傳統,差派丹麥分會同工奧勒牧師來港,不單擔任道風山基督教叢林牧師,更藉此推動「基督滿全」日常靈修操練法至香港以及其他華語地區,作為北歐教會送給華人信徒的屬靈瑰寶。

過去兩年間,奧勒牧師每月定期在山上舉行「基督滿全」退修,多次與本港不同教會,為中國內地牧者,在本山基督教靈修指導高級文憑課程以及信義宗神學院開辦「基督滿全」課程,惠及香港,內地以及東南亞各地信徒。在以上各有精彩的「基督滿全」靈修操練中,我們遇見很多潛心修養之同道,亦接收了很多有關「基督滿全」靈修操練法中文資料之殷切需求。

適逢踏進道風山開山九十週年紀念,得蒙道風山挪威差會亞略巴古的鼎力支持,本山將奧勒牧師「基督滿全」日常靈修操練法之中文教材集合成書。除了在引言中介紹「什麼是靈性」以及在總結中以「身體禱告」作默想練習外,本書主要分為五大部分簡介「基督滿全」以及其四大面向:基督與我一起(Christ with me)、基督在我裡面(Christ in me)、基督在你裏面(Christ in you)和我們在基督裏面(Together in Christ)。每章輔以四則「基督滿全」靈修操練資料,供讀者修習。

本書得以出版,見證著道風山挪威差會亞略巴古繼往開來,承繼「十字蓮花」使命,藉此謹向亞略巴古總幹事洛克牧師致以衷心謝忱。本書付梓之際,特別要感謝為本書作內文翻譯的明心,以及負責序言翻譯、封面設計與內文排版的敬業。最後,僅以「道風山歌」向奧勒牧師致以晚輩最高之敬意:

 

道風普扇,遍及西東,

天國降臨,世界大同!

此聖工,努力同負!

 

湯泳詩

道風山基督教叢林主任

 

羅序

湯序

自序

 

引言                                                      什麼是靈性?

第一章                什麼是「基督滿全」(Christfulness)?

私人的懺悔

洗滌心靈

心靈的醫治

彼此代禱、醫治心靈

第二章                基督與我一起(Christ with me)

  1. 聆聽主的聲音
  2. 耶穌默想
  3. 創造你的確據
  4. 一個簡單的日常禱告

第三章                基督在我裡面(Christ in me)

耶穌釘十架的聖經默想

耶穌禱文修習建議

以耶穌禱文為他人代禱

以主禱文作代禱

第四章                基督在你裏面(Christ in you)

先知恩賜

領受聖靈的指引

找到自己恩賜的指引

明陣步行

第五章                我們在基督裏面(Together in Christ)

世界的光

你已見過那真光

我常與你同在

服事

 

總結                                                      如何默想————身體禱告

The book can be ordered from TFSCC at contact@tfscc.org – Price 58 HKD

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Christfulness-day at Tao Fong Shan

Saturday 25th May 2019

Christfulness is Christian spirituality and a Christian understanding of human nature. Christfulness combines practice and teaching in a way that invites to experience.

We use the term Christfulness to signify the aim of Christian spiritual practices – “to become mature, attaining at the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

You are welcome for a whole day or at any time that suits you. And we will like to share with what has made our hearts whole.

At all sessions there’ll be a short introduction to Christfulness.

All activities are free. Donations for Tao Fond Shan Christian Center are welcome

The Art Shop will be open in between the sessions, and you will find our new book in Chinese on Christfulness.

Refreshments will be offered in between sessions.

As a sub theme of the day we have chosen: Paradise lost and found

The Paradise theme is taken up, because Christianity and The Pure Land Buddhism know a longing for Paradise. In the book of Genesis, Paradise is described as our original home, a place of harmony between all creatures. This is now lost, but it is restored to us in Christ. In the Pure Land Buddhism, Paradise is where we go invoking the name of Amitabha Buddha. We share the longing for the beautiful and harmonious future home. Speaking of Paradise lost and found again is a story of what is our human nature, and what is our relation to God and creation.

Venue:Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre

Facilitator:Rev. Ole Skjerbæk Madsen (a Danish Pastor, Founder of Christfulness Spirituality)

Programme:There’s a specific topic and practice for each session(A one-way transportation will be provided at the end of each session)

Fee:Free (Donations are welcomed)

Quota:12pax per session (Participant can enroll one session only)

Enquiry:23863220 or  bd@tfscc.org

Enrollment:www.tfscc.org/bd/christfulnessday

The program of the day

10:00-11:30 am: “Christ in you the hope of glory”

10:00 am: Morning Eucharist in the Meditation Room

This is a service combining elements of East and West, past and present.

The sermon will be a short introduction to Christfulness

The sharing of bread and wine at the Holy Communion is a foretaste of Paradise.

10:45 am: An individual time for meditation

Introduction to praying the Jesus-prayer (A meditative prayer practice from the Orthodox Christianity).

You use the time you wish meditation by yourself.

When you have finished your meditation time, please, leave the room quietly. You are welcome to stay, to visit the art shop or take the shuttle down. The shuttle for Tai Wai leaves at 11:45.

01:30 – 3:00 pm: Healing of the heart

01:30 pm: Midday prayer in Meditation Room

The prayer time opens with a body prayer version of the Jesus-prayer and includes a guided meditation of the healing of the heart.

02:15 pm: Walking the labyrinth as part of an ongoing healing of the heart

Introduction, followed by practice in the TFS-labyrinth

The Labyrinth of medieval Europe was conceived of as a pilgrimage to the New Jerusalem; thus, it’s a kind of Paradise meditation, finding the peace of Paradise in the heart as a meeting place with God’s love

You will walk the labyrinth without further guidance, but you’ll receive a suggestion of how to walk the labyrinth.

03:00 pm: Break / Visit the art shop

The Shuttle leaves at 3:15 pm

03.00-4:30 pm: Paradise lost and found

03:00 pm: Short reflection (talk) on Paradise lost and found in Meditation Room, followed by a Guided paradise meditation

03:30 pm: Sharing and reflection time concerning our understanding of human nature and of God.

04:00 pm: Evening prayer with a body prayer version of the Jesus-prayer

04:30 pm: Visit the art shop

The Shuttle leaves at 4:45 pm

 

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Praying with others for the cleansing of the heart

When we pray with people for the cleansing of the heart, we follow the pattern of the Christfulness meditation. You’ll find a guided version of this meditation on You Tube:

Christfulness meditation:

First, introduce yourself and if appropriate ask for the person’s name. If he or she wishes a Christfulness cleansing of the heart prayer, explain briefly, what Christfulness is:

Christfulness involves being filled by Christ, and by God’s love in Christ. This is the secret, which makes humans whole: Christ in us, the hope of glory!
This means, that when we feel ourselves surrounded by God’s love in Jesus Christ, and soaked in this love, we experience being completely us, as God’s beloved children, and God’s light shines clearly in us and from us out into the world.

Explain that this light, God’s holiness or image in us, can be dimmed by worry, pain, suffering and false conceptions, which must be washed away, so the fullness of Christ can grow in us.

When we speak of the hope of glory, it means that glory (God’s presence, love and restorative light in Christ) is not something distant, but a goal, which affects our present time.

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to the person and to show Jesus’ open heart to him or her.
Pray for comfort and trust in God’s love in Jesus Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help the guest to let go of anything, which masks God’s love or glory in the person.

Pray that the guest will receive peace, joy and love from the open heart of Jesus Christ.

With every breathing out your heart and your mind is cleansed more and more. And with every breathing in, Christ lives more and more in your heart and your mind….

When you have prayed for some time – not only with words but also silently in your heart, eventually using the gift of speaking in tongues, and when you feel the person has achieved this cleansing, you thank God can say:

With the finishing exhalations, send the peace and joy of Jesus Christ out to the world around you…

You say a blessing over the guest (you may ask if it is okay).

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