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November 2022
Issue No. 311
 

J. Pulse: the Beating Heart of a Christian Life

  (© 教聲/ ECHO)

With the Diocese of Hong Kong Island formulating ‘As a flower, as the rod, and as the light’ as its aim for developing its ministry, the Committee on Christian Nurture held a ‘J. Pulse: Walking with Christ’ event at St Stephen’s Church on 24th September, as part of this initiative. The Bishop Matthias Der gave three short speeches on the day, and the participants had their ‘Christian pulse’ checked – a series of activities in review of their Christian life. In the coming year, the Diocese of Hong Kong Island will organise more J. Pulse events, including a competition, to enliven the spiritual life of church members. 

As a flower – to blossom by God’s calling

On the day, Bishop Matthias began by inviting all who were present to check their own pulse, and give thanks to the Lord for the gift of life. The Bishop said that even though the Bible never mentioned the physical pulse or the beating heart of Jesus, we are called to ‘Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 2:5) Such a mind refers to not just the physical brain of Jesus, but his whole life as well – the life that brought us his gospel, his salvation, and his love. When believers are asked to ‘let the same mind be in them that was in Christ Jesus,’ we are to imprint our lives on the model of Jesus’ life, and live out our lives just as Jesus did.

The Bishop continued, saying that God calls his followers not by their talents or ability, but by the humility and obedience in their hearts, and their willingness to dedicate their life to God’s purposes. The Bishop recalls how during the first year of his ordained ministry, he was once tasked with visiting a middle-aged man in a troubled marriage. At that time, the Bishop himself was only married for a short while, and couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to this man’s troubles. He could only hold a casual chat with him, and gave him the usual encouragement. Years passed, and the Bishop met this man again. Though ultimately he chose a divorce, the man thanked the Bishop for that visit, for through it, God gave him an important message, and that is the biggest consolation he could find at the time.

Such is the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, that we may not know at the moment what God wishes for our lives, and yet we are sure to hear and feel exactly what he wants for us. The Bishop encouraged the faithful to learn to let go, to let the Lord in and be present in their lives – we shall respond to the needs of our times with the perspective of a spiritual life and the ethos of the Kingdom of Heaven.

As the rod – supporting each other in our journey towards love

Our world is a world of division, conflicts, and chaos. And yet one of the things we are asked to do as followers of Christ is to bear witness to reconciliation. When Jesus sacrificed his own life on the cross, the veil was torn in the temple, symbolising how through Christ, we too can reconcile with God. And so, we as Christians should be agents of reconciliation, and bring those around us closer to God. 

As we support others in our journey through life, our mission as Christians is to learn to love, to forgive, to tolerate, and to accept each one who God loves. We shall bless even those who persecute us, and we shall learn to sympathise with both the rejoicing and the grieving. We should not be arrogant in our journeys, and support all brothers and sisters who we cross paths with. No matter if it is our enemy or our neighbour, they are still the children of God, and they are all made in the image of God. We are all residents of this Earth, and we are all brothers and sisters in the family of Christ. We are all living and breathing people with feelings, and we all should be respected and loved. Such a love is something that needs nurturing and training, practising and doing, and even more so, it needs the support of our prayers.

As the light – to shine forth a path of peace and hope 

To have peace doesn’t necessarily mean we are free of all troubles. Rather, it is to be comforted by God’s calmness, faith, and courage in the face of difficulties, that we could walk on despite all hardships.

We live in an age where many are filled with disappointment, dissatisfaction, or even despair. How then could we let them feel peace and find hope? The Bishop stated that peace and hope both come from walking with the Lord, and are gifts from him. As we have faith in God’s dominion over all, the peace and hope that we find will become infectious. If you have been gifted with this peace, then you should spread it just as you spread the gospel, and bring peace to those around you, and make known the love of our Lord by our actions and words. 

Other than the Bishop’s sharing sessions, the day also saw the praise team of St Stephen’s Church and the music fellowship of St Paul’s Church leading the participants in singing hymns and praises. Emily Fok, a parishioner of St John’s Cathedral, shared a testament. Some other parishioners from St John’s also led the participants in a praise dance based on the Lord’s Prayer. The Religious Education Centre was also there, setting up a booth promoting books befitting the theme of the day.’

J. Pulse Quickening Competition

The Diocese of Hong Kong Island’s Committee on Christian Nurture will be holding a ‘J. Pulse Quickening Competition’ from October 2022 till June 2023. 

  (© 教聲/ ECHO)

********** 

As the Bishop Matthias talked about ‘As the rod – supporting each other with love’, a memory jumped into my mind. My wife is the person I was walking with in my journey. I recalled how she put her trust in God during her illness, and from that display of faith I myself was converted. On the day I also heard from other brothers and sisters how they spread the gospel in their own ways. I’ve learnt a lot. It’s as if Christ’s pulse is beating right here with me on our shared journey. Alleluia!

(Lam Kin Wai, St Stephen’s Church)
 

The Bishop taught us that our lives should be led ‘As a flower, as the rod, and as the light’. That is to say, how should we carry out this mission given to us by Christ in our lives, to enrich our days with a heart rekindled with spreading gospel. Ms Fok’s testament and gifts – some essential oil and a heart-shaped aroma stone – are like symbols of how we, after absorbing the holy words of our Lord, could diffuse them around us, and make others’ lives fragrant with Christ’s radiance. Thank you for organising such a meaningful event!

(Choi Lau Ting, Placement Seminarian at the Church of Nativity)
 

J. Pulse is an event full of goodness. One bit really stayed with me: when the Bishop talked about how he had to comfort a man about to get a divorce when he himself had only just got married. I myself experienced something very similar, as a patient once told me, ‘Dr Chim, I’m really scared!’ I said to my patient, ‘Don’t be afraid, and let us know whenever you want anything. We will do our best in helping you. I’ll check up on you later.’ It didn’t occur to me at the time that this was all she needed to find peace. In our Lord is the power over all things and all history, including every part of our lives.

(James Chim, St Paul’s Church)

<The above article was published in "Echo" Issue No. 311. Please click here>

 

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