NEW CHINESE WORSHIP:
THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME BEGINS TODAY
Delivered by The Rev. Dr. Fred Vergara, missioner for Asiamerica Ministries of the Missionary Society of The Episcopal Church and priest-in-charge of St. James Episcopal Church, 84-07 Broadway, Elmhurst NY 11373. January 26, 2014.
I would like to thank and congratulate each one of you today who attended this first service of our Chinese-English Worship. You have become part of a new history in the making. One Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Today is the first step in a long and beautiful journey as a new Sunday congregation of St. James Church. We may not be many but let us not despise a small beginning. Like the parable of Jesus about the kingdom of God, we are like the mustard seed planted in the Word of God. We shall grow into a large tree where people can take shelter and be refreshed.
Some people asked me why we need a Chinese language worship and these are my three reasons:
First, it is our response to the spiritual need of the growing Chinese population in Elmhurst. As immigrants to this country, we have so many needs: material, health needs, social and financial needs. But the greatest need is spiritual. We need God. The Bible says, “Without God, we can do nothing; but with God, nothing is impossible.” And the greatest gift that the Church can share to the world is the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “ I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). I do not say it with arrogance but with respect for other religions. The uniqueness of Jesus Christ is that He is God who became human being like us, so that we might be saved from sin and death. I believe Christians were saved for two reasons, one big and the other bigger. The big reason is that we may have eternal life; the bigger reason, is that we may be bringers of God’s message of eternal life to others.
Second reason why we need a Chinese service is because worship is a language of the heart. God speaks in the language of His people. We respond in the language of our hearts. The Bible is like God’s love letter to his friends. It must be readable and understandable. There are many Chinese people in our community, especially the new immigrants who have difficulty in the English language. Mandarin is the language of their hearts. In this service, we are using Mandarin with English subtitles. Let us sing songs of praise and worship; let us hear the Word of God; and let us pray to the Lord in the language of our hearts.
Third and final reason is that Christianity is also an Asian religion. Christianity is not a foreign religion to us. Recent discoveries support the view that Asian Christianity antedates European Christianity. In 52 A.D., the Apostle Thomas (one of the twelve apostles of Jesus) went to India and established churches there until he was martyred in Madras in 72 A.D. The Nestorian Christian missionaries went to China in 635 A.D. and preached the Gospel during the Tang and the Ming dynasties. They were suppressed by imperial regimes but the imprints of their messages in ancestral tablets, shrines and historical landmarks continue to be discovered even today. There is a truth to the saying that before the European missionaries went to China, Christ was already there.
|St. Thomas, the Apostle.|
|Mar Thoma Church in India so named in honor of St. Thomas.||Mar Thoma Church is in full communion with The Episcopal Church|
|The famous Nestorian Christian Cross discovered in China with Lotus at the center of the cross. Lotus rerpesents Christ.|
|The Nestorian Cross was adapted by the EAM; the cross was designed by Christopher Denn Blaker and commissioned by former missioner for Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry, Dr. Winston Ching.|
I believe these three reasons are strong enough to convince anyone that we need to have this Worship Service in Chinese here in Elmhurst, the new Chinatown in Queens, New York, because the Chinese Americans belong to Christ and Christ belongs to them. Please spread the word around: All Are Welcome at St. James because all are welcome in Christ. Amen.
Below is the Chinese Translation
(Translated by Elizabeth Mui)
講員：韋洪道牧師 (聖公會聖雅各堂 84-07 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY)
一部份。 中國有一句俗語這樣說 :「一千英里的旅程是開始的第一部。」 今天在
（約翰福音十四: 6) 我不是說它與傲慢，但是也要尊重別的宗教。耶穌基督的
獨特性是「祂是 神，祂成為人來拯救我們，從罪惡和死亡拯救了我們。 我
上帝向我們說話是使我們從心靈回應上帝的話。 聖經像一本 神的情書寫給
對英語有困難，國語(普通話) 是他們心中的語言。 在崇拜裡，我們可以用普
的觀點。 主後 52 年，使徒多馬 (耶穌十二使徒之一) 到了印度去建立教會，
直到西元 72 年，他犧牲在馬德拉斯。 景教基督教傳教士到了中國，那年是
西元 635 年，就是在唐朝和明朝的朝代傳福音。 他們被壓制，但是他們祖