Ghost month. A period of time when the gates of hell are opened, allowing ghosts and spirits to enter our world. It is a time for them to feast on the food and drink offerings made for them.
At the height of the month, the ghost festival (the 15th day of the seventh lunar month), it is believed deceased ancestors visit the living. Around this time, people will offer food and drink, burn incense, joss paper (paper money), and various other things to the ghosts to alleviate their suffering and hunger. Also, a wash basin is provided for ghosts to wash themselves.
As we watch on from a distance, grandparents invite their grandchildren (toddlers and such) to follow their lead, worshipping their dead ancestors. Store owners pack tables full with various goods in hope of appeasing any mischievous spirits. People stand over a brazier burning mounds of joss paper…
It’s depressingly sad. I wish I could tell them there was another way, there is no reason to be scared…
Where does the Christian find joy? The apostle John gives us some insights from his first letter.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
The Great Commission, missions, missionary—these words are thrown around in Christian circles, usually, with a particular connotation of “going” somewhere to evangelise/share the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a sense of sacrifice, giving up some level of material comfort for the sake of the gospel, or leaving behind family members or the like. However, the great mistake of the Great Commission is to think only of the “going” and not realise the call is so much greater.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
— Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
Tonight, I was at a presentation of the alleged discovery of Noah’s Ark. As I sat there and listened, I began to reflect upon the significance, if any, that this could potentially have upon the Christian faith. Then I started to realise and asked myself this question: Does the discovery of Noah’s Ark (and evidence of any Biblical historical event/narrative) have any impact upon the establishment of the truth of Christianity—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, come to die for the sins of all humanity, risen on the third day in victory of the chains of sin and death? Continue reading →
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:28-30)
In stark contrast to my last article, indeed, there is a place for work, for service, for ministry… However, like my closing remark, we can become like Martha, so focused on the task at hand that we forget to come to the feet of Jesus, as does Mary. As such, those like “Martha” can, and most likely do, become weary and burdened. Yet, as Jesus reminded Martha, he does so here in Matthew, “Come to him and find rest.”