Tuesday, November 15, 2016

人之初, 性本善

Their Stories = Our Stories = My Stories

Years ago at the University of Chicago campus, one of my classmates asked me some origin of the oriental culture/tradition.  I quoted him the following brief statement in Chinese:

人之初, 性本善. 性相近; 習相遠.

The following week he gave me his insightful translation:

In the beginning, sex was good.
Sex kept people together; practice set people apart.

It is very hard for us to understand the words of God through the original Hebrew, Greek, Latin and/or some popular modern languages such as English, Chinese or German. 

The good news is that the Bible is full of stories that we can relate to.  In order to better understand the stories of there and then, we would have to take their stories as our stories, or rather my stories of here and now.

Text I:

 1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:1-7 NIV)

If I were Abraham, or Issac for that matter, what would I do?
Would we think twice before we sign the covenant with God?

Text 2:
18This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 
 19Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21 NIV)

Again, if I were Joseph, or Mary for that matter, what would I do?  Forget about the marriage, maybe?

Just like our faith and lives, challenges of the stories of the Bible go on and on...  

In the beginning God… At end God will still be.

For the meantime, let’s transform their stories into ours, into mine.

And open our hearts and eyes to see what we are actually becoming.