December 6, 2013
Dear Canaan EM’ers and friends,
Yesterday, a great man died. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 – Dec. 5, 2013) lived a long and fruitful life – one that was committed to toppling apartheid in South Africa and securing freedom, justice, and peace for all South Africans. There are many, many tributes to this man, so I’ll share just a couple of thoughts.
When we look at the greatest voices in the 20th century, Mandela ranks alongside Ghandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. All three were profoundly influenced by Christianity (though Ghandhi ultimately did not convert). Mandela and King demonstrate that Christian faith can play a huge positive role in promoting democracy, human rights, justice and reconciliation.
In fact, the scripture passage that I preached from last Sunday and that I will preach on this Sunday all hint at the vision that fueled Mandela’s passion. Our Christian faith cannot be hidden into a private corner of our lives or cast into an ethereal “heavenly” realm. It yearns to break free of our attempts to domesticate it for our own purposes. It seeks to become “good news” that heals a hurting, war-torn, and violent world.
Though dramatic transformation is not always evident (Mandela was himself imprisoned for twenty-seven long years), Advent Season reminds us to be ever ready. We don’t know when the Spirit will revolutionize our entire purpose in life or revitalize our church community. But when he does, be ready!
Let me conclude with some thoughts about Jesus from Mandela:
“The Good News borne by our risen Messiah who chose not one race, who chose not one country, who chose not one language, who chose not one tribe, who chose all of humankind!
“Each Easter marks the rebirth of our faith. It marks the victory of our risen Saviour over the torture of the cross and the grave.
“Our Messiah, who came to us in the form of a mortal man, but who by his suffering and crucifixion attained immortality.
“Our Messiah, born like an outcast in a stable, and executed like criminal on the cross.
“Our Messiah, whose life bears testimony to the truth that there is no shame in poverty: Those who should be ashamed are they who impoverish others.
“Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being persecuted: Those who should be ashamed are they who persecute others.
“Whose life proclaims the truth that there is no shame in being conquered: Those who should be ashamed are they who conquer others.
“Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being dispossessed: Those who should be ashamed are they who dispossess others.
“Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being oppressed: Those who should be ashamed are they who oppress others.”
I. This Sunday, December 8:
A. Continue to bring ornaments to hang on our Christmas tree this Sunday!
B. I forgot to include the volunteer sign-up form in last Sunday’s bulletin, so please complete it this Sunday. We’ll have a drawing for a prize!
C. At our Christmas Party and Town Hall during Second Hour this Sunday, you’ll have a chance to hang more ornaments, share some thoughts about Canaan English Ministry, and ask questions of our leaders. Special thanks Everglow Youth Fellowship for providing the party refreshments!
II. Christmas Music Celebration, Dec 14 (3 p.m., Jubilee Center)
The celebration is sponsored by the Taiwanese American Christian Churches (NCTACC). Tickets are required – please contact Emily Chang or Ida Tsai.
III. Sunday, December 15:
A. All Church Worship Service (10 a.m., Worship Hall 1) Canaan will welcome 18 new members (baptism and transfer). We will also celebrate the Lord’s Supper and install our new officers. Please come early for the service!
B. Please note the following changes in the Children’s Ministry program on Dec 15:
- Kids in Grade 3 to 6:
- 10am – join parents at Joint Service in WH1
- 11:30am – go to Children’s Sunday School
- No program changes for the following classes:
- PreK and Kindergarten
- Grade 1 & 2
C. Afterwards, the English Ministry will have a welcome ceremony and service for our newest members on the Second Floor (11:30 a.m., Worship Hall 3)
IV. Exciting activities during the week of Dec 16th
A. Movies, Faith, and Life screening of “Hugo” – 5 academy awards – perfect movie for the season! At Canaan, Room 102 on Tuesday, Dec. 17th at 6:45 p.m. Let Pastor Tim know if you are coming!
B. Young Adults Large Group Fellowship (Wed, 7:30 p.m.) Contact Pastor Chris Liu [EMAIL CHRIS] for location. There will be a Potluck and White Elephant Gift Exchange (minimum for gifts is $15).
C. Everglow Youth Ice Skating (Fri, 7:30 p.m.) Contact Pastor Chris Liu [EMAIL CHRIS]
- Let us warmly embrace our returning college students during the Winter break.
- Let us reach out to those who may not have many family or friends in the Bay Area.
- Let us welcome all opportunities to share and be the Good News of Jesus this season!
See you Sunday!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: Ph.D.
Pastor of English Ministries