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「關愛受造世界與福音」會議系列

安息的主之關愛受造世界計劃:整全使命

上帝在六日的創造工作之後,第七日休息;耶穌自稱是「安息的主」;約翰在啟示錄中,將兩位見證人的復活,放在上帝的「七日」,和人類的「七年」的安息週期的中心,來象徵耶穌是「安息的主」。(參前一篇文章

上帝設立安息日的制度,是叫以色列人模仿祂自己的安息。就好像上帝在祂創造的過程之中,及完成工作之時,那樣無阻礙地、無拘無束地享受祂工作的成果:要有⋯⋯,就有了⋯⋯。

但是,因為人類的始祖犯了罪,以色列人便必須首先通過「失去」來學會安息的意義。他們在埃及無辜成了奴隸,並不是罪有應得,但他們工作的成果卻被剝奪。其後,他們才被釋放,離開埃及,得以在安息日中,去享受他們勞碌的合理成果。藉著安息日,人類的不安全感才可以得到切實的解決。

當以色列人快將要進入上帝要賜給他們的土地時,他們更被上帝呼召,去跟大自然建立和諧關係。每個七年週期之中,連續六年,他們可以向土地索取,要求土地生產他們所想要的(農耕),但在第七年,他們必須讓土地安息(這跟休耕不同),倒過來讓土地告訴他們,它能自發地為人類生產甚麽 (安息年,利廿五1-7)。人與大自然之間,相互探索和尊重的旅程,就此開始。

人類的安全感,是通過人自食其力,享用自己勞碌的成果(每週的安息日),再加上從大自然所得到的舒緩和釋放(每七年一次的安息年),來得到正常的基本滿足。

而每五十年,人類安全感的最終極表達,將會在禧年裡找到。在禧年當中,就彰顯和包含了所有人與人、人與大自然之間,最宏大的安詳與和諧。若是人類遵行上帝設定的所有這些制度(利廿五8-17, 23-55),上帝便會接受這年,作為祂所悅納的禧年(利廿六1-13)。

在自然界中,我們不會找到七日、七年和五十年的連鎖週期。它們是由人類為了遵循上帝的意願而設定的。合起來,它們構成了一個神聖的日曆,加在我們以天體運動為本的自然曆法上,以引導人類聯同大自然攜手合作,走向上帝最後的安息。

當以色列人沒有遵守這個神聖的日曆時,耶穌就挑戰那些只抓住一個安息空殼的人,並為這挑戰付上他的生命。(聖經記錄顯示,耶穌被謀殺的最基本原因,是他違反了猶太人的安息日)。

當耶穌被釘十字架及死後被埋葬,整個舊約安息的建制便與耶穌一同埋葬了。但是,上帝卻叫耶穌復活,由此接受和成全了耶穌付上生命的神聖任務,並將其轉化——因著耶穌的復活,安息日成為了主日;安息年就在教會中體現了;禧年被歸入上帝的國裡。

在聖靈的引導下,身處於這些新約「制度」中的信徒,會在救恩中自動自發地活出相當於以前舊約時代的建制,這是原先的舊約建制,雖透過律法的規範,所做不到的事。

在上帝對人類的結語(因此也是最重要的)——啟示錄中,約翰將兩個復活的見證人(律法和先知)放在上帝「七日」的中心、和人類七年安息週期的中心。啟示錄的信息就是,耶穌不僅是完全的神,完全的人,更指出耶穌要將人類和上帝的整個創造,帶到最終的安息。這最終的安息,就是啟示錄的「新天新地」所象徵的。

為了邁向上帝最終的安息,耶穌對我們表明,我們必須整體地、不可分割地正視人類及其社會的願望和抱負,並同時重視和顧及自然界的需要。僅解決一方面的問題,只會帶來倒退,例如,忽略大自然的需要而去滿足人類,一定會是弊多於利,反之亦然。

在安息的主領導下,關愛受造世界是一個整全的事工,在當中,我們必須招募每一個信徒,在最廣泛的努力中,邁向上帝預定的安息。

(參考:Fung, C. Sabbath – A Biblical Understanding of Creation Care, Evangelical Review of Theology, 2012, 36(4), 316-331. )

「關愛受造世界與福音」會議系列文章之六。
作者為前環保署高級主任,現著力研究環保神學。本文原文為英文,中文版本由梁柏强翻譯。
由中國神學研究院、香港教會更新運動、新福事工協會、施達基金會合辦的關愛受造世界與福音香港會議
將於九月三十日至十月一日在中國神學研究院舉辦。詳情:https://creationcarehk.org/


英文原文:

Lord of the Sabbath’s Creation Care Program – An Integral Mission

After six days of creative work, God rested on the seventh day; Jesus claimed himself Lord of the Sabbath; John in Revelation symbolizes Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath by placing the resurrection of two witnesses in the centre of God’s seven-day and man’s seven-year Sabbatical cycles (see previous article).

God instituted Sabbath day observance for the Israelites to mimic his own Sabbath. During and at the end of his creation, God enjoys the fruits of his labor unhindered: Let there be ..., and there was …. Because humans sin, the Israelites have to learn the Sabbath’s meaning first through deprivation – undeserved slavery in Egypt during which the fruits of their labour are robbed from them – before being liberated to enjoy the rightful fruits of their labour in the Sabbath day. Through the Sabbath day, human insecurity is practically addressed.

Standing on the threshold of entering the land God gave them, the Israelites were further called to establish harmony with nature. Six years they can demand from their land what they want (farm), but on the seventh, they must let the land tell them what it can spontaneously produce for people (Sabbatical year which is different from fallowing the land), thus starting man and nature on a journey of mutual exploration and respect.

Human security, fulfilled through endearment to the fruits of one’s labour (weekly Sabbath), and nature’s freedom (seven-year Sabbath), would find ultimate expression in the grand harmony capped by a mutuality among all humans and nature – the Jubilee year. God accepts all these as his favorable Jubilee year.

None of the interlocking cycles of seven days, seven years and fifty years is found in nature. They are set by humans through following God’s intentions. Together, they form a divine calendar imposed on our natural calendar, based on movement of the heavenly bodies, to guide humans and the natural world towards God’s final Sabbath.

When the Israelites failed to implement this divine calendar, Jesus challenged those who held onto an empty shell of the real Sabbath and paid for this challenge by his life. (Biblical records show conclusively the foundational reason for Jesus’ murder is his ‘violations’ of his Jewish Sabbath). The whole Old Testament Sabbath institutions were buried with Jesus. But by resurrecting Jesus, God accepts the cause Jesus died for and transforms it. In Jesus’ resurrection, Sabbath day has become the Lord’s day; Sabbatical year is embodied in the church; Jubilee year is subsumed under the Kingdom of God. Guided by the Holy Spirit, believers in these New Testament‘institutions’ would spontaneously live out what the previous Old Testament institutions fail to do through legal prescription.

In God’s closing word (hence most important) to humankind – Revelation, John places two witnesses resurrecting at the centre of God’s week and humans’ seven-year Sabbatical cycle: Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. The message: Jesus is not only fully God and fully human, but fittingly, is leading humanity and all of God’s creation to the final Sabbath, symbolized in Revelation’s new heaven and earth.

To move toward God’s ultimate Sabbath, Jesus shows that the aspirations of humans and their society, and importantly, also the needs of the natural world, must be addressed indivisibly. Addressing only one aspect takes us backward, e.g. fulfilling only humans’ in disregard of nature or vice versa would do more harm than good.

Under the Lord of the Sabbath, creation care is thus a holistic ministry enlisting every believer in the widest possible efforts towards God’s intended Sabbath.

Ref: Sabbath – A Biblical Understanding of Creation Care, Evangelical Review of Theology, 2012, 36(4), 316-331.



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