During this season of Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations, we celebrated The LORD’s faithfulness during the Second CNY Day (初二) Service. Red Packets or HongBaos containing traditional New Year Couplets (对联) were given to each attendee as they entered the auditorium! To learn more about the history of Chinese Couplets, please click on either link at the bottom of this page to view or listen to the sermon.
Why couplets? Besides still being practiced in many countries with Chinese residents, it has 2 distinct uses:
- It describes who we are as it hangs on our doorway, yet it’s not a medal or a trophy that describes our achievements. It instead encourages and inspires us to become something that we aspire to be. This reminds me of who we are as followers of Jesus. Called Christians, we are far from being 100% like Jesus. Instead being called Christians, we desire to be like Christ.
- It gives hope and encourages those who read them by largely serving the same purpose as #1. As Christians, isn’t that our calling? To love and encourage the people around us?
So, during this season with many wishing for prosperity and blessings, I hope the set of 3 couplets that we distributed will lead us to be more Christ-like, and also bring hope and encouragement to the people around us.
Couplet 1: 满院荣光蒙神爱. 全家和睦感主恩.
Translation: The house is full of glory, covered by God's love. The entire household lives in harmony; touched by the Lord's kindness and mercy.
Verse: Ephesians 5:33-6:3
Our church member, Lai Ping, shared a moving testimony of how years ago she was driven out from her home and had all relational ties cut with her mother because she wanted to honour God and did not want to be part of ancestral worship. Years later, in a family gathering, she decided to put aside any grievances and simply hugged her Mom. Fast forward to today, Lai Ping’s Mom attended one of our church services last month. From a woman who disowned her daughter because of her faith to a person who can even step into a church is something that only the LORD can do!
Is there a parent we need to honour this CNY Season? Someone we need to forgive? This couplet and Eph 5:33-6:3 inspires us to realise that our homes are filled with His Glory, hence the whole household will live in harmony because of God’s love and mercy.
Couplet 2: 益寿延年神赐福. 丰衣足食主施恩.
Translation: Lives preserved and lengthened, God blesses. Lacking nothing, the Lord extends His kindness and mercy.
Verse: Psalms 37:4
Another member named Shalom, shared an inspiring testimony about what she does in her free time – she serves the community. Already working at a Community Services organisation as her “day job,” Shalom could have spent her free time doing many other things. Instead she chose to serve the residents of Clementi because her rewards are the changed lives of the people. She sought the true “God of Wealth” – our Jehovah Jireh – for the blessings of changed lives rather than riches! You might even say she “Huat ah!”
What blessings are we seeking the Lord for this CNY? The rewards of wealth or the rewards of lives? This second couplet and Psalms 37:4 inspires us to take delight in the LORD and serve His people and He will bless us so that we will lack nothing!
Couplet 3: 基督是我家之主. 耶稣是我心中王.
Translation: Christ is the Lord of my household. Jesus is King within my heart.
Verse: 1 Corinthians 8:6
After receiving the LORD into my life in 1984, I was well discipled and was even well-trained in scriptures. But I lived in a dual world. One of a “church world” on Sundays and the other, a “fun” worldly world on weekdays. My worlds would clash on a weekly basis because “light cannot fellowship with darkness” (2 Cor 6:14). It wasn't until I decided that I don't want my 2 worlds to collide anymore that my walk with God became real. And that took more courage than anything I have ever done! Only when I chose to stop all the influences of the world, was when this verse of “but one God, the Father; and but one LORD, Jesus” truly had meaning in my life!
We can live our lives in this world; and we can extend God’s Kingdom here on earth. But we cannot have both in our hearts! We cannot serve 2 masters. I’ve been there and I can tell you it doesn't work. This last couplet and 1 Corinthians 8:6 inspires us to make Christ the Lord of my household and Jesus, the King within my heart!
This Chinese New Year, let’s be encouraged as well as encourage those around us that our God is a God of harmony & unity; a God that blesses us richly with changed lives; and that He is the only One in our hearts!
Wishing all our Chinese readers and their families a Blessed Chinese New Year!