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Taiwan Church News
3187 Edition
March 25-31. 2013
Editorial

Editorial: The Christian Golden Week

Translated by Lydia Ma

Some countries in the world have a lot of national holidays in April and May which fall only a few days after the other. As result of these holidays being so close to one another, some governments have arranged for their country to take an entire week off. This special occasion called “Golden Week” is currently observed in Japan and China among other countries. The holiday is in many respects similar to Thanksgiving or Christmas in European or American countries and people usually take time off to rest and to shop.

In the Christian calendar, the period of time beginning from Palm Sunday and culminating in Easter Sunday is a holiday full of drama. Passion Week could be considered as the Christian “Golden Week” because it takes us back to Christ’s final days on earth. Celebrating this week is important because it helps us appreciate the magnitude of Christ’s suffering and resurrection for our sakes and thus understand the essence of Easter.

Christians today tend to go through the motions of celebrating Passion Week and Easter without much thought or emotion. Perhaps it’s because we already know the story well and we also know how the story ends. However, our emotional detachment is unfortunate because it prevents us from sharing in the sorrow, suffering, joy, and triumph of our best friend, Jesus.

We would benefit a great deal from reflecting on the words of Isaiah 53 and from the words of Jesus while hanging on the cross as recorded in the Four Gospels. Those passages can help cement our conviction that Christ’s suffering and resurrection purchased salvation and new life for us. Furthermore, we will realize that we are conquerors in the greatest sufferings we will ever encounter in life because of Christ’s suffering and resurrection.

Christian stores have a variety of cross necklaces these days. Some necklaces still have Christ on the cross (crucifix) while others only have an empty cross. The crucifix is a visual reminder that God himself prepared the lamb to be sacrificed. However, it is difficult to see the joy of the resurrection from observing the crucifix. On the other hand, the empty cross without Christ hanging on it is a great reminder that Christ is God and death has no control over him. However, because such a cross has little visual effect, we are tempted to cheapen God’s saving grace or think of it lightly. Hence, we must remember that though Christ’s resurrection is at the core of our Christian convictions, it must be accompanied with the bitter cup and the arduous road to Calvary for this core understanding to be powerful and complete.

Distributing Easter eggs is our proclamation that we believe in a risen and living Christ and this is a good thing. However, it is also a good thing to pay attention to what Jesus said while hanging on the cross and to note his forgiveness and obedience, just as the centurion in Luke 23:47 did. Have you suffered and been reborn with Christ on this Christian Golden Week?

 
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Taiwan Church News
3187 Edition
March 25-31. 2013
Headline News

Indigenous community seeks help in face of sluggish and shady government rebuilding efforts

Reported by Simon Lin

Written by Lydia Ma

Fuxing Borough in Taoyuan District, Kaohsiung, is located in an area where two rivers converge. On June 11, 2012, torrential rains caused the river to overflow and 12 houses belonging to indigenous families were washed away because subpar construction work caused the river embankment to break. According to a recent update from Fuxing Borough director, Tu Yao-shun, the government has ignored residents’ welfare and their demands for government compensation. Furthermore, restoration of the embankment has been delayed again and again. In view of the approaching rainy season, local residents are very worried about their safety and very angry about being treated as second-class citizens.

Tu, who is also a member of Fuxing Presbyterian Church, told Taiwan Church News that the national government doesn’t seem to care about the safety of indigenous families living in the area and government agencies have been passing the buck. However, local residents have been living in fear every day because they are worried that history will repeat itself when the rainy season comes. Tu said that these indigenous families have convened meetings and created a self-help association to protect themselves due to the government’s unresponsiveness.

South Bunun Presbytery’s pastor Rev. Lituan has been very concerned about the situation on the ground and has already reported these residents’ plight to the PCT General Assembly. According to Lituan, World Vision Taiwan is planning to build some emergency shelters further upstream. However, lack of funding and other legal issues have prevented it from starting this project. World Vision is currently negotiating with the city government and seeking partner organizations to help them in this project.

According to local native residents whose homes have been destroyed, the soil upstream has become loose ever since Typhoon Morakot, resulting in severe landslides whenever it rains. In the past 3 years alone, the riverbed has grown 30 meters taller. Strangely, though the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past 3 years to fix and clear the riverbed, the situation has not improved. They argue that the reason is because though backhoes continually dig up rubble and place it aside, the rain eventually washes the rubble back into the riverbed, making all cleaning efforts pointless.

Though local residents have demanded change, nothing has been done and the riverbed continues to grow taller and taller. This situation has many residents wondering if there is some sort of conspiracy between government officials and contractors to drag out the cleaning project indefinitely and get more money for it. Hence, residents are urging that public investigators be called to look into the affair.

Protest banners have been put up by a self-help organization created by local residents.

Photo provided by the Morakot Independent News Network.

 
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Taiwan Church News
3187 Edition
March 25-31. 2013
Headline News

Local church sets tone for Passion Week by revamping the sanctuary

Reported by Fang Lan-ting

Written by Lydia Ma

Visitors who visit Renhe Presbyterian Church in Tainan this week will find that its sanctuary has been redesigned in time for Passion Week. Sitting on a long communion table is a cross adorned with a purple silk scarf and a crown of thorns hanging loosely on the cross. The sanctuary was transformed and these objects were placed in this way purposely to remind the congregation of Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God who is also a majestic king.

According to the church’s pastor, Rev. Song Hsin-hsi, the church decided to mark Passion Week this year by turning the sanctuary into a venue ready to host a real memorial service of a loved one. The church hoped that this familiar setting would help the congregation grasp the wonder of God becoming flesh and God suffering with humanity. However, the story doesn’t end there because Christ’s suffering and death is ultimately followed by his resurrection. Song underscored that the Christian faith is real and alive and it must be personally experienced.


Photo by Fang Lan-ting

 

 


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