Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gathering for Scattering

Most of our group photos were organized by Brianna who otherwise was more often behind the camera than in front of it.                                              
This morning's service at the Tsung Tsin Mission of Hong Kong Whampo Church developed their theme for the year, Gathering for Scattering.  It seems like a good theme for the day.

We gathered for worship in Cantonese, with Dr. Chan providing translation in our ears.  The worship space, at the top of a commercial building had images of birds flocking toward the central altar as you moved into the worship space.  On the way out, the birds were scattering, spreading the Word shared during the service.  Music is music, Spirit is Spirit, so even if we only understood a fraction of the service, we were part of another community called together in God's name.

Brandon Harrington visits with a member of the congregation.

After a Dim Sum Feast (huge table, 17 folks around, a dizzy lazy susan), we headed to the Kowloon waterfront to stroll in the smoggy sunshine, looking over at the architecture and mountains of Hong Kong Island.  Folks gathered and scattered around the statue of Jackie Chan.  And they gathered and scattered around a cardtable staffed by young women giving away bibles and Christian literature.

We had the privilege speaking with Rev. Bobby Lo about the 163 year history of the 26 churches in his denomination.  Founded by missionaries from Basel, Switzerland in 1847, the Tsung Tsin Mission has begun to send foreign missions back out into the world, including to serve the Chinese diaspora in Switzerland.  So what was gathered from Switzerland to be scattered all over pre-Communist China is now gathering in Hong Kong to scatter in Switzerland.

We also got to hear much more about Rev. Lo's work with the official Three Self churches in mainland China.  His primary concern is getting training for the Christian leadership called to serve the ever increasing number of Chinese Christians.  The Three Self churches come in all sizes, from the magnificant, seating 7,000 in one service, to the sweet bamboo circular church which brings 25 souls together as a body.  Whether Rev. Lo was speaking of his preaching or strengthening the relationships between the churches, seminaries and training schools, he emphasized the critical need of faithfully serving believers gathered together in order to power the witness and love necessary to bring the Word into the rest of the world once they scattered again.

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