今晚讀經時,不經意看到我隨身多年的中文聖經封面的一句話,讓我想起一個我大學時代時一位從韓國來台傳褔音的吳善惠姐妹,這本聖經是她在我還是一個迷惘又背逆的基督徒時送的我的。記得有一天在師大街頭,她攔我下來問；「妳好,妳聽過耶穌嗎?」我當時趕著去約會想快點離開便急促地說；「我是基督徒。」她淡悠悠地說,歡迎妳來我們教會讀聖經。持著她的好心和溫暖,大一上,我去和她讀經一陣子。那時她在師大國語中心讀中級華語,用初中級的華語講解聖經給我。每個禮拜我們會面她都會準備五到十頁的中文筆記,還是用手寫的,詳細地和我解釋新約馬太、馬可褔音裡的登山寶訓和八褔……,一堆我當時以為老掉牙從小到大在主日學聽了八百遍的故事,了無新意。她當時總是很有耐心地帶領我這有點快走失的小羊。大一下,她要離開台灣了,送我這本聖經,當時我還在想家裡已有很多本,但因為是精裝本,就收下來,完全沒意識到日後會一直放在身邊,因一些細微的理由珍惜著。她離開台灣那年,我只輕輕和她說再見,信仰上沒學到什麼,只徒有一身驕傲。今晚因查經,也和我先生MATT討論到以色列什麼時候分裂為南北兩國的事,講到所羅門王時,要查一些中文經句和故事,打開封面看到吳善惠姐面當時送我這本精裝聖經,在第一頁上的一句經句：「若有人在基督裡,他就是新造的人,舊事已過,都變成新的了。 林後 5:17」真正打入我心且暖意繞到我眼眶的,其實是最後一行她押的日期；「91年4月25日」。十一年過後的今晚,被這種暖意提醒,這就是撒種的意義。
For some Christians, the Bible can be a bed time story; for some, it can turn to a degree with a filigreed diploma. Someone said, “Essentially, the Bible is a Christian’s guide book to the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.” The meaning of a Bible to me apparently has progressed from a textbook to a personal peek into God’s stories.
There is a scripture written on the first page of my Bible. I happened to see the verse one night, a verse that has changed my life. This verse made me recall a Korean minister I knew in my first year of college: a lady who introduced me the importance of studying Bible. I met the woman, Shanhui, on one of the most crowded intersections near my college: Shida road.
“Hello! Have you heard of Jesus Christ?” She stopped me while I was on the way to a date that I was almost late for.
“I am a Christian.” With a hasty tone, I responded inattentively trying to express that I know the Bible, duh! But it’s not a good time to go deeper now.
She graciously spoke again in a tender but a firm voice. “You are welcome to come to our church and study the Bible with us.” I stopped and we exchanged contact info. The next day, I attended my first Bible-study lesson.
Lesson one: The Beatitudes. “I’ve read this 8000 times,” I murmured in my mind. “8000 times” is a common way expressed among my Taiwanese friends and families and I meaning so many times.
Over the year, on every Thursday, Shanhui would prepare about 10 pages of Bible study notes in Chinese for her to share and discuss with me. She is a Korean, and was studying Mandarin at an intermediate level at my college. At this level, people don’t recognize too many Chinese characters because learning Chinese characters, the order, the proportions of every stroke, the directions or angles of every stroke (you really don’t want me to go on) is exhausting. I was often amazed with her dedication in doing so.
She was patient; I was proud. Being a freshman and thinking of her living a life simply like a pilgrim, I sometimes considered her lifestyle and the sacrifice of leading people to study Bible as a callous on an old woman’s hands. And I often thought that I would never drag myself into that kind of boredom. I also remembered that I pitied her so many times.
It was the patience and kindness she showed me that kept me studying Bible with her (one-on-one, even). She eventually had to leave Taiwan. In the end of my freshman year before she left, she gave me a beautiful hard-covered Chinese Bible, which I assumed might have cost her quite a lot, and which had become my very personal Chinese Bible over the years until I passed it on to my sister.
A few nights ago, I had to check some information about when North and South Israel separated, and to reference the story of Solomon. Being one of the group leaders in an international Bible study fellowship, flipping through the Bible pages is a routine. I opened my Chinese Bible trying to clear up some confusion concerning the translation between Chinese and English, I saw a verse Shanhui wrote with her immature-formed Chinese characters, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here. – 2 Corinthians 5:17” The verse shimmered on the page; what stood out the most to me— the date—April, 25, 2002. The significance of Bible to Christianity is, for me, a seed sown twelve years past and growing.
Dec., 14, 2014