詩人T.S. Eliot寫了一首詩歌《東科克》讓我們更深入的感受人生的生與死。我們都要經歷起點和終點，以及中間的各種變化和挑戰。人生的路上，我們總會遇到各種痛苦和苦難。但是C.S. Lewis在喪妻以後，也寫了一本書《痛苦的難題》告訴我們，苦難也可以讓我們成長、學習，甚至歸向神。在人生的痛苦和快樂之間，願我們得到屬靈的智慧和生之勇氣，感謝上帝所賜予的一切，並且以愛和憐憫與人同行。
復活節更是一個非常重要的機遇，因為耶穌基督的復活讓我們得以從罪惡和死亡中得到救贖。在這一天，我們一起慶祝耶穌基督的復活，也反思自己的信仰和靈性生命。傳道書中說：”凡事都有定期，天下萬務都有定時。 生有時，死有時。栽種有時，拔出所栽種的也有時。 殺戮有時，醫治有時。拆毀有時，建造有時。」 (傳道書3:1-3) 復活節就是一個提醒永恆已經臨在於當下的日子，我們的一切在其中都有定時定位。
此刻在復活節前夕 (the Holy Satursday), 我們一同默想痛苦，哀慟的人有福了，讓我們成為一群在人生際遇中有高度有溫度的人，在經歷自己的痛苦和苦難時，更加能夠理解別人的痛苦，並向別人伸出援手。我們的同情心和愛心在痛苦時刻能夠成為人的祝福，也使我們自己也得著安慰。哀慟的人有福了，因為他們必得安慰。(太5:4)
In my beginning is my end.
In succession houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
In my beginning is my end.
Easter is one of the most important Christian holidays. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is a significant moment of redemption from sin and death for all humanity. On this special day, let us reflect on the sufferings of life and the consequences we face, and through the salvation of Jesus Christ, receive new life.
Poet T.S. Eliot wrote a poem, “East Coker,” which allows us to deeply feel the life and death of human existence. We all experience beginnings and endings, as well as various changes and challenges in between. Along life’s journey, we always encounter various pains and hardships. However, C.S. Lewis, after losing his wife, also wrote a book called “The Problem of Pain,” which tells us that suffering can also make us grow, learn, and even turn to God. Between the pains and joys of life, may we obtain spiritual wisdom and the courage to live, give thanks for all that God has given us, and walk with others in love and compassion.
Easter is an even more important moment because the resurrection of Jesus Christ allows us to be redeemed from sin and death. On this day, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ together and reflect on our own faith and spiritual lives. Ecclesiastes tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3). Easter is a reminder that eternity is present in the here and now, and that everything has its appointed time and place.
We want to thank you for your ongoing support and attention, allowing the Global Christian Institute to continue to provide high-quality open theological education to students around the world, allowing the construction of the Golden Lampstand Mission community of South Windsor to move forward step by step, and allowing the vision of passing on the torch to next generation have oil to burn. We hope that you have peace, joy, and love in Christ.
Happy Easter! Today we celebrate the most important day of the year together. At this important moment, let us encourage each other in our commitment to God and practice this faith of resurrection.
“East Coker” is one of T.S. Eliot’s most famous poems, from his “Four Quartets” collection. The poem describes the journey between the beginning and end of life, portraying the different stages of life through depictions of architecture, nature, and time. As Ecclesiastes says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” The poem begins with the line “In my beginning is my end,” emphasizing the cyclical nature of time, where the beginning and end of life are irreversible.
The poem goes on to describe the rise and fall of houses, highlighting the transience of everything. People build houses, live in them, and then leave them behind. The houses may crumble, be demolished, or be expanded and rebuilt. In this process, old building materials are reused for new constructions, and old fireplaces become ashes, returning to the earth, demonstrating the perpetual movement of everything.
The poem also includes a passage describing the shrinkage of nature, with the wind blowing through broken windows and walls shaking from the scurrying of mice. These scenes evoke connections between nature and the human condition. Nature is eternal, while life is limited. Time passes by irreversibly, as does life. The last line of the poem reiterates, “In my beginning is my end,” expressing the cyclical nature of life.
T.S. Eliot’s “East Coker” echoes the theme of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Our lives begin at a starting point and end at a finishing point, with many pains, challenges, and changes in between. C.S. Lewis offered some of his thoughts after experiencing the pain of losing his wife. In “The Problem of Pain,” he points out that pain is inevitable in life, and the journey of life is one of constant change and growth, which is also accompanied by pain and hardship. However, this pain can also bring opportunities for growth and learning. He says that pain is a road to God. In many historical periods, people have sought God’s help and protection in pain and suffering. Pain makes us humble and more dependent on God.
On the eve of Easter, let us all meditate on pain and mourning. Blessed are those who mourn, as we become a group of people who are highly compassionate and warm-hearted. Through our own pain and suffering, we can better understand the pain of others and extend a helping hand. Our sympathy and love can be a blessing to others in times of pain and also bring comfort to ourselves. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)