Wednesday, July 31
Photo: John McCall
The Taiwanese calendar has a different rhythm. Christians pause briefly for Christmas—a time of worship and prayer that is important—but the true change of pace comes with the Lunar New Year, which is usually in February. Workers who haven’t returned to hometowns can do so. Schools shut down. The streets can be, amazingly, empty. This year our family joined fellow mission co-worker John McCall, several General Assembly staff, and the retired general secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan for the New Year’s meal. At times the meal feels almost sacramental. It is a time for family and friends to reconnect and to reach out to old schoolmates. It’s a time when the prodigal sons come home and people share together in eating family favorites and special dishes.
I read recently that dialogue or formal conversation by itself is far less effective than inviting people from different backgrounds to eat together. Something about the act of sharing food and sitting together removes the boundaries that often prevent us from listening well. Judging from their shared meals that sometimes follow worship, this is something congregations here know, and it’s probably a reason why coffee hour is such a fixture in many U.S. congregations. Mission, at its heart, is sharing together in a meal. It nurtures, it comforts, it offers space for reunion and reflection. This year, as we move from the Year of the Dragon to the Year of the Snake, take a moment to celebrate the New Year with us.
Let us join in prayer for:
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan: Rev. Lyim Hong-Tiong, general secretary
Changhua Christian Hospital: Dr. Chi Tao Wei, superintendent
Presbyterian Bible College: Rev. Joseph Lin, principal
Let us pray
Sending God, we thank you for the people we meet on the road and at the table. We pray today for the people of Taiwan and the Presbyterian church there. Feed them on your Word. Year by year guide them closer to you. Amen.