Sunday, June 19, 2011

When Faith meets Superstitions

Those that I am about to write, are merely based on my experiences, thoughts and of the shallow knowledge I've possessed till today, quoting verses from the Bible. And also, again, serving as a personal reminder.
I need to make a confession, here, publicly, because I presume many of us have encountered the same situation in our daily life, in the hope of bringing some light to you, my dear reader - Superstitions, more often than not, are quite prominent in our Chinese society where traditions have been passed down from our ancestors who prioritized rituals and taboos, with the hope of blessings of t wealth, health and prosperity from their ancestors will rain upon the generations to come. What has triggered me to write on this topic out of the blue? Two reasons:

1) I used to think praying to God the night before exam is bad for my exam. Surprised? It was because of this dumb, coward and selfish thoughts I had. I thought, by praying to God, Satan will purposely pull me down as he always work in the opposite way God does? So, to prevent "attracting attention", I don't pray. I lost my confidence in God, lost sight of how He is the almighty God, and that we should never doubt his sovereignty. (Ok, go on, laugh at me. Do judge and condemn me for those evil thoughts) But as I grow (which i hope i do spiritually and not just physically), I've learnt quite a few lessons which I took them as Private Lessons Specially From God. He has shown me in a few ways that things do not work out like that, and gave a few "mild punishments" as gentle reminders through conscience and several other events which when i reflect back, they are not as insignificant as they seemed to be. Even if it does work that way (the attracting attention way), we should not give in just to get what we want, right?! No! No! No! We should never deny our heavenly Father under any circumstances. (I have referred to John 14 in this case) And thus, prayed that this selfish thoughts never will intrude my mind again.

2) Ah, wedding! What a happy thing to discuss about. But remember how our grandparents and parents scurried to find an "Auspicious Wedding Date" when the couple (who are supposed to be married long ago but didnt but finally decided to) announced that they have finally decided to tie the knot? (Maybe you haven't had that experience.but as the youngest in my family, with so many grown-up siblings and cousins, it is a very common scene to observe) After consulting elders and flipping through the Chinese calender again and again, alas, the date of ceremony was set. The date which was believed to bring most luck to this couple, so they would have a happy and long-lasting marriage. (And of course, on the day which most relatives can attend the ceremony. Mind you, this applies to Christian couples as well) And how bout those rituals? Like putting two flowers on the bride's hair, groom's family must send 5 types of grains to the bride's family, etc... What are the rationale behind all these? Chinese traditions, you may say, though we may not understand why is it done so, but we still adapt to it. A culture, which must be preserved, something that we are proud of, being the descendants of so-and-so. I'll take that, but why, when some of the steps are missed, or there's slight difference between families of different dialects, major arguments are bound to happen? Aren't we celebrating a happy occasion? Don't those arguments disrupt the peace and harmony, which we are trying so hard to achieve through the rituals, instead? And would your "luck" be less if you missed one of those steps? Why are you depending on those lucks anyway? Don't you claim yourself to be the genuine believer of Jesus Christ? And does Jesus ever mention anything about needing luck?

Apart from those, this superstitions and taboos thing also happen so regularly in our daily life consciously or subconsciously. (I find it easier to use examples for exam as I am a student myself undergoing all sorts of examinations very very frequently but i believe it is also very common in the working community) For example, you must bring your "lucky pencil"; wear your "red underwear"; mustn't wash your hair the night before; must walk certain path to the exam venue...Break a mirror and you'll have bad luck for 7 years; do not open your umbrella under the roof; do not walk under a ladder; if a black cat cross your path, you will have bad luck. All sorts of funny acts. Why, may I ask, are you holding on to these procedures with belief that they will bring some sort of luck, when you clearly proclaim through your mouth:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.

Amen.

Are these just a joke? Or something you are forced to memorise?
Do what you've said! Believe solely, in Jesus, and not be a slave of luck. Don't live life under the fear that luck might overturn you one day, but live life boldly with the faith on Jesus that will never turn His back on you.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)

So pray to God fervently, for a heart that guard against these thoughts,
The name of the Lord is fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)


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