28th April 2021
...but in the one...
'Then Jesus cried out,
"Whoever believes in me
does not believe in me only,
but in the one who sent me.'
.... John 12:44
Robert Morrison born in 1782,
in Northumberland was a remarkable man.
At a time when China was utterly hostile
to foreign influence, and the only
missionaries were Jesuits in Macau
who were antagonistic to protestants,
he studied Cantonese in England,
became a doctor, translated the
New Testament into Cantonese,
and set off for China to start a mission.
The East India Company refused to transport him,
so he went to China via New York.
When he disembarked in Macau after a
seven-month journey, the captain commented
"So you are going to make an
impression upon China."
Morrison replied, without resentment:
"No sir, but I believe God will."
Robert Morrison certainly believed in Jesus
and the one who sent him;
God did great things through Robert
and will do great things through us
if we let him.
He sent Jesus to give us an instruction manual
and his apostles to fill in the details.
We are not responsible for the outcome;
we are responsible for preparing ourselves
in his service and then letting God
do his work in us.
It always seems that the world
is headed for hell (and much of it is).
Today as much as ever, with atheists and
the secular humanists filling the airwaves
with celebrity-worship, and self-actualisation,
we might be tempted to despair
at our powerlessness to affect it.
We may be powerless, but God is not!
Let us make ourselves open to his leading;
then trusting in God, we can simply
do his will and let him be responsible
for the end result.
Robert died in China
and by the end of his life,
he had translated the entire Bible
into Cantonese, as well as writing
dozens of books, including dictionaries
and grammars of Eastern languages;
started schools and a university,
and planted seedling missions all over
east Asia, especially China,
Malaya and Indonesia.
His was the first Protestant mission in China
to survive and considered to be the
"Father of Anglo-Chinese Literature".
The set Lectionary readings for the
Easter season (Easter to Pentecost)
follows the growth of the early church
which is found in the book of
The Acts of the Apostles (Acts).
We see how the believers left Jerusalem,
many fleeing from persecution,
and travelled throughout the world carrying
the story of the gospel with them.
Dedicated believers have continued doing this
throughout the ages and today we have read
the story of one such eighteenth century missionary,
Robert Morrison, whose life was one dedicated
to following the will of God,
spreading the gospel and bringing many to Jesus,
his Saviour - a truly extraordinary man.
There are many unsung heroes out in the world
today following his example.
What is God wanting of us today?
Where is he calling us?
He most probably is not calling us to travel
but by who we are and the way we live our lives
we can be God's hands, feet, eyes
and love in our neighbourhoods.
It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'I Will Sing the Wondrous Story'
sung by St David's Presbyterian Church
via the link shown below.