In a TEDxTaipei talk, Bowie Tsang recounted a time when she was hosting a show, the presenter of the show turned and asked her a question, “Bowie, what is ‘message’?” In a panic, Bowie answered the question with a few textbook answers that she could think of. Once she has completed her answers, the presenter responded, “No, this is not ‘message’. Come let us close our eyes and quieten down our hearts.” In the stillness, two thoughts flashed through her mind. The first thought was, “goodness gracious, what answer have I uttered earlier!” The second thought was, “Now that we are in the stillness, let’s see what answers will surface in my heart”. When they all opened their eyes, the presenter asked Bowie once more, “Bowie, what is ‘message’?” Bowie reflected on the thoughts that surfaced in her heart, but she was too embarrassed to say. However, she recounted that there were no better answers than that. So, with whatever courage left within her, she said while shedding a tear, “I am the message”. With that, she looked to the audience and said, “The life that I put all my efforts into, is the message I want to bring to the world. You are also a message. Every word that you say, every decision that you make, is a message for the world. I hope that the messages that we bring to the world is a message that is filled with love and positive energy, and it is also my hope that everyone can live the lives that were given to us without fear and in security.”
View the full TEDxTaipei talk by Bowie Tsang here: https://www.ted.com/talks/bowie_tsang_the_differences_between_you_and_me
The above abstract was taken from the above link, from 16:34 to 18:03, and translated into English.
On hearing Bowie’s sharing, I cannot help but shed a tear or two. I thought about how Jesus Christ was the Word. He is the Word ever since the beginning with God. He is the Word that became flesh and made His dwelling amongst humanity. He is the Word that rose to life after a cruel crucifixion, just so that we can be saved from the grasps of sin and that the Holy Spirit can dwell within us and transform us into a new creation.
In Bowie’s TEDx sharing, she recounted about the time she spent in Arizona. During her time there, she encountered all kinds of people. From volunteer corps, to human rights volunteers who prepared water for the needy, and illegal immigrants. She was on a duty to interview these people to understand the conditions there. However, she knew that she cannot just leave these people after the interview. During their conversations with these people, she learned to peel behind the stereotypes she had for them, and to recognise them as living, breathing, human beings — Human beings who had their stories. Human beings who had a family. Human beings who had their struggle. Human beings, just like any one of us. Bowie recounted the time when the immigrant told her story to her, she had tears flowing down her cheeks. Bowie held the hands of the immigrant and offered her the comfort that she needed.
Having returned to Taiwan for over a year (until the time of the presentation), she questioned how she was able to connect on a spiritual level with someone who speak a different language, but we are often unable to communicate with people who speaks the same language. “With our modern technology, we can easily communicate with people over 100 kilometres away,” Bowie exclaimed. “But why can’t we communicate with people — people whom we can reach out and touch; look into their eyes, and speak our hearts?” She asked, “who drew the line that never once existed, in our hearts?” “Why are we so busy stereotyping others and ourselves? Will differentiating ourselves and them make our world bigger, or smaller?”
Bowie’s sharing was startling reminder for myself not to let any stereotype affect us. It is a reminder that we have the ability to connect with people at the deepest spiritual level. It is a reminder for me about the importance of loving our neighbours. It is a reminder for me to care for the people around me; to connect with people, not at a superficial level, but on a deeper, spiritual one.
I reflected on the transformation Jesus’ apostles had when they encountered Jesus. I reflected on how lives were changed when the Apostles worked in the will of the Lord. Illness were healed, demons were cast away, miracles were seen, lives were transformed. As Christians, we are empowered by the Blood of Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit. We are empowered with Divine Signs and wonders. Jesus said, “…And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:17-18, NIV). Why then are we still afraid to make connections with the people around us? Why do we still hide behind the comfort of church fellowships and our earpieces?
As I write this, the Holy Spirit convicted me of the very thing I am writing. I am fearful of crowds. I am fearful of making connections. I am fearful of potential hurt. I am fearful of causing hurt. But it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit remind me of our renewed identity in Christ. We are the Adopted Sons of the Most High. We are empowered with Divine Abilities to face whatever may befall us. All we had to do, is to say “Yes, I will go where you want me to go. I will meet whoever you want me to meet, Lord”.
We can rest in the assurance that God will not give us more than what we can bear. And God, in His loving kindness, will give us according to our abilities, the “talents” or tasks He’s entrusts to us. Let us rest in His love, pick up our lightened crosses, and follow Him. Just as Jesus is the Word sent by the Father to the world, we are to be like Him, sent by the resurrected Christ, into the world of brokenness, to be salt and light for Him.Image by skalekar1992 from Pixabay
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