1973年1月22日﹐美國最高法院裁定墮胎行為合法化﹐通過了<墮胎法案>。從此﹐平均每天有大約四千個胎兒遭到墮胎。隨著服用墮胎藥丸RU486 (Mifeprex) 的合法化﹐現在要準確估計這個數字就更加困難了。然而﹐最高法院通過的這個法案卻引起了海內外許多國家對墮胎問題的良知﹐令人們用更嚴肅和認真的態度來審視生命﹕“我究竟是誰﹖從哪裡來﹖往哪裡去﹖”雖然在近來公開的政府選舉活動中﹐現在已經很少聽到關於墮胎問題的辯論﹐但是有關生命從何時開始以及所謂的“局部生產墮胎” (partial birth abortion) 仍然是一些一觸即發的熱點話題。每當我們討論這些問題時﹐都會引發大家強烈的情感共鳴。
I． 神是全知的。V. 1-6
II． 神是永在的。V. 7-12
由於神無處不在﹐他能徹底洞察我的一切。當然有些人會覺得這好像給自己帶上了約束。但是神在我們的生命裡無處不在的目的是什麼呢﹖“10就是在那裡，你的手仍必引導我，你的右手也必扶持我。”神在我們的生命裡與我們處處同行是為了引導和扶持我們。他不是為了令我們畏懼﹐而是為了引導和指示我們。想想生活中陰暗的時刻﹐當我們迷失了生活的方向﹐神與我們同行﹔當我們遭受財務危機﹐神與我們同在﹔當我們產生對意外懷孕的複雜情感時﹐神和我們在一起﹔當我們為失去父母感到悲傷﹐為意外流產失去了腹中的嬰兒感到痛心時﹐神與我們同在﹔當我們處在死亡的陰谷﹐當我們經歷水深火熱的生活﹐神仍然一路與我們同行。他是永在的! 他就像個24/7的監視攝像機﹐總是在看視我們, 不是要尋找我們的過錯, 為了在生命的各樣情況下都指引和帶領我們前行。
III． 神創造萬有。V. 13-18
“13我的臟腑是你所造的，在我母腹中你塑造了我。”“造”這個字的意思是創造﹐製造和擁有的意思。“臟腑”也指我們內在的感情和情緒。“15我在隱密處被造，在地的深處被塑造，那時，我的形體不能向你隱藏。”“形體” 指我們的骨架。當我們在母腹中12個星期以後﹐手和腳就已經可以被清晰地看見了。“16我未成形的身體，你的眼睛早已看見；為我所定的日子，我還未度過一日，都完全記在你的冊上了。”這裡指的是我們還處在胚胎階段時﹐當我們還只是處於2﹐4﹐8﹐16﹐32的細胞分化過程中時﹐當我們還是根本無法用肉眼觀察的形態時﹐神已經知道我們的一切了﹐他就已經與我們同在了。聖經說當我們還在母腹中時﹐當我們的身體還未成形時﹐神已經創造和擁有了我們。不但如此, “18b……我睡醒的時候，仍然與你同在。”當我們仍在母腹中的時候﹐神就與我們同在了。當我們從死裡睡醒的時候﹐他仍與我們同在。為什麼神對我們的一切是全知的﹖為什麼他在我們的生命裡無處不在﹖因為他是那位創造了我們的神﹐是那位從出生到永恆都完全擁有我們的神。大衛說﹐“17神啊！你的意念對我多麼珍貴（“珍貴”或譯：“深奧”），數目何等眾多。18a如果我數點，它們比海沙更多……”有關神洞察一切﹐在生命中無處不在以及他創造了我們的問題實在是太深奧了﹐我們人類根本無法去理解和明白。
這就是<詩篇> 139的靈魂所在﹕當我們還在母腹中的時候﹐當我們還未成形可辨之前﹐神已經與我們同在了。祂在我們生命開始之時就在創造我們. 不論這生命在任何的處境下產生, 這生命是神聖的.因此﹐當我們藉墮胎來結束這生命,是錯誤。
人類的邏輯往往捉摸不定。在我們發現自己懷孕時﹐如果感覺自己還沒有準備好要這個孩子﹐或者發覺他的出生會給我們帶來麻煩﹐那麼﹐他就不是一個生命﹐是不神聖的﹐所以可以將其墮胎。但是﹐如果我們感覺已經準備好要有個孩子﹐那麼﹐這個孩子無論是處在2﹐4﹐8﹐16﹐32的細胞分裂階段還是在子宮中已經孕育了兩個月﹐我們都視其為神聖的生命﹐全力地保護他﹐準備迎接他的出世。好像這個未出生的小生命神聖與否﹐只是取決于我們自己的感情﹐財力和工作狀況。但是﹐聖經對這個問題的闡述是一致和清晰的﹕無論我們是否有所準備﹐無論這個孩子是否健康﹐或許這生命在一些不可想像的情況下開始, 他都是上帝的傑作。從這生命的開始, 神就在那裡, 積極和精心地創造這生命。這個生命是神聖的。
因此﹐當我們流產時﹐會感到悲痛和難過﹐因為失去了一個生命。當我們在考慮是否要墮胎, 這永遠是個困難的決定。在內心深處﹐我們會有一番激烈地掙扎﹕是墮﹐還是不墮呢﹖因此﹐沒有人可以在墮胎後仍然當作什麼都沒有發生過。我們只希望深深地將其埋藏在心底﹐不再提及此事。當遇到墮胎的話題時﹐我們就會感到不安﹐極力迴避討論。對有墮胎經歷的人﹐會產生一些後遺症﹐也被稱作“墮胎後綜合症” ﹕我們可能情緒低落﹐容易發怒﹔會在墮胎週年日感到特別難受和沮喪﹐心情起伏不定﹔當看到別人懷孕時﹐會妒忌她們﹐對自己生氣﹔當看到其他出生的嬰兒時﹐會忍不住悲傷和流淚﹔當我們看到其他的孩子一點點地長大﹐會情不自禁地想起那個被墮胎的孩子如今的年齡。這一切的心情感受都表明了每個孩子都是從神而來的﹐每一個生命都是非常神聖的。
IV． 我們如何生活在神的行列中﹖ V. 19-24
1． 我了解這個問題對我們當中有些人來說是非常困難的。在我們中間﹐有些人出於各自不同的理由曾經墮過胎。現在你知道這個行為是不蒙神所喜悅的﹐你需要求神寬恕你。<約翰一書>1﹕9﹐“我們若承認自己的罪， 神是信實的、公義的，必定赦免我們的罪，潔淨我們脫離一切不義。”如果你已經認罪﹐但是仍受這段經歷的困擾﹐我鼓勵你去尋找一位基督徒的輔導人士, 幫助你來處理這過去的墮胎, 從一個受傷良知的捆綁中得到釋放。千萬不要讓別人用一句“不要擔心﹐很快就會過去的” 來敷衍你的傷痛。我們發現有一些人﹐在墮胎十年甚至十五年以後開始對自己過去的行為產生罪惡感﹐感到沮喪和失落。不要害怕尋求幫助﹐我們可以幫助你重新塑造你的內在生命。神已經饒恕了妳, 妳也不須繼續處罰和苛刻的對待自己.
2． 對其他人而言﹐我鼓勵你們奉獻一些時間去幫助當地危機懷孕中心. 盡力地幫助那些在危機中懷孕的婦女選擇生命. 因為生命是神聖的。
演出結束後﹐一位我並不認識的婦人在走廊上向我走來。“噢﹐你看到她了嗎﹐”她說﹐“你一定認出她了吧﹐就是那個豎琴師﹐我的女兒﹐她17年前出生的時候只有一條腿。我們想盡方法﹐現在她安裝了一個假肢。令人欣慰的是﹐在這些年裡﹐她學會了靈巧地使用她的雙手﹐她將成為世界上最偉大的豎琴師之一。她是我全部的生命﹐她自己也感到非常幸福……她來了! ” 那位甜美的小女孩靜靜地向我們走來﹐她的眼中洋溢著快樂的光彩。
嬰兒的生命真的是掌握在醫生的手裡嗎﹖她的生命在神的手中﹐就是那位創造她﹐前後圍繞她﹐將手按在她身上﹐甚至在她的母親感受到她的存在之前就已經洞察她一切呼吸和行為的上帝手中。所以這生命, 從母胎中開始, 無論是健康或有障礙, 一直到復活, 都是神聖的.
Text: Psalm 139
Title: Life Under God
Theme: Since life, from beginning to the end, is from God, therefore it is sacred and we are to treat it with dignity and respect.
On 1/22/73, the US Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand. Since then, about 4000 infants have been aborted on an average day. With the legalization of the RU486 pill (Mifeprex), it is becoming more difficult to have an accurate figure. However, this Supreme Court ruling has also awakened the conscience of many in this and other countries. It forces us to take a serious look about life: who am I, where do I come from and where am I going? Even though there is less and less public debate on the issue of abortion in the election of public offices, this issue of abortion, about when life begins, and about partial birth abortion is still a hot button issue. Whenever we discuss this, it evokes strong emotions.
Many Christian churches have set apart the week of 16th to 23rd of January to remind believers about the sanctity of human life. One of these Sundays is designated as Sanctity of Life Sunday. This morning, in our study of Psalm 139, we’ll see a simple yet profound truth that human life, from the unborn child to the elderly, the healthy and the physically or mentally challenged, is from God; therefore it is to be treated with dignity and respect.
The first section of this chapter is a summary of doctrines on God's attributes.
I. God is all knowing. 1-6
The doctrine that God is all knowing is a familiar one to Christians. If God is not all knowing, then can he still be God? Here, David brings this familiar doctrine to a personal level. In vs. 1, “1O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” This all knowing God, knows David, knows me very intimately. How so?
Vs.2a, “2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;….” He knows our outward activities. Vs.2b, “…you discern my thoughts from afar.” He knows my inner thoughts. Vs.4, “4Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” Not only God knows what I am thinking, but also the thoughts that I have not yet fully formulated and expressed. Vs.3, “3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” He knows my everyday acts, my life-style.
In other words, God knows my every move. He is like the mother, knowing exactly what the child is up to. With just one look, a mother can detect if her child has done something bad. It’s like the camera that Houston city wants to install at some of the traffic lights to catch drivers who are speeding or running red lights. Or like the CEO of a large company being placed under house arrest. He wears some kind of bracelets so the police can monitor his whereabouts. We don’t like being known by others in this way. We feel it is an intrusion of Privacy. We are being watched, restricted and confined, and we don’t like it. But what about God's knowledge of us?
Vs. 5, “5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me..” One of the highlights for many parents is at night when you tuck your kids to sleep. You put the blanket or sheets under and over them, making it fit. What is the purpose? So the child feels secure and comfort. God hems me in, behind and before. He covers me with his hand to protect and comfort me. You see, God knows me thoroughly; he is not trying to catch me when I do something wrong. But he knows me so well as to protect and comfort me.
And in vs.6, “6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” David is saying that knowing that God so thoroughly knows him, is beyond his comprehension. It is far too wonderful
II. God is all Present. 7-12
God knows the ins and outs of David, why? God is everywhere.
First, there is the eternal dimension. Vs.8, “8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” Whether I go to heaven or Sheol, meaning hell, you are there.
Second, the spatial dimension. Vs.9-10, “9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” If I start from east and keep going to the west and then east again, you are still there.
Third, the temporal dimension. Vs. 11-12, “11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Even when David is being covered by darkness, God is there with him.
No matter what situations he finds himself in, God is there. God is everywhere. Its almost like the story of the famous Chinese monkey. No matter how far he jumps, he is still within the five fingers of Buddha.
Because God is everywhere, therefore he knows me thoroughly. Certainly some may think of this as restrictive. But what is the purpose of God being everywhere in my life? vs. 10, “10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” God is everywhere in our life so he can lead us and hold us. Not to scare or threaten us, but to guide and direct us. Think of some of the dark moments in life. When we are confused about life’s direction, he is there with us. When we face that financial crisis, he is there with us. When we experience the mixed emotions of an unplanned pregnancy, he is there with us. When we grieve over the loss of a parent, or an unborn child due to miscarriage or death in the womb, he is there with us. When we are in the shadow of the valley of death, when we are in the deep waters and fire of life, he is there. He is every where. He is like a 24/7 surveillance camera, knowing our every move. He is not there to scare us or try to catch us when we sin. He is there to guide and lead us in all circumstances of life.
III. God is all Creating. 13-18
Why does he know us thoroughly? Why is he present in every aspect of our life? This is like asking why do you care, and guide that child in your family? The answer is found in 13-18.
Vs.13, “13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” The word form means made, create and possess. Inmost parts refers to our inmost feelings, our emotions. Vs.15, “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” Frame is a reference to our bony structure, our skeletons. When we are 12 weeks old in the womb, hands and feet are clearly visible. Vs.16, “16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” It is about us in the embryonic stage. When we are only 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 cell stage, when there is not even the visible form, God knows us, he is there. The scripture is saying that when we are still in our mothers’ wombs, when there is no recognizable forms, God is there creating us, possessing us. Moreover, vs. 18, “…..I awake, and I am still with you.” God is there when we are in our mothers’ womb. When we awake from death, he is still there. Why does he know us so thoroughly? Why is he everywhere in our life? It is because he is the one who created us. He is the one who possesses us, from before birth till eternity. And David says, vs. 17, “17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I would count them, they are more than the sand…..” The thought that God knows us completely, he is everywhere in our lives, he has created us, this is too precious, too vast to grasp and understand.
This is the soul of Psalm 139. When we are in the dark place of our mother’s womb, before we even have that recognizable form, God is there. No matter under what circumstances this life begins, God is there. It is sacred and therefore it is wrong for us to terminate this life through abortion.
Human logic can be confusing. When we find out that we are pregnant, if we feel that we are not ready, or the birth of this child is not convenient for us, then this child is not a life, not sacred and therefore can be aborted. But, if we feel we are ready, then this child, whether it is 4/8/16/32 cell stage or 2 months old in the womb, we treat this as a sacred life, protect it and welcome it into the world. It is as if the sanctity of the unborn child depends on our emotional, financial and professional status. However, the scripture is very consistent on this. Whether or not we are ready, whether or not this child is ‘healthy’, whether or not this child is formed under some very extraordinary and tragic circumstances, this child is God's handiwork. From the very beginning of this life, God is there, actively creating him/her. This life is sacred.
For this reason, when there is a miscarriage, we feel sad, because a life is lost. When we are considering abortion, it is never an easy decision. Deep within us is an intense struggle going on; should we or should we not. For this reason, no one can really have an abortion and act as if nothing has happened. We want to bury or get it out of our memory and therefore don’t want to talk about it. When the issue is brought up, we feel uncomfortable and want to avoid the subject. For those who have had an abortion, there are after effects, known as post abortion syndrome. One may experience depression and anger. We may feel depressed or mood change on the anniversary of the abortion. When we see others getting pregnant, there may be jealousy and anger towards them and self. When we see another infant, we feel sad and want to cry. When we see other children growing up, we keep thinking of the age of our aborted child. All such emotions really point to the truth that each child is created by God. Each life is very sacred.
IV. How shall we then live? 19-24.
Knowing that we are created by God, God knows us thoroughly and he is ever present in our lives, how then shall we live? Vs. 19-22, “19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! 20They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! 21Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.” Simply put, when I know my life is from God, then I will align myself with God. I’ll hate what God hates. I will stay away from evil ones and evil acts.
On the contrary, 23-24, “23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” David says, Search me, because I don’t know myself fully. So please search me to see if there are still sins in my life, if there are evil ways in me. And help me to walk in your path, in ways pleasing to you.
So what does all this mean to us? I would like to give several suggestions:
1. I understand that this is a difficult subject to some of us. There may be some of us, for whatever reasons, may have had abortions. Now you know that this is not pleasing to God. You need to ask God to forgive you. I John 1:9 says, “9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If you have already confessed your sins and your conscience is still bothered by your past, I will encourage you to seek a Christian counselor to help you deal with this past abortion and be freed from the bondage of a wounded conscience.
Don’t let anyone trivialize your grief, saying don’t worry, it will go away soon. We have seen individuals who after 10 or 15 years of the abortion, began to feel severe guilt and depression. Don’t be afraid of seeking help so we can assist you to rebuild your inner life. God has already forgiven you, therefore don’t be so hard on yourself.
2. To others, my I encourage you to volunteer your time to help out in some of the local Pregnancy resource centers. Doing your part to help individuals in crisis pregnancy situations to choose life because a baby’s life is very sacred.
3. You may also consider financially supporting some of these agencies. I know different Pregnancy resource centers are trying to raise funds to purchase ultrasound equipments. This will help the mothers visually see what is inside their stomach is not just a blob of tissue, but an actual head, hands and feet that can be recognized.
4. I understand this last suggestion is not easy for us Chinese. How about considering adoption as a way of helping those young mothers ?
Would you consider becoming a voice for the voiceless ?
Several years ago, I cam across this story by a doctor. “During one delivery, I realized the baby had only one leg. I knew something wrong had happened during the pregnancy. I thought about how this child will grow up and how disappointed the mother would be. Looking at the clock in the delivery room, I know that if I would only delay my hand movement by a few seconds, which no one would notice, then this baby would die due to lack of oxygen. But I continued and delivered the baby. As expected, the mother was shocked. She stayed in the hospital for several more months to deal with her emotions. During this time I blamed myself for not yielding to the temptation at delivery time.
Every year, our hospital would have an elaborate Christmas party for the staff. This past year, three lovely young musicians on the stage played softly in unison with the organ. There was the young harpist. She played extraordinarily well, her face was upturned as if the world that moment were a wonderful and holy place.
When the short program was over, there came running down the aisle a woman I did not know. "Oh, you saw her," she cried. "You must have recognized your baby. That was my daughter who played the harp-the little girl who was born with only one good leg 17 years ago. We tried everything at first, but now she has a whole artificial leg on that side. Best of all, through all those years, she learned to use her hands so wonderfully. She is going to be one of the world's greatest harpists. She is my whole life and now she is so happy . . . And here she is!" The sweet young girl had quietly approached us, her eyes glowing.
Impulsively, I took the child in my arms. Across her warm young shoulder I saw the creeping clock of the delivery room 17 years before. I lived again those awful moments when her life was in my hand. As the last strains of "Silent Night" faded, I found comfort I had waited for so long.”
Was that baby’s life really in the doctor’s hand? She was ultimately in God’s hands which created, knitted and hemmed her in and knew her every breath and movement even before her own mother knew anything.
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