Saturday, 4 July 2009

Noah's Ark, Hong Kong and The Lord who Saves.

So I've never blogged before.. but I saw and experienced some stuff today that hopefully will be an encouragement to you! It's less of a theological post, and more of a collection of thoughts I noted down during a day trip in Hong Kong. So sorry, it'll be a bit long.. And Dev I hope you don't mind me just suddenly posting out of nowhere! I gather you wanted people to post here when you started up the blog, thus why we have access.. Hope it's alright!

In Hong Kong/Asia there's this massive property development company called Sun Hung Kai, and apparently the owners/founders are Christians. Recently they developed and opened a park called "Noah's Ark". The main attraction of this new development is a full size replica of Noah's Ark, as described in Genesis. Sounds pretty sweet huh? Christian property developers.. the involvement of various Christian organisations.. a great salvation story with which to point people to the cross of Christ.. I was looking forward to an opportunity to check it out.

I managed to get a ticket to go along with my dad and some of his friends and so off we went early this morning to get there for the 10am opening. It was a pretty cool sight when we got off the ferry at Ma Wan where Noah's Ark is located. This thing was huge. Bigger than I imagined the Ark to be and if you're a friend of mine on facebook, I'll have pictures uploaded soon.
So we got there and our first point of interest was to get alongside the Ark and then into it.

The first area was an introduction into the Ark and why the Lord commanded Noah to make an Ark. They were quite good at describing the lifestyle that was being condemned by the Father.. Overall, it was pretty good biblical stuff with various Bible quotes, videos giving different types of info on the Ark and how experts think the actual design worked out, and other general facts on the time period, how long it took to build etc.
It was fairly encouraging although there was no specific link to Christ or that real problem of mankind was a rejection of the Father. Gotta give them a chance i figured. Maybe the next section will have some more solid gospel presentation.

Long story short, as the day wore on, my heart sunk as the message turned into some semblance of: 'The Ark saved Noah, his family and many animals. In our calamities, struggles and issues in the world, we must find our own Ark. We must work hard to love one another. We must work hard to love the world more. We must work hard to love ourselves more. If we strive enough, we can save ourselves and this world from falling apart. Global warming, wars, famine, etc are going to destroy our world. The timebomb of the end of the world is coming.. let's work to stop it'

It's quite well summed up in the "Vision and Mission" where they state their purpose is 'intended to promote family values and teach love, social harmony and care for the environment.'
Wow great. That's totally the story of Noah. /sarcasm I don't know why the message became what it did. Maybe they didn't want to offend.. maybe they wanted to stay politically correct.. either way, it seems to be fairly common nowadays :(

It was just so sad. Most sad were the interactive sections of the Ark.
They had a series of games/activities, to teach...good morals i guess?
One was called "A date with yourself" You walked along a 'rainbow bridge' and at 10 various points there was a mirror. By each mirror there was a question/task on a piece of paper. When you flipped the paper, it gave a moral teaching. ie. "Put your left hand on your right shoulder, right hand on left shoulder and snuggle your head in. Flip paper. You're giving yourself a hug. Learn to love yourself more!" What? We need to learn to love ourselves more? .....
Another was a game in a dark room (i forget the name) where you are blindfolded and you are given a piece of string (acting as a banister) thats leads you while you walk over various different materials/textures. Then suddenly the string is gone. And you're standing alone in darkness trying to find out what to do. Then one of the game attendants links you back with your friends as a human train and you're led out the room. They ask you questions afterwards.
Q: When did you feel safe, with or without the string?
A: Obviously with!
Q: How did you stay strong when the string was gone?
A: Our friends led us and guided us.
So the lesson is that when things go wrong in our life, there are people, friends, family who you can find strength from. And I'm sure there are others who find strength from you. So we must learn to stick together and guide each other.
I had to contain my laughter. We were all blindfolded! Our security wasn't from each other. That would be to have the blind leading the blind! It's destined for failure. There is absolutely no way I'd feel safe if we were only able to rely on our fellow blind friends. They failed to see that our security was from the game attendents who were able to see. Only one who can see the light, or rather is The Light, can guide the lost and blind. Surely that is the only real teaching from such a game.
I was so sad. And not only sad but filled with a despair and helplessness.

And so the day went on. There's a bunch of other stuff there to do, alot of educational things and whatnot but this'll do. I feel like i've dragged on already and hope you aren't bored with reading this. Like I said, it's my first post and I probably neeed to learn to condense my thoughts!

It was around 4pm already and we were starting to think about leaving. There were only a couple of small places to glance in on before heading to the exit. One of them was this little sports ground, the size of 2 basketball courts with some tiered seating on the side. The peculiar thing was that there were about a dozen or so white people on various instruments looking like they were getting ready for a performance. (excuse the term 'white people' i'm not trying to be racist at all, but it was definitely a sight that drew attention given the location etc.) So we decided to sit for a quick break and check out what it was about.
Lo and behold, as they got up, they were introduced as members of a mission team from the states to spend time here in Hong Kong and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The next 30 minutes or so, these americans put on a gospel concert with drama, singing and a short testimony in the middle. (They even sang 3-4 songs in cantonese, which was VERY impressive!) I managed to chat with them briefly afterwards, which was nice. Was really encouraging to meet them and find out how best to pray for them :)
In the midst of my frustration at the lack of gospel proclamation in this place, particularly since my unbelieving dad was there too... the Lord used the most unlikely of ways to bring His good news. I was totally hoping for and praying for God to speak through the actual Ark and the stuff inside to the people of Hong Kong.. and when I felt that the place was useless for proclaiming the gospel, the Lord showed me how wrong I was.

And this is really what I want to share and encourage you with. So often, I find myself thinking that what someone, or even myself, has done is just too rubbish to be of use to the Lord. I find myself thinking that there is no hope and that no one will be able to hear of Jesus, and come to know Him. But I was reminded today, that the Lord loves to lift high the name of His Son, and to expand His kingdom. He LOVES to save. I too often fall into the trap of thinking that I want people to hear of Christ and be saved, but alas, it just ain't happening today. I forget that no matter how much I think I want people to be saved, the Lord wants it infinitely more. And also has immeasureably more power to do so!

I still feel that the Noah's Ark attraction could be so much more faithful in proclaiming boldly the gospel of Jesus. However, my sadness cannot be intertwined with a sense of hopelessness and despair that the good news is not going out effectively. If man were acting alone then sure, the gospel would have no hope. But the Lord's strength is such that it can be displayed despite human weakness. It is a gospel given to us from above, and so will succeed. If the Lord were able to be stopped by merely the falleness of created beings then my view of God is obviously not in line with the bible!
I think in such situations of flawed/failed witness, it is right to be sad. However our sadness should be focused on our failure to faithfully reflect the glory of Christ in all it's fullness. But with the knowledge that our God, known only through Jesus, is and always has been a God who saves, there is no room for despair. There is only room for hope. Hope that somehow, someway the Lord in His sovereignty, despite the failures of our flesh, will bring many into His loving grace. Hope that the Lord will use things such as the Noah's Ark attraction, such as our flawed attempts to reflect His glory, to tell the world of all that has been achieved on the cross of the Son despite the failures and shortcomings of our witness. I don't know how He'll achieve it. Today and recently He's been using this group of young americans (amongst others I'm sure!). Tomorrow? Next week, month, year? I don't know. But what I do know is that the Lord will save. Why wouldn't He? Afterall, we do believe in Jesus, The Lord who Saves.

edit: if you want to check out the Noahs Ark website, here it the link.


yemsee said...

hey Leslie
great stuff
thanks for that =)
when you starting at clubhouse ?

Leslie said...

Last week of August. Heading back to London tomorrow and I guess some time over the next week will sort out exact details with Prentice.
Gonna be very wierd not having you guys around! Hope all's well in sg.
What can we specifically pray for for you three?

Ann said...

Hello lovely people,
I think i have to react on your writings about an ark in hongkong. It is good to read that you want a pure real direct-to-the-point-vision of Noah and also of Jesus. do you know that there is also an ark you can walk inside and see what the work of the Lord is in the time of Noah and after that?
You better have to go to the Ark van Noach just in the Netherlands.There you see a lot of the history. it is interesting! ofcourse because everywhere the Lord is, there is power.
look on I hope i help you foreward in your wish to see and hear about. Thanks for your opinion in what you have seen. I really love this Ark van Noach, and i wish you do, blessings