My Vision as a Movement Chaplain Now and in the Coming Decade: A Letter to my Daughters
Dear Candace and Christy,
It is an honour to be your mother. You are my everything, and my everything cannot compare to you. You are my love and my sunshine granted by God the Creator. You are my children and my best team members, who wrote and read aloud your rendition of “Where I am from” with joy and wisdom. Truly, you are gracious gifts from God. My lovely preteens will grow into young ladies within a decade. I cannot help dreaming that you take the same Movement Chaplaincy course. What joy it is to see you brainstorming with each other for final projects in April, just like what I am doing for now! As a Movement Chaplain, it is my honour to go with you and create a brave space for people in need, although I prefer that there would be no such need for the movement chaplaincy at that time.
Sadly, the world is not getting better anywhere. I feel bad for the brokenness and schism of our society. Human desire and lust manifest themselves in those ambitious attempts called "Man over Nature.” In fact, it is a few ruling over billions, as C. S. Lewis points out in The Abolition of Man.
The world is yearning for healing, Candace and Christy, and so are we. We are certainly carrying luggage of trauma and over-vigilance as new immigrants from a country worshipping the power of autocracy. My parents and grandparents endured famine and the Cultural Revolution. Together with them, I witnessed the Tian’anmen Massacre and the Falun Gong Controversy. With me, you both have attested to the Hong Kong 2019 protests, which finally brought our good friends into exile in England. What is more, the “Zero-Covid” political movement in mainland China has separated us (and many other oversea Chinese people) from our most beloved ones since 2020.
Indeed, we need rest and healing. We are longing for bliss in our daily lives. We constantly desire a better country, but what we desire is not of this world but the city of God. Given that our earthly country is like an inn for us pilgrims, let us move on. To move on is to acknowledge and participate in those constant renewals that bring us closer to God.
We cannot do it ourselves blindly. Instead, we must first love God the Creator and seek help from God the Redeemer. Therefore, we can mend ourselves through prayers and meals of Christ. With his help, we can extend our friendship to our neighbours. My dear girls, what I have just said certainly sounds familiar to you. You have heard the Gospel of Christ from Sunday school and the Lenten Study. You also know what “moving on” means: to move on is to acknowledge and participate in constant renewals that bring us closer to God. Suppose you choose the path of a movement chaplain. In that case, I believe you want the Good Samaritan story to become your everyday life.
The life of a movement chaplain, as I see it, is the life of a cross: we look up and let God befriend us; then, we reach out to people around us and let God sustain them. We invite God to bless and maintain the space we connect with people. We allow God to tend their wounds, eliminate the weariness, and restore hope in their hearts. In silence, we witness God's redemptive work manifested to mortals. With psalters and chants, we praise the mercy of God. Let me unfold what I have prepared for you-our movement toolbox. Behold and Praise our Lord!
Our Movement Toolbox
A pair of listening ears from much compassion. Let love illuminate your eyes.
Seal your gentle heart with The Lord's Prayer and “Felicity” from Thomas Traherne. Pray that God will lift up your burden. Pray that God will deliver everyone from evil.
Invite God into your space. Ask God to grant you courage and build a brave space with you. After all, what mortals can do is not much but praise our Lord.
Offer empathy. Remember that people have their own stories. Also remember that we all are God's creatures, both great and small.
If people are hungry and thirsty, invite them for dinner. We do that in remembrance of Jesus, as Luke reminds us. If people are unrest, pray with them for their hearts' rest in God's love.
Light a fragrant candle and let the odour carry out an order. Eventually, love will bring us home.
Shelter the World in Love This Easter
My dear daughters, I enjoy hearing you sing “Go Now in Peace” every time when we wrap up our conversation. Since today is Easter, I wish to conclude my sharing with another poem:
God, make Easter my home.
Shelter me from apathy with a desire to do good.
Let the rhythm of my days
pulse with your call to live justly.
Set the table of my soul
with the generosity of your Spirit.
Furnish my life with such hope
that, while I have breath,
I might not only share good news
but also be a source of it.
God, make Easter not only my home
but also my mission.
To download the original PDF version of Erika's letter, click here: My Vision as a Movement Chaplain [.pdf]
With much love,
Erika Qian Liang
Daughter, Mother, Seminarian Student, Movement Chaplain in practiceErika Qian Liang is a fourth year theology student in Religious Studies and a second year Divinity student in the United Theological College at Dio.