China Chiristian Daily

- November 23, 2017 -


Discussion about “Honor Thy Father and Mother” on Double Ninth Festival—the First Commandment with Promise

By CCD contributor: Fengqin Du
on October 11, 2016 01:10 AM

the aged: care for the aged.

Nine was considered as a Yang number in ancient China, so the ninth day of the ninth month in traditional Chinese calendar, when two "ninth" appeared at once, is called the Double Ninth Festival. Double Ninth Festival originates from the Warring States of China, whose true meaning is to pay respect to our ancestors, the elderly and be grateful. It has been passed down since firstly being set as a national festival in Tang Dynasty.

Double Ninth Festival was named the Elderly's Festival after the founding of New China, but not official until 1989, on the purpose to encourage society to respect, love and help the elderly.

Honuoring one's parents is a traditional virtue in Chinese nation, which other virtues have to come after. So how should a Christian interpret this tradition and bring it to practice?

I remember that on a Sunday party up north of 2010, just before the Double Ninth Festival, I heard a very intimidating sentence form the priest, which says that parents are the represent of God on earth. I bear it deeply in my heart because I used to think that it's just a traditional virtue to honor my parents and children are obliged to pay back their parents for their nurturing, but never had I known that parents hold such a sacred position before committing to Christ! Then I think about the ten commands. "honor thy parents" comes straight after "honor no other gods but the Lord", which shows that one should honor his/her parents not only for moral or social obligation, but for obeying God's will.

"Father loves like mountain; mother loves like ocean", so the saying goes. I believe that every kid can feel the truth in it. How can one hold no gratefulness knowing that parents are the source of children's life and everything?

Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt, managing around the country, after being sold there. When his brothers went to Egypt to buy grain to survive the famine, he enquired them thoroughly about his father, asking:" Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?" From this we can certainly feel that Joseph was strongly missing and caring for his father. Then his father Jacob went down to Egypt and was cared buried properly by him. Ruth accompanied her mother-in-law Naomi whole-heartedly after Naomi lost her husband and two sons, and for this God rewarded her greatly-she was the ancestor of Jesus Christ's flesh. When Jesus Christ was crucified he didn't forget about his mother, and he committed her to his favorite disciple John, which shows us just how perfect Jesus Christ truly is, for he was not just loyal to his father above, but also to his mother in flesh. He is nothing but a perfect savior in both religion and earthly life!

These beautiful stories are written down in holy bible not just for us Christians but for people all over the world. As God's children, we listen to his teaching, so we are most blessed and favored, but to practice his teaching is the point of being favored.

In the long history of Chinese culture, many moving stories appeared: Confucius took very good care of his mother; ZiLu borrowed rice from hundreds miles away for his parents; HuangXiang warmed bed for his parents in winter; WangXiang lied upon the ice to catch a carp for his step-mother; Pang's love and loyalty for her mother-in-law was rewarded a fountain with two carps everyday; MengZong worried to tears for his mother's illness and moved the bamboos so much that fresh shoots came out instantly on a winter day...... These famous moral models are the positive power fountain for later generations.

"Honor thy father and mother-this is the first commandment with promise." (Eph:6:3) The reward behind this commandment not only restricts in that "our days may be long in the land", but also contains the peace, joy, health, earthly blessing and god's grace.

Honor our parents for God has commanded us to, not for the benefit of our parents. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Eph:6:1-2)

"Care for the elderly as your own." One would honor everyone that deserves to be honored like one's parents if one truly observes filial piety. A sister honors her parents at home, when married also her in-laws; a brother the same, including the neighboring elderly. But for the misbehavior of our parents and other elderlies, we should advise them in the Lord with extreme patience and kindness and none of brutality or anger. "Do not speak harshly to an older man, but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers." (1Ti:5:1)

Parents and elderlies are the wealth of families and society, for their hard work established a solid ground for their children and society, in both material and spiritual, whom they deserve to be taken care of and respected by.

To have a home to return, someone to rely on is a common wish for every old man, and the duty of every child and junior. Even though we are among a very high-pressured society, if we are determined and genuine enough to honor our parents, then we shall be more than conquerors through the Lord who can accomplish everything.

It's a natural path to grow out of childhood towards senescence for all human beings that no one could escape, so we are today's elderly tomorrow. Let's start from now, to honor our parents, respect the old, and pass on this beautiful tradition.

When we care for our parents and the elderlies in a serving attitude, God's infinite grace and blessing will pour into us through Jesus Christ.

(Writer is a HangZhou Christian who is passionate about literal service.)

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