Turning “Spring” and “Blessings” Upside Down
Author: Yan Wing
Translator: Kaylee Ho
Chinese people love wordplay, and there are many homophones in the Chinese language that have opposite meanings. For instance, to welcome Chinese New Year, everyone likes to post the character “春” (spring) upside-down, which means “spring has come”. The words “upside down” and “come” are homophones in Chinese. But have people ever thought about the true meaning of “upside down”? Most of the headlines on the TV or the newspaper are about catastrophes, a flood or a drought, an earthquake or a tsunami. The city you live in might be safe and sound today, but your homes could be submerged in floodwater tomorrow morning. Why are natural disasters so deadly and frequent? There is no other reason – the drastic changes in the weather are rooted in the serious destruction of nature by human beings. Human beings take whatever they want from natural resources, over-exploiting mountains, rivers and forests, and destroying the beautiful nature. As climate changes affect natural disasters, the United Nations and scientists around the world are calling for energy saving and reduction of carbon emissions every day. How many of us, selfish people, are really vigorous in saving the earth? Everyone only looks at the current small world, thinking: “It’s ok as long as today is safe. Who cares about the world?” When we open our hazy eyes early in the morning, we are already on the brink of a crisis, regret and remorse are of no avail – it is too late!
In the past people said “spring has come”, which means that the earth is covered with greenery, birds are singing, and flowers are blooming. What a beautiful picture! But nowadays most of these beautiful scenes of nature can only be pursued in memory. On the great expanses of land on earth, the beautiful spring has long been lost, and it is full of devastation. Where can spring be found? Spring has arrived, but it has also been turned upside down. In the midst of an abnormal climate, there is a hidden truth: The end of the world is coming. Jesus Christ warned the world many times: “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away…” (Matthew 24:32-35 NIV) Jesus wanted to let us know the end of the world is coming. It is true that the Lord spoke of summer; but when spring has already come ( upside down), will “summer” be far behind?
During Chinese New Year, an upside-down Chinese character “福” ( pronounced as “fu” and meant “blessing and wealth” to Chinese people) will be posted on the door of every house. Of course, it is also for auspiciousness. People greet each other “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (“wish you wealthy”). It is because only money can drastically improve one’s life. If one makes a fortune and becomes a wealthy person, one will be blessed. But can money really be exchanged for happiness and blessings? It was reported on December 11, 2010 that two years had passed since the American financial giant Bernard Madoff was arrested for defrauding 50 billion U.S. dollars and sentenced to 150 years in prison. His eldest son Mark Madoff couldn’t bear the humiliation and hanged himself. He lived a luxurious life like a prince before his death, but now at the age of 46, he has become another victim of his father’s Ponzi scheme. Can this be considered a blessing? People are mistaken about the concept of “blessings”. As for real blessings, money takes up a very small proportion. Jesus Christ corrected this by telling us what “blessedness” is. He pointed it out positively:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
(Matthew 5:3-12 NIV)
The blessings that Christ spoke of are the gospel. They are exactly the opposite of the world’s misconceptions about the word “blessings”. This is Jesus Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” and also the famous “Beatitudes”. Truly blessed are all those who mourn with humility, are gentle and compassionate, long for the truth, endure persecution to benefit mankind, suffer persecution and persevere, and take spreading the gospel to save souls as their life-long career.
Taiwan has produced a climate documentary called “±2°C”, describing climate change and the relationship between man and nature. If we work together to save energy and reduce carbon emissions, and if we lower the temperature by 2°C, the world and human beings will be able to survive, and spring will really come. If we continue to destroy nature and the temperature of the earth rises by 2°C, the end of the world will be in sight. More importantly, if you believe in Jesus Christ and conform to the reconstructed concept of “blessings”, you will be able to obtain the heavenly blessing. It’s your decision between life and death in the span of a single thought!