Last month I was prayerfully thinking about how I might connect Taiwanese culture with the Beautiful News of Jesus in a Chinese New Year message I thought I might be giving at a nearby Taiwanese/Mandarin-speaking church. The idea that came to mind was the man-eating wild “Nian” monster legend. Chinese people around the world share this story as a basis for celebrating the Chinese Year.
Thankfully I wound up not having to prepare that message, so I didn’t pursue the “monster” idea any more. However, last week I had to start thinking about what we might do for our church planting team’s “Chinese New Year” truck campaign.
Thankfully “Nian” is not just the name of a fictitious monster, it’s also the Chinese character 年 whose origins are represented below:
With the idea of “harvest” in mind (especially in light of the fact that we live in agricultural communities!), we began to brainstorm a poster which might extend the idea of blessing for a bountiful harvest. This would be plastered on all four sides of the advertising truck we hire:
However, out of concern that this might be a little too “artsy” or off-the-wall for the traditionally-minded grassroots people living in this area, we decided to fall back on a more traditional-look developed for us by the advertising company’s media person:
The audio announcement will wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year, pronouncing God's blessing for an abundant harvest for the New Year in colloquial Taiwanese. The following scripture verses will be rotated in between the blessing announcements:
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Ps 34:8)
Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. (Ps 112:1)
May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (ps 115:15)
Jesus said: "I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
The Taiwanese song we are obtaining permission to use in the background is literally translated as “All Creation is Filled By Your Grace” (by Streams of Praise). One line that stands out to me in the lyrics mentions the Chinese/Taiwanese saying 一枝草，一點露 (yī zhī cǎo, yī diǎn lù): “there is a drop of water on every blade of grass. This basically translates as “there is always a way out.”
Though I’m not quite yet satisfied with the recording and mixing level, here’s basically what the recording will sound like:
May God use both the verbal message as well as the posters displayed on the truck to bless those in our communities who hear and see them!