The Word on the Week

Xi Jinping is here.

What have we done to deserve this? A three day visit by the Vice-President of China. We are the only European State to be graced by his presence. He has met with the great ones in the US of A who rolled out the red carpet for him and now we meet him on the wet and windy tarmac of Shannon Airport.

Actually he may well have picked Shannon himself as its Business Park is reckoned to have been the prototype of the highly successful Chinese “Special Economic Zones”. These permit free enterprise to flourish in the midst of a State controlled economy. Like ourselves the Chinese have not let political philosophy get in the way of making money!

While in the US Xi visited a farm and discussed with the farmer the problem of matching production to the market needs. A very relevant question when you have the job of 1.3 billion mouths to feed! Here, he is scheduled to visit a dairy farm so our milk producers can start to increase their output. There is no word of him checking out our beef although we had a squad of Chinese on the farm recently, with many cameras, looking at how it is done.

Who knows, we may yet convert the rice eaters to beef!

Of course it is not all one way. The first Western settlers in China were missionaries and the first Protestant missionary was Robert Morrison. He met with great hardships and during his 27 years there and was only able to get home once.

He produced the first Chinese-English dictionary and translated the whole Bible. The New Testament was re-issued in pocket form to avoid being confiscated by the authorities and made its way into the interior secreted in the dress or belongings of believers.

He had been there for 7 years before he baptised the first convert. His diary entry of that event reads “At a spring of water, issuing from the foot of a lofty hill, by the sea-side, away from human observation, I baptised him in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. . . May he be the first fruits of a great harvest”.

His prayer has been answered in a most spectacular way.

Today it is reckoned there are at least 50,000,000 Christians in the unregistered churches and the same number in the official denominations.

Surely a partial fulfilment of Isaiah’s words, “So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”.

Perhaps Xi may get a copy of the Bible in his own language and hear the voice of God speaking to him. St Peter believed it was the word of God that transforms the unbeliever into a believer, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God”. 1 Peter chapter 1 v 23.