THE CLOUD OF WITNESSES
IN THE LORD’S RECOVERY
History is the accumulation of persons, events, and matters throughout the ages; however, as we all know, the real content, substance, and subject of history is “people”. Thus, we may say that it is people who create history, and history leads mankind.
Therefore, how do we preserve history to explore mankind or actively create history to propagate mankind? Both are of great significance. Hence, the historians believe that, on a smaller scale, we could know “gain and loss” in taking “people” as a mirror, and on a larger scale, know “rise and fall of a country” in taking “history” as a mirror.
The history of the Lord’s recovery is actually the history of God’s move of His economy today; however, it was not until the twentieth century that the Lord’s recovery, through the ministry of Brother Watchman Nee and Brother Witness Lee, was greatly developed and composed to publications, converging to become a clear stream and pillar in Christianity. If the Lord delays His coming back, though our earnest prayer for His second coming has not decreased at all, it would be truly a serious matter concerning the entrustment of the ones before us and the continuation of the ones behind us.
I personally feel the continuing operation of Grace Terrace bears particular value and meaning in the Lord’s recovery at least in four areas—history, inheritance, testimony, and education—besides merely providing a solemn and spiritually rich Christian cemetery for the saints who are resting in the Lord and their families.
- History is the accumulation of time. Although God is the unlimited One who is self-existing and ever-existing, the created is limited in time. However, throughout the past twenty centuries, thousands of precious lives, heart treasures, high positions, and golden futures (their “time”) have been “wasted” upon the Lord Jesus. What they have poured upon Him is not a waste but a fragrant testimony of His sweetness. Do you feel that when you walk on the grassland of Grace Terrace, there is no time wasted but the realization that we all have received great mercy from God to become the witnesses in the trail of the history of the Lord’s recovery until that day?
- Inheritance is the continuation of person. Time follows people and those who have time are many. Yet are they willing to be put in the Lord’s recovery? Are they willing to “waste” themselves on the Lord? This is a crucial matter. We praise the Lord for Brother Watchman Nee, the seer of the divine revelation, and Brother Witness Lee who took the lead to be an inheritor of the divine revelation. We need to know that many saints who are laid here were the inheritors in the trail of the history of the Lord’s recovery. The race we run will continue until the Lord comes. How blessed we are! The baton of the Lord’s recovery is now in our hand. Before us, behind us, and even around us are many inheritors who treasure the vision of the Lord’s recovery.
- Testimony is the declaration of resolution. Resolution is the inner motivating power of man which guides his way, and the completion of resolution is testimony. Brother Watchman Nee’s life-long resolution of his testimony was that “his future was either to be martyred or to be raptured,” and Brother Witness Lee’s was “sacrifice.” What is our resolution? What will our future be? Look at these words of testimonies on the tombstones. The inscription of testimony looks like cloud surrounding us, and this causes us to be reverential. May we also be able to say: They are not alone; may the Lord also grant us such resolution to be faithful unto death.
- Education is the means of preaching. Truth needs to be preached and transmitted; however, Brother Lee even mentioned that truth needs education. Though the pathway of education is diversified, the purpose of education is to turn the objective truth in the Lord’s recovery into our subjective experience. I almost participated in most of the memorial meetings of the saints who were buried here. Every saint is different in nationality—Chinese, American, Japanese, Korean, and Hispanic, etc.—and varied in age—from under ten years old to as old as one hundred years. But they all have one thing in common, that is, a touching God-man story. Their God-man living stories indirectly governed the direction of my heart and strengthened my desire to serve the Lord, so I often come here by myself and walk around. People often criticize us that we could only preach high-peak truths, but I would clarify: These testimonies of “God-man stories” are the reality of the “high peak truths.” In fact, the “God-man stories” of the saints who are resting here are the spiritual materials for our proclamation in truth education.
According to the fellowship of Brother Andrew Yu and Brother Paul Wu, the earliest thought of Grace Terrace was from our dear Brother Lee. After Brother Lee went to be with the Lord in 1997, Brother Andrew Yu was the one who planned, designed, promoted, and completed the major details of the construction of Grace Terrace. During the project he supported and strengthen it without complaint and regret, and finally named the cemetery Grace Terrace. Brother Paul Wu also coordinated seamlessly.
It was a great mercy that I personally had the opportunity to coordinate with the senior brothers in the service of Grace Terrace. Because our service is not for death; it is to participate in the testimony of the resurrection of the divine life. Brother Lee said, “The sepulcher is the gateway, the door to enter into the city of expectation, the New Jerusalem. If we have the light of the New Testament, we should know this indicates the ‘hope of resurrection.’” Hence, when the Lord says, “… Let the dead bury their own dead,” we should say aloud, “Amen!”
Finally, I would like to quote a portion of the word from message 59 of Life-study of Genesis as mutual encouragement:
“We should not pay too much attention to the present but rather to the future. Sarah’s death did not disappoint Abraham in his search for a better country and for a city with foundations. On the contrary, it stirred up his expectation of the coming day. Abraham might have said, ‘Sarah, you must realize that you are not being buried here. You will just rest here. I have prepared the best bedroom for you in which you may rest as you wait for that day. If that day is far off, I will come to be one with you and we shall rest together. This is why I have purchased the field as well as the cave. Look at the life in the field. It is not a place of death—it is a place of life.’
As God’s called ones, we should not expect to have a happy life here on earth. We must follow the steps of Abraham looking for a better country, for a city with foundations (Heb. 11:10, 16). Our temporary life on earth is the life of a traveler. Due to this, Abraham paid little attention to his dwelling place and simply erected a tent. He was a sojourner, a stranger, who was looking for a permanent dwelling place. However, he did pay more attention to the future. The choice sepulcher was for the future. In principle, we also should not prepare a better home for the present but a gateway for the future. We are not here for today but for tomorrow. If the Lord delays His coming back, we all shall enter into this gateway.”