December comes to us. Where does the time go? It is time for us to reflect on 2019 and anticipate 2020. Looking back on this year, there might have been troubles, hardships, and distress that we’ve experienced. But the old has gone. The new is to come. Both the old and the new are from God. So as Paul insists in 2 Corinthians, we are a new creation if we are in Christ Jesus. As a new creation, we thank God on the stormy days as well as on the beautiful days.
November is here. It means 2019 is almost coming to a close. Although it is a busy season, we need to reflect on how much God blesses our lives. We will be surprised when we count our blessings from God. Yes, all blessings flow from God. That is why we are so blessed and thankful. With this attitude of gratitude, we share our blessings with others. And we become witnesses of Christ, the light of the world. In doing so, the world is a better place where peace, love, and hope prevail.
Fall is coming! We notice that the season is changing because the weather is get-ting cooler and the days are getting shorter. The changing seasons reminds me of words from Ecclesiastes: “There is a time for everything.” Fall is coming! We notice that the season is changing because the weather is get-ting cooler and the days are getting shorter. The changing seasons reminds me of words from Ecclesiastes: “There is a time for everything.”
Summer is almost gone. Now we can hear the crickets chirping at night. It means that fall is just around corner. Kids are going back to school. And our Sunday school will be back too, starting on September 8. On that day, we will have the blessing of backpacks. On Labor Day weekend, September 1st we will hear sto-ries from people who work in different places. And our Worship Team plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage in September.
I hope you are having a great summer. I have enjoyed this warm and hot weather, because sooner or later we will realize that we are in the Christmas season with snow and cold temperatures. We need to remember that before we know it, time flies fast. The first week of July, our family joined the North Central Jurisdiction Korean American UMC Pastors and Family Retreat. I had to be there, for I had been part of the leadership team. The retreat was held in Rapid City, South Dakota.
How is your summer going? Surely, we have been waiting for this beautiful weath-er. Now suddenly summer has come to us. I pray that all of us have a great summer.
Several weeks ago, as you may remember, I heard the news that Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was burned. Almost every news channel as well as the newspa-pers covered that event. Personally, I’ve never been there, so I started to wonder why people were so focused on the fire at the Cathedral.
Our denomination has been in turbulence since the last Special General Conference. That leads me to ponder: What is the church? The church is not perfect, because broken people gather together in the name of Jesus Christ. During this poignant time, through my Facebook friends I heard that Rachel Held Evans passed away. At the time, I did not know her at all. But after reading her writing, I’ve come to know that she loved the church throughout her life. And she lived a short life by her witness, stories, and the words that she shared with others who are influenced by her. Even though I never met her or talked to her personally, I got to know her through her writing such as “From Searching for Sunday.”
Now we are in the season of Lent. In this season, I want all of us to think about our community of faith. God calls us to be in this community and be-long to it. In this community we experience life together, whether it be good or not. Our church community is different from any other organiza-tions because our life together comes from God and the Word of God. Our life together is possible through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spir-it. In other words, we are united with one another in God through Jesus Christ.
At the end of this season, I feel hope through the warm days that have come to us. Spring offers positive energy to me. The cold, snowy, icy, and windy winter seemed to last forever, but it is almost gone. Birds have come back. The ice on lakes and rivers has melted. A breezy wind can’t be compared to the cold polar vortex. Surely spring is coming. It is a season in which every creature’s life, including mine, is renewed. Yes, it is a season in which there is resurrection even when things seem to be hopeless. I desperately long for this season of resurrection that gives us hope to live this vulnerable life.
Our Lenten journey starts on the first Sunday of March with “Mardi Gras” after our worship. Mardi Gras is an interesting tradition. Before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent, people try to eat as much as they want. I wonder how this custom emerged. This is my guess of how it started: Peoples’ lives seem to be repet-itive, so they search for an escape from the humdrum of their daily routines and find new and creative ways to have fun. For this reason, Mardi Gras came about. This is my theory, anyway!
Time flies so quickly! The New Year has already started with dreams that we want to achieve. What kinds of things do we want to accomplish in this year? When a new year begins, we usually think about our resolutions. There are many resolutions that come to us. I hope that in this year your resolution will be to love more. If you love more, you know God more. The more you love, the more you know God. The less you love, the less you know God.