Reflection: Oct 7: Yet, I Will Rejoice in the Lord

Oct. 7, 2018 Reflection (Thanksgiving Sunday)

Matthew 6:25-34/ Joel 2:21-27

Yet, I Will Rejoice in the Lord

When I was young and my father came back from work or from being out of town for his work, I would earnestly wait for him to come back, not so much because I missed him but to see what he brought home. My favorite days were when he brought ice-cream home. So, when he came home from work, I would run out to greet him with an enthusiastic “Daddy!” and if he had nothing in his hands, I would just go back to my room disappointed while borderline ignoring his presence. I was a child, had an impression that he was going to be around forever, and was more interested in his gifts than in him. Then later on in life, one of the people I consider as my spiritual mentors wrote a wonderful book about prayer through which I learned that the primary purpose of prayer is our relationship and fellowship with God. more —>

Reflection: Sept 30: What is Creation Saying to Us?

September 30, 2018 Reflection

Matthew 24:32-36/ Romans 8:18-23

What is Creation Saying to Us?

Have you ever seen one of the optical illusion images or images where you have to find hidden objects? If so, you will know that both require paying close attention. There are certain things that we cannot see unless we pay close attention. Sounds are the same; if we don’t pay attention, there are sounds that we can miss. For example, I struggle to understand a lot of song lyrics. A lot of times, we have difficulty paying attention. Have you ever almost hit a deer while driving on the highway, especially at night? They can suddenly appear in front of you, can’t they? According to my experience, it can happen even if you pay attention. In a lot of things, it is important to pay close attention. more —>

Reflection: Sept 23: Protectors of the Earth

September 23, 2018 Reflection

Mark 9:33-37/ James 3:13-18

Protectors of the Earth

Those of you who have known me for a while will know that I like superhero movies. The past two years were awesome for the superhero movie world thanks to Wonder Woman and Black Panther. Wonder Woman, I’m sure you are familiar with her from the old TV series; they made the Wonder Woman movie last year and it was inspirational to many young girls. Black Panther is about a fictional African country with a king who becomes the superhero called Black Panther, and his women warriors. As a woman and a person of colour, those two movies were truly inspiring. All superheroes have different motivations for fighting; some are selfless and noble, but some are not. Spiderman is a good example of a superhero who sees one’s power as a privilege and uses it to help people. Wonder Woman also has a sense of vocation; as an Amazon, a female warrior race, she believes that it is her sacred duty to defend the world. Her heart breaks when she sees the suffering of the people during World War I, and that is her motivation for fighting. When we have more power, wealth, and other privileges than others, it is easy to think it is ours to enjoy. However, these superheroes such as Spiderman and Wonder Woman teach us that privilege comes with responsibility; we should help others with our privileges instead of indulging in them for our greed. This belief that privilege should be used for a greater good is the kind of wisdom that we learn from the Book of James. 

Today’s text in the Book of James teaches us of two kinds of wisdom; wisdom from heaven and the earthly wisdom. It says the wisdom from heaven is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. It says bitter envy, selfish ambition, boastfulness, and falsity do not come from heaven. If our wisdom involves selfishly pursuing our ambition and greed, we will know that it didn’t come from God. If we have a superpower and it makes us want to dominate the world, we will know that this thought didn’t come from God. But if we have a superpower and think of how many people we can help and save from oppression, we will know that this thought certainly did come from God. more —>

Reflection: Sept 16: Creation One with God

September 16, 2018 Reflection

Acts 17:22-28/ Romans 8:35-39

Creation One with God

How many of you own a cell phone, also known as a mobile phone? It’s a mobile device, so the battery has to be charged before leaving home. I don’t know if those of you who use cell phones have ever noticed this, but sometimes the phone becomes very warm. Of course, it becomes warm if you use it for a long time, and it means the battery is being drained; but sometimes it becomes warm and the battery power drains when you’re not using it. Can you guess why it would use battery power when you’re not even using the phone? It’s because the machine is searching for a cell signal when it is weak. It’s quite amazing that this little machine does that. Cell phones are created to be used only in locations where there are cell towers and they can get cell signals; so, when they are far away from the signal, they drain energy searching for it. It’s kind of like sunflowers too. The English name of this flower is a bit ambiguous except that it makes us think this flower likes the sun. However, if you look at the French word for this flower, it gets easier to understand what this flower does; the French name for sunflower, tournesol, means ‘turning towards the sun.’ This is a flower that turns towards the sun. That was your little dose of trivia for this week about the cell phone and the sunflower. more —>

Reflection: Sept 9: Welcoming All of God’s Creation

September 9, 2018 Reflection

Mark 7:24-30/ Romans 12:3-7

Welcoming All of God’s Creation

Are you familiar with the author C.S. Lewis? Are you familiar with the Chronicles of Narnia, a children’s book series written by Lewis? Since C.S. Lewis is known more than anything as a Christian writer, even when he was writing the Chronicles of Narnia, his Christian ideas were dominant in his mind. This series has a very strong Christian tone and is full of Christian analogies. Since we are in a Church season called Creation Time, I would like to start with how the Narnia universe is created in the Chronicles of Narnia. more —>

Reflection: Sept 2: What Goes In or What Comes Out

September 2, 2018 Reflection

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23/ James 1:19-27

What Goes In or What Comes Out

While I was learning about the history of France, I learned that, in the Renaissance period, perfumes were used to mask body odours, and became highly successful during the 17th Century; I think this is because the Palace of Versailles didn’t have bathrooms, besides the body odour problem. But as I learn this knowledge, I found myself saying, “Really? You smell bad because of your bad sanitary practices, and you use perfume to mask it? Really?” I mean, we may be able to mask the odour if no one comes too close to us, but we can’t get rid of it unless we actually get rid of the source. Washing with soap and water can get rid of body odour. I don’t remember if it was in a movie or a TV show, but there was a man trying to impress a woman; he asked her, “What perfume are you wearing?” The woman said, “Soap.” The truth is, body odour can only be removed by washing; getting rid of the source. Masking the odour with perfume? My attitude is about it is, “Who are you kidding?” more —>

Reflection: Aug 26: God Who Takes Charge

August 26, 2018 Reflection

Isaiah 41:8-13, 18/ Acts 9:1-19

God Who Takes Charge

Today, let’s start by thinking about something that we do well, but something that we acquired through training. Let’s think of when we were learning how to do those things. Did we make a lot of mistakes? You bet, we did! And sometimes we were frustrated and lacked confidence because we were not skilled. I remembered when I was learning French, how I drilled my new vocabulary words and sentences everywhere in the house pretending I was having conversation with someone. Then when I went to France, during the first several months, I was met with a desperate situation where I had to overcome my fear and lack of confidence to survive. I left my purse in a bus; I think my passport was in it too. I was scared, but I pushed myself to get on the next bus and explain to the driver about my situation. I went to the terminal, explained again, and found my purse.  Live and learn… more —>

Reflection: Aug 19: In Life, In Death, In Life Beyond Death…

August 19, 2018 Reflection

John 6:51-58/ Ephesians 5:15-20

In Life, In Death, In Life Beyond Death…

Today, we will be talking about heaven; so, let’s start with some heavenly jokes. One day, a highly successful executive woman was hit by a car and went to heaven. At the Pearly Gate, St. Peter said, “You’re the first executive who came up here and I don’t know what to do with you.” She said, “Just let me in.” Peter said, “Okay, we have rules up here. You are to spend one day in hell and one day in heaven, and then decide where you want to spend your eternity.” She went down to hell; she saw all her old colleagues and friends, who welcomed her, at a beautiful golf course and a fancy restaurant where she ate lobster and steak. Even the devil was nice to her. The next day, she spent a day in heaven, frolicking in the clouds, playing harps, and singing. When it was time for her to make up her mind, she said to Peter, “I didn’t think I would say this, but I’d rather be in hell.” She went back to hell and found a wasteland with her colleagues in rags. The devil came to her and she said, “But yesterday, everything was beautiful, and we had a great time.” The devil smiled and said, “Yesterday, we were recruiting you; today, you’re staff.” more —>

Aug 12: Reflection: Bread of Life, Bread of Unity

August 12, 2018 Reflection

John 6:35, 41-51/ Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Bread of Life, Bread of Unity

When I was a graduate student in Montreal, I had to take a course on research methods. Every semester offers different methods to focus on; mine happened to be something called memory theory. I had difficulty grasping the concept of memory theory in general, but my research paper was on collective memory. Collective memory is about a group of people preserving their identity by collectively remembering their stories, mostly through rituals. For example, every Lunar New Years Day, Koreans eat rice cake soup and bow to their parents, relatives, and teachers. Jewish people host a Passover Seder to remember the story of how God lead their people out of Egypt through Moses. Even we have our own traditions as a congregation, don’t we? There are certain things we do, or we do things a certain way that might be different from other congregations. If we want to talk about our identity as Christians, I would have to say, the most important ritual we do to preserve (or to remind ourselves of) our religious identity is the Holy Communion. more —>