Reflection: July 23

July 23, 2017 Sermon

Genesis 28:10-19a/ Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Keep Your Eyes on God

When I ponder this world in which we live today, I get tempted to lose faith in humanity. I think we are living in a generally confused world. We are confused about a lot of things. For one thing, we are morally confused; what is deemed right or wrong is not as black and white as it used to be. Sometimes, we can’t tell what is morally right or wrong anymore. If we pull the plugs on a loved one who has been in a coma for a very long time and the doctors say there is no hope, that he or she is silently suffering a lot of pain, and the medical bill is about to ruin your life, who can say with clarity if it’s the right or wrong thing to do?  more —>

Reflection: July 16 Stewardship as a Spiritual Practice

July 16, 2017 Sermon 

Exodus 35:20-29/ Luke 20:45-21:4

Stewardship as a Spiritual Practice

I’m sure we all know what a tithe is, although we don’t practice it here. Tithing is, however, a common practice for Korean Christians.  Every month, every Christian with any income offers one tenth of it to church. When young Christians get their first job, they offer tithe to church and buy long underwear for their parents to thank them for raising them well. Tithing as a commandment can be found in the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Leviticus 27:30 indicates that all tithes from the land belongs to God. The purpose of offering one tenth of the earnings is for the Levites, who were chosen to be the priests and didn’t inherit any land. Since the Levites didn’t inherit any land and offered religious service for a living, one tenth of other people’s earning was like a paycheck for them. more —>

Reflection: July 9

July 9, 2017 Sermon 

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67/ Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

The Yoke That We Lift Together

When we live to be my age, and more so, your ages, I think we gain enough experience with different human relationships. We have met and dealt with enough people in our lives; be it friends, coworkers, family members, romantic partners, or mere acquaintances. We have enough experience with people to be able to say that some of those relationships were easy and some were more difficult than others. We have experienced that with some people, we click immediately, and with others, relationship needs hard work. When we click and become close easily with someone, we call each other kindred spirits or soul mates. When we click, we understand that our relationships were meant to be, and when we meet someone with whom the relationship is difficult and too much work, we understand that we are not compatible.  more —>

Reflection: June 25

June 25, 2017 Sermon
Matthew 10:26-39

Disciple: Privilege and Responsibility

Last week, I had a frustrating experience trying to choose hymns for today. Since today’s gospel text starts with how God cares for us, I wanted to find a traditional comforting gospel hymn. Before I came to the United Church, I was used to hymn books that are full of these comforting hymns. In the process of choosing hymns for today, I realized that the more the United Church moved towards works of peace and justice, the less evangelical it became; and a lot of beautiful hymns about our personal relationship with God were eliminated from our hymn books. After an extensive search, the hymn I originally wanted, “God Will Take Care of You” was finally found in the Songs of the Gospel, a tiny blue United Church hymn book published in the 50’s. I chose “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” instead more —>

Reflection: June 18

June 18, 2017 Sermon (Father’s Day)

Luke 15:11-32

Last Sunday, we talked about the Holy Trinity and its images and symbols. I mentioned that the patriarchal language of Father and Son can be oppressive to some people; mostly women and those who have bad memories of their fathers. Today is Father’s Day, and this day also can be an unpleasant or hurtful day for some. There are children who suffered either the absence or the inadequacies of their fathers. Some fathers are negligent; some fathers are abusive; some fathers are overly controlling, as some mothers are too. I would like to start my Father’s Day reflection by acknowledging those who cannot rejoice on Father’s Day. Apart from the absent and inadequate fathers, there are gay men with a lot of love to give but cannot have children. There are men and women who have to be both father and mother; including gay men and women who are parents.  more —>

Reflection: June 11

June 11, 2017 Sermon (Union Sunday/ Trinity Sunday)

Mt. 28:16-20/ 2 Cor. 13:11-13

Trinity: God Who Lives in Community

I remember once confessing to you that I am a tree hugger. When I say I am a tree hugger, try not to read too much into it; it simply means, I love hugging trees. I believe that the reason why I love hugging trees is because, having moved around a lot all my life, I was never able to take root anywhere. When I hug trees, I feel a sense of stability that I never really had in my life. I believe the tree is a symbol of stability because of its deep roots. Those of you who have experienced yoga will know the tree pose that trains us to steady our body, as if our feet are rooted underground; same principle. It is natural for those who don’t have the stability in life and those who feel lonely to yearn for a community, since we are social beings. Therefore, when one seeks community in the church and hears scripture verses such as “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them (Matthew 18:20)”, it is enormous comfort. more —>

Reflection: June 4

June 4, 2017 sermon (Pentecost)

Acts 2:1-21/ 1Cor. 12:3-13

Work of the Spirit: Unity in Diversity

  There was a time when I didn’t know anything about the United Church of Canada, except for the urban legend I heard that they ordain gay people and marry gay couples, and my reaction that consisted of two questions; one, “Are you kidding me?”, and two, “No seriously, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” Fast forwarding 15 years, and I was taking online courses to be admitted to the United Church. One of the courses I had to take was the United Church Worship, and the title of our main text book taught me in one phrase what the United Church is about, and not only in the United Church Worship; Ordered Liberty. This phrase summarises how we as the church embrace diversity, but in an orderly manner. Even our name has the word ‘united’ in it. In short, we are a church where diversity is united into one body. more —>

Reflection: May 21

May 21, 2017 sermon (Easter 6)
Acts 17:22-31/ John 14:15-21
Community outside Our Boxes
When I was in the theological school, I had a professor from Sri Lanka, a Methodist minister, who worked for the World Council of Churches for 18 years. His job was to promote interfaith dialogues, which was not a huge surprise since he grew up as Christian in a predominantly Hindu culture. In one of his books titled Not Without My Neighbour, he explains how he struggled with the idea that his Hindu neighbours with whom he grew up and lived closely would go to hell just because they didn’t believe in Jesus. His book title means he doesn’t want to go to heaven without his Hindu neighbours. I can understand him because I grew up in a predominantly Buddhist culture. Buddhism has been in Korea for such a long time that it helped form the culture. more —>

Reflection: May 7

May 07, 2017 sermon (Easter 4)

Acts 2:42-47/ John 10:1-10

Community Rules: Trust and Sharing

Since we are celebrating today as the Holy Humour Sunday, let’s start with some jokes. “My wife told me I had to stop acting like a flamingo. So I had to put my foot down.

My friends says to me, “What rhymes with orange.” I said, “No, it doesn’t.”

And God said to John, come forth and you shall be granted eternal life. But John came in fifth and won a toaster instead.

What do you call a French guy in sandals? Phillipe Phillope. A blind man walks into a bar. And a table. And a chair.

I have the heart of a lion and a lifetime ban from the Toronto zoo.

Knock knock. (Who’s there?) Dishes. (Dishes who?) Dishes Sean Connery. more —>

Reflection: April 30

April 30, 2017 sermon (Easter 3)

Acts 2:14a, 36-41/ Luke 24:13-31

Community in the Making

Today, let’s talk about community. Miriam-Webster dictionary defines the word ‘community’ first and foremost as “a unified body of individuals as the people with common interests living in a particular area, an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location, a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society, a group linked by a common policy, a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests, a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society.” According to the second and third definitions, community is “society at large, joint ownership or participation, common character or likeness, social activity as in fellowship, and a social state or condition”.  more —>