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 —>

Reflection: July 8: Sent Out in Jesus’ Name

July 8, 2018 Reflection

Mark 6:1-13/ 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

Sent Out in Jesus’ Name

I hope you don’t think I watch TV too much because I’m going to start with another story from a TV show. Call the Midwife is one of the two TV shows I am currently watching. It’s a show about midwifes in a poor neighbourhood in London during the late 50’s and early 60’s, and the many women who give birth helped by these midwives. In an episode I watched two weeks ago, there was young woman named Roseanne who is married to a man who loves her with all his heart and treats her like a queen. She gives birth to a girl, but something is not right with the young mother. While she’s in labour, she resists the nurse’s instruction and the birth itself. After the birth, she leaves that baby outside a shop owned by a nice lady. At this point, we all think maybe she is suffering post-partem depression. But then it turns out that she used to be a prostitute and she doesn’t believe she is good enough for her new life. She leaves a note for her husband, leaves the baby at home, and runs away. She goes to her old friend who is still soliciting for a living while raising her children. more —>

Reflection: July 1: Healing of the Nation, Grieving of the Past

July 1, 2018 Reflection (Canada Day)

Mark 5:21-43/ 1 Samuel 1:17-27

Healing of the Nation, Grieving of the Past

Recently, I discovered a new TV show on Netflix. It’s called “An Hour to Save Your Life.” It is a British documentary series of emergency medical staff, both paramedics on the site and the doctors and nurses in the hospital trauma centre who try to save the lives of trauma patients. The title is “An Hour to Save Your Life” because for trauma patients, the first 60 minutes are crucial to whether they will survive or die. It is more captivating than fictional medical dramas because these are real medical professionals trying to save real people. Every episode shows three patients fighting to survive. Some survive and make full recovery, some survive but with some permanent damages in their body such as partial hearing loss, and some don’t survive at all even after the medical effort that looks pretty much like a battle scene. This procedure of trying to save a trauma patient’s life is utter chaos like in a war; it’s a life and death situation, and there is fear, desperation, mustering up of hope, tears, and one can easily imagine, desperate prayers. It is highly emotional. more —>

Reflection: June 24: Is It Well with My Soul?

June 24, 2018 reflection 

Mark 4:35-41/ 1 Samuel 17;57-18:5, 10-16

Is It Well with My Soul?

This is the story of when the Methodist Father John Wesley was on his way to the American colonies as a missionary. He was on the ship when suddenly a great storm hit the ocean. As you might imagine, he was scared. Then he noticed a group of people praying and singing with joy like nothing was happening. He was intrigued. He couldn’t understand. How can it be that anyone who may die in the middle of the ocean sing with joy? They were a group of Moravian Christians from Germany. He later asked one of the Moravians if they had not been afraid. He answered that none of them had been afraid, not even the children. Their faith was so strong that they were not afraid more —>

Reflection: June 17: Kingdom of Growth

June 17, 2018 sermon 

Mark 4:26-34

Kingdom of Growth

Since today is Father’s Day, I will start with Jerry Seinfeld’s joke about fathers. He said, “Fathers are intimidating. They are intimidating because they are fathers. Once a man has children, for the rest of his life, his attitude is, “The heck with the world. I can make my own people. I’ll eat whatever I want, I’ll wear whatever I want, and I’ll create whoever I want.” Seinfeld wrote this joke long before he became a husband and father; I wonder how he would feel about this joke as a father. Perhaps, “Yeah! Fathers rule!” Or maybe a sigh? “Being a father is so challenging”? What if the fathers among us have to choose one of these two, which would it be? This past week, I have asked several of our members on what they think father’s role is in children’s life; among many things, the words growth, guidance and mentoring, and even hero came up. But I think these different words are connected to each other.

I personally think a parent’s role, mother or father, is to help the children experience growth. When I say ‘growth’, I’m not talking about physical growth, although it is crucial that children get enough food and nutrients to grow up healthy. Children also have to grow in wisdom and knowledge. Interestingly, today’s two parables are about growth. Both are called kingdom parables because they illustrate what God’s kingdom (or reign) is like. The first one about a man planting the seeds, which grow on their own teaches us that in God’s community, we disciples sow the seeds, but it is God who makes them grow. Repeating what I said last Sunday, if we achieve something great, glory be to God! Remember, it is no longer us who live, but Christ lives in us. God works through us. Another lesson that this parable teaches is that growth happens very slowly and gradually. It is imperceptible. This knowledge gives us patience (because we could get impatient about things not happening fast enough), and hope (because no matter how imperceptible it is, growth DOES happen). The last lesson of this parable is a call for preparedness. Seeds grow, maybe some faster than others. But at the end of this growth comes the harvest. Those that grew well will be harvested, and those that did not prosper will be cut off. It’s like at the end of a semester’s learning, there are final exams. If we were students, we should prepare for the exams, shouldn’t we? Knowing that judgment day is coming, although we don’t know when, we should keep growing in faith and strive to live as faithful citizens of God’s kingdom by loving and serving.  more —>