11.12.2012

Luke 15:21-24

Reading: Luke 15:21-24
K-hymn: 490

In the bible, there is an important word.
It is Loving-Kindness.
In Hebrew it is חֶסֶד.
It can be also translated as compassion, mercy, steadfast love, or unconditional love.
The bible explained about how God’s everlasting compassion and forgiveness and unconditional love are manifested.
The bible said that because God has חֶסֶד (steadfast love and compassion) God doesn’t give up on people.

Likewise, God also encourages people to have חֶסֶד, and show compassion and unconditional love to their neighbors.
God wants more loving kindness on this earth.

This loving kindness is explained in the story of the prodigal son.
The father in the story expressed this loving kindness.
This father portrayed God who continually waits and waits for God’s children to return.
“Will they return today?”
In steadfast love, God asks:
“When are they going to return to me?”

When we return to God’s love (חֶסֶד), we are saved.
When we depend on God’s loving kindness, we are saved.
Then God can have us return to our hope and future.
God can embrace us again as God’s people.
This loving kindness of God helps us loyal to God, just like God is loyal to us.

May we be the people of this loving kindness.

11.09.2012

Luke 6:36-37

Living faithfully when everything is not so clear
Reading: Luke 6:36-37
K-hymn: 490

Why?
Why shouldn’t we judge?
Why shouldn’t we condemn?
Why should we forgive?

One of the reasons seems to be that it is because we live in very confusing world.
We lived in the world where right and wrong, black and white is not always clear.
Right and wrong are all mingled together without clear distinctions.

The border between love and hate is not clear.
The border between evil and good is not clear.
The border between brave and coward is not clear.
The border between care and neglect is not clear.
The border between guilt and blamelessness is not clear.

First impression is not always correct.
What looks like bad, turns out to be right.
What we thought was right, turned out to be one sided.
What we thought was correct turned out to have some errors.

Our hearts and minds may desire clarity.
We like to have a clear picture of our situation.
We like to have a clear view of how things really fit together.
We like to have a clear insight into our own problem.
We like to have a clear insight into the world's problems.
But it is not always clear.
Our human life may not offer the clarity that we are looking for.
The more we study, the more we know what we don’t know.

But then we need to make choices without knowing everything.
We may make choices without being entirely sure.
Then, we will look back and may feel regret.
We may do second guessing.
So, we talk to God about what we feel regretful.
We may ask for forgiveness.

When we recognize that we don’t know everything, God helps us move forward.
When we listen to the advices of Jesus:
Do not judge. Do not condemn. But forgive.
Then we may learn to live faithfully.

Then we can live the life forward.
We can move on.
Then we can live faithfully again.
God will help us to sees through all the possibilities again.
God will make new things and help us to see again.

Then God may use everyone and everything to speak to us.
God may speak to us through unexpected sources.
God may speak to us through emotion, intuitive feeling, words, animals, and situations.
God can even use those who seem different from us to expand our understanding.

Jesus even asks us to love enemies.
Through them our understanding may be expanded yet again.
Later, we may like them later more than others.
They may become our good friends.
Through them, we may meet God who is bigger than ourselves.
Then we may have faith that is greater than ours.
Then we may experience grace that is more than we can understand.
Then we may experience love that is far greater than ours.

Then, we can follow the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave us.
Then we can learn through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
We can grow in the Holy Spirit.
We can grow in the Spirit of Jesus.

May this kind of grace happen to us.

11.04.2012

John 21:15-25

What is that to you?
Reading: John 21:15-25
K-hymns: 483, 495
ppt

Jesus had lived out his life.
Jesus was not Elijah.
Jesus was not David.
Jesus was not Noah.
Jesus was not Moses.
Jesus lived according to his own calling.
Jesus lived according to his own talents and character.
Jesus patiently lived out his calling before God, in his situation.

Then at the end, Jesus wanted to ask Peter to do the same.
In order to do so, Jesus asked this question over and over and over.
“Do you love me more than any other?
Do you truly love me?”
At this point, Jesus wanted to know this one thing.
He wanted to know whether Peter loved him.

Peter then honestly showed how much he loved Jesus.
Then, Jesus gave Peter a new calling.
Jesus asked him to take care of his people.
Jesus asked Peter to guide the people of Jesus.
Meaning, Peter needed to be patient with them.
Peter needed to be their spokesperson.
Jesus was saying that this is the calling of Peter to live out.
Jesus will guide him.

But then Peter may make mistakes.
But then as long as Peter loves Jesus, Jesus will give Peter another chance to take care of the people of Jesus.

But Jesus also said that when Peter was old, he would be dragged to where he didn’t want to go, because he loved Jesus.
Until that end, taking care of the people of God is his calling.
In this way, Peter can express his love for Jesus.
What an honor!

But while Jesus was talking, Peter was looking at the youngest disciple of Jesus who was probably John.
Peter knew that Jesus loved John.
Jesus seemed awfully kind to John.
So, Peter wanted to know what John would do, while he was taking care of the people of God.
What was the calling of this punk?
Would John live a good and easy life, like before?
Peter was curious how Jesus would use John.

So, Peter asked Jesus:
“How do you want to use John?
What is his new calling?”

Jesus was like:
“That is none of your business.
What makes difference in your following me?
Let’s say John lived a long and good life.
Let’s say that he lived an easy life.
What is that to you?
You say that you love me and will follow me.
So, you have your own responsibilities.
He had his.
Focus on your own task.
You both are unique leaders.”

Was it wrong for Peter to ask Jesus about John’s calling?
Why didn’t Jesus want Peter to compare their lives?
It is because Jesus knew that they have different personality and different gift.
They would live different life.
They would participate in the suffering of Christ differently with a different timetable.
So, Jesus wants to communicate with each one of them based on who they were.
Peter will follow Jesus using his gift and based on his character.
Peter’s calling is given based on how God sees him and how Peter sees God.
John will follow his calling based on his own gift and talents.
Peter didn’t need to compete with John.
Peter didn’t need to try to do better than John.

Each life can be very unique.
Each life may have its own deep meaning.
Jesus wanted to value their unique calls in God.
Jesus will use them both knowing what they can do.
So, Jesus asked them to focus on their job.
They didn’t need to compare.
Therefore they didn’t need to judge each other.

But sometimes, we cannot help but to look at other’s life and compare it with ours.
It is easy to tell people what they can do better for their lives.
Then we may judge their life according to our own understanding about life.
We may say: “Don’t live like that. Live like this.”
In this way, we may ask them to live like us.
But God then may say:
“Leave him alone. They live a good life in me.”

Or, we may say:
“Hum, their life seems much easier than mine.”
Then we may try to live out their calling in life.
We may try to follow their calling, simply because it looks good in distance.
We may pretend.
We may try to talk like them.
We may want to experience their blessings.

This kind of attitude creates confusion and distraction.
Jesus is not asking us to choose a calling among many.
Jesus is not asking us to choose an easy calling or a tough calling.
Jesus is asking us to live out our calling in God.
Then we may suffer less mentally.
Then we may be truer to ourselves.

So, we don’t want to compare.
We just want to live following Jesus.
Then we will live rejoicing in God.

Couple Sundays ago, we learn that this disciple, John lived until 84.
John was living out his calling and still following Jesus while Peter and other apostles were dead long before.
John might have said:
“Why am I all alone here? Did I do something wrong?”

No, he had a different calling.
The church needed to have him alive.
The church needed to ask him a lot of questions.
His life was unique.

So, we don’t want to ask others to live like us.
Even though I preach and evangelize, I don’t try to change others.
I just present what I know in God.

I just want to humbly follow my unique calling.
I just want to live a good life in Christ, obeying the words of Jesus.
I want to rejoice in God’s blessings that are designed for us.
I want to be joyful in Jesus.

(1) It may be like this:
Who is a joyful musician?
A joyful musician is someone who loves doing what she does.
A happy musician is someone who loves her own music.
Finding beauty in her own music, she feels contentment.
Playing various songs, she discovers new ways to play.
Sometimes, playfully, she tries to play like someone else.
In this way, she finds her new gifts and talents.
In that way, she discovers new worlds inside of her.
Slowly, she tries to bring out what is inside of her.
She finds a joy.
She is a joyful musician.
It is not always easy but she has a sense of direction.
She wants to play the music she loves.

But sometimes, she might compare herself with others.
She might compare herself with a famous one.
She might also want to make more money.
She might try to play the music that many people buy in these days.
Then she might make more money but end up playing some music that she doesn’t really like.

Will she be more joyful doing this?
Can she really help others?
Can she truly help others by ignoring who she is?

In order to be happy, she probably needs to find a way to play the music she loves and make a living out of it.
Then she may really enjoy working.
Then she may communicate with others in a deeper level.
She may live, based on her own inner light.
She then may live well before God.
She may live her own life in God.
She may even share the love of God through her music.

Maybe helping people live like that is what Jesus trying to do with Peter.

Following Jesus is like following our uniqueness in life.
In order to do so, we need to look at Jesus.
We need to choose the narrow path.
We need to take each step with him.
We need to look at where Jesus is walking to.
Our understanding of him, our perspective of him and our emotion about him will help us to live our calling in life.
There we will find joy.
There we will find our own music.
In that way, we will make the world better place.

Likewise, we don’t need to compare our life with our past.
We just try to follow Jesus now as much as we know how.
We don’t try to find some easy way or tougher way to be a hero.
We just follow the road that Jesus presents to us.
We walk on our own unique path where Jesus waits for us.
In this way, we may live in Jesus.
In this way, we may bless people around us.

May we live our life focusing our calling in life.
May we live in God and have our own personal satisfaction.
May we live our own best life.