Rediscovering the value
John 4:23 “But the hour comes, and is now
One of the high demanded items on online is a hair clipper and its related items, such as oil for the clipper blade and cape. Since the stay-at home order has been implemented, most of the non-essential shops have been closed including barber shops and hair salons. Parents see that their kids’ hairs are becoming like a sasquatch on a mountain. So they try their luck to give a stylish hair cut to their children or even themselves.
Globally, nasopharyngeal swabs have been significantly in short supply since March. They are needed effectively to sample mucus in the nasopharynx in order to test COVID-19. Experts have recently estimated that the U.S. needs to more than triple the number of daily swabs.
Another item that is surprisingly chasing after hair clippers is backing products such as flour and yeast. Why? Since people spend most of their times at home, many people transform into self-quarantine bakers. A major TV channel posted an article “Why everyone’s suddenly breaking bread.” In that article, Maddalena Borsato, a researcher in the philosophy of bread at Turin's University of Gastronomic Sciences, says, “It's funny because only one month ago, everyone was on a gluten-free diet. Now, suddenly everyone is a baker,"
Who would have ever imaged that those products would be valuable today?
In 1815, in his history novel, Guy Mannering, Sir Walter Scott wrote, “The hours’ come, and the man.” It means, in a specific time, a specific person would have an opportunity and becomes a hero.
You are the light of the world. The nature of the light exerts its best ability in a specific circumstance – darkness. The darker is the better. Your good personality might be unnoticeable in where you were before. Your talent might have been devalued or ineffectively utilized. But now is the time that you would shine your light unto your neighbors and your family. Your faith can truly be proven as the genuinely oriented from the Lord as you sincerely praying for others and encouraging them to stay in their hope and belief.
Our society needs a person who can both rationally and spiritually discern what we’re going through today and guiding people to deal with this invisible fight against the infection. That person could be you.
During the Vietnam war (1955-1975), around 47,424 young American men died over an 8-year period since their involvement in 1965. I know a few men who survived through that harsh battle. They are true heroes.
In the Korean war (1950 -1953), 33,686 U.S soldiers were also killed. Because of their sacrifice, South Korea becomes one of the richest countries in the world and serves other undeveloped nations with its industrial resources.
The casualties of September 11 attacks were more than 6,000. Our hearts are still broken for those whose lives were buried under the Twin Towers, in the field of Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.
Today, we still show our honor and respect to those who lost their lives in that tragedy.
Then, as of today of this year, 50, 439 people in the U.S died of the coronavirus within 3 months.
How do we remember those people and their families?
How will the numbers change our society?
Was there any way to prevent or reduce the numbers?
As a Christian, how do we respond to this devastation?
Our government is planning to reopen the country so millions of workers and their families can get back to normal. If we respond to this plan, our church will then reopen its doors again to our church members. This would be another challenge for us all.
Thus, as your pastor, I hope that we will remember these numbers of deaths and think about how we can show our condolences and sadness towards them. Our preparation against this pandemic was not enough to save lives; however, we still have time to make things right for the upcoming challenge.
We are preparing to make people feel safe at our church.
So, please trust our session to make the right decision on when it would be the right time to return to our worship service.
Most importantly, we should still support one another by making those efforts to care for their health.
All of the details of making church a safe place come after these…..
I give my deepest sympathies to those who lost their families in this pandemic.
Have you heard of the term “BCAC”? The abbreviation stands for “Before Corona and After Corona.” This phrase has a negative impact on our unexpected and ignorant attitude towards the coming impact of the virus. Besides, the level of uncertainty on what would happen to us after the coronavirus is unnerving.
I am unfamiliar with the infrastructural influences on the economy within our lives. But within my limited knowledge on the impact it has on the church, I can assume things will be different when we gather again as one body of Christ. Among all those things that concern me, my biggest alarm would be on how we would continue to build our interpersonal relationships with one another during this pandemic.
What would be the most effective and proper way to help us interact with one another?
Will we be able to go back to the way things were before?
Would we feel protected from any contagion?
Should we keep our social distancing of 6 feet apart at church?
Would you be comfortable with someone sitting right behind you?
There are many more things we can think of….
Before, we were not equipped for the coronavirus; however, preparing for after the virus is still within our timeline. Then, when coming back to our church, we will come with the unprecedented faith and spirit that we haven’t had before.
It all started with one Person.
The pandemic outbreak started with one person in Wei Guixian, China on Dec.10th, 2019. The patient, who worked at a wildlife market, was admitted to Wuhan Central Hospital.
Ai Fen, a top director at the hospital, was the first doctor who discovered the novel virus. But she was reprimanded by the government authority to not spread the information.
The first case was founded in South Korea on Jan. 20th. As of April 12th, as of now 10,480 cases are confirmed and 211 died.
Here we are
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first coronavirus case in the United States on Jan.21st. As of today, in the US there are over 19,000 deaths and over 100,000 deaths worldwide. My condolences to those families who lost their loved ones.
It all started with one person.
What if the first doctor was heard by her government and they took immediate action towards this virus? What if we were better prepared for this outbreak?
I know it sounds like the familiar term “coulda, woulda, and shoulda.” One phrase is lingering in my ear now, “No matter how fast you do it, the thing that would always be late is regret.”
It is too late to bring 106,469 people’s lives to their families.
Christianity is built upon the one person, the Son of God. To spread the unknown gospel on the Messiah. Jesus chose his disciples one by one; Peter, Andrew, James… he visited them one after another. Among all those seemingly collective sense of God’s salvific works on Israel as a whole, he always picked one person as his spokesman, who we know as the prophets; Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many more in the scripture.
Then, it is finally culminated by the unprecedented action of the Messiah on the cross and his resurrection. The good news on the Savior’s love on humanity becomes pandemic by using all those individual persons.
It is not too late to respond to God’s calling. You still have a chance. You can still act upon it. Today, respond to Jesus’ resurrection. Believe in his sacrifice for you. Confirm his resurrection as your eternal salvation.
Deeper Thought on God’s sovereignty
The pastor, who held a church gathering service during a stay-at-home order was arrested and later announced that he will close the church this Sunday (April 5th). His religious act could be understood as controversial. It is obvious that he did not follow the social protocol regarding the unstoppable infection of the novel coronavirus. So, his determination to keep the church open would be viewed as a reckless social behavior.
Then, should his ministerial act be considered as an irresponsible ethical behavior?
It is without a doubt that opening the church for Sunday worship was the act of the pastor’s faithfulness to God. He should be acclaimed as a courageous and sincere church leader.
The pastor's firmly devoted heart to the Lord was misguided by his biased belief toward God’s sovereignty, thus his actions regarding his beliefs was misplaced.
Think about this;
Would our act of worship make God move his sovereign power? or
Is worshipping him a response to his sovereign power over our lives?
The nature of sovereignty is independent, not depending on any human action. God’s healing and protection solely belong to him.
As a pastor, I pray for the safety of our church members. God gives us rationale and wisdom on how the safety would be implemented in our daily lives. How about God’s mystical protection and healing? They remain in the realm of God’s authority. I hope that we would all experience them in his perfect timing.
An ancient Chinese philosopher stated, “In archaic times, we can clearly identify two contrary types of people: a patriot or a traitor
Today, we see our patriotic heroes in the areas of the medical industry, hospitals, nursing homes, law enforcement, and sanitizing public areas. They risk their lives for the safety of others.
Then what do we call those who intentionally cough on the food in the market, or stockpile heavily with the daily necessities? Inconsiderate? Irresponsible? Selfish? The philosopher might call them "a traitor," who try to harm our society.
Instead of deepening our thoughts with these two types of people, I would like to rephrase the last part of the ancient saying in our faith-based statement – “… one is faithful and the other is unfaithful.”
Don’t misconstrue the words “faithful” and “unfaithful” as we would understand it. The word “faithful” could just mean faithful within our own self value, which means “selfishness.”
The meaning of “faithful” that I intend to present is devoting ourselves to the core values of who we are as the ambassador for God’s love for the world.
In this confusing and difficult time, which we are enduring now, everyone here at FPCA can be a hero, patriot, or a faithful servant by committing ourselves to one simple task:
KEEP DISTANCE FROM OTHERS.
DON’T STOCK UP THE NECESSITIES OUT OF FEAR
These two things are not only for your own safety but for the safety of our community.
One news media commentator reported, “Social distancing is not enough. We need rampant individualism.” It sounds paradoxical to say that we need to rampantly be independent or individualistic in order to care for others. We can eventually gather socially together another time soon but as for now we need to physically isolate ourselves from one another. We need rampant individualism.
But for how long? I wish it won’t be too long. That’s my prayer.
The world is under attack… not with alien transformer robots trying to track down Optimus Prime, but the coronavirus outbreak. Both cases make us feel like we’re in a movie anyway.
It was first reported as a mysterious illness in China, which was believed to be started in a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Since that time more than 10,000 cases have been confirmed in other countries and territories. 3,000 died. In the U.S, 126 coronavirus cases have been reported and nine people died. Most of the infections are in California where my family lives, and in the Washington area.
I have families and friends in Korea and China. We constantly call or text each other on the impact of the disease. The virus has changed the atmosphere of church life. Christians are afraid to go to church on Sunday, so many churches don’t have worship service anymore. My family who live in the capital city of Seoul, barely go out in order to reduce any possible physical contact. In Korea alone as of today, 6,088 people got infected and 42 died. Most of the fatalities were the elderly who already had underlying health conditions.
So, should we be fearful? According to my conversation with my family and friends in Korea and China, yes and no.
As for now, the rate of fatality is low. If you are a healthy person, then avoid close contact with people who are sick. You could prevent yourself from being infected even if you reside in one of those highly infectious countries.
I keep monitoring the coronavirus and how it would impact where we are in Alliance. I’m not a medical professional, but I believe if you:
(1) stay in this town,
(2) avoid any physical contact (shaking hands and hugging)
(3) wear a mask when you meet someone sick
(4) wash your hands with soap
you will be safe.
I highly doubt that it would happen to us in Alliance, and that there would be a day that we would have to shut down our Sunday worship.
I also pray that God would give those who are in the medical profession, the wisdom to find and discover a vaccine to stop this disease.
Happy New Year
When it comes to the new year, three words always come to mind, and probably in your minds too: “already”, “behind”, and “forward”.
“Already” another year? You would have asked that same question to yourself because in the past year, your life was hectic and crazy. Some of it was successfully accomplished and others are still an on-going process.
Thus, you leave “behind” all those heart-breaking moments or disappointments. You would have a new fresh start in hoping that in this new year, all the things that you’re planning would happen.
So, you want to move “forward”.
These three words might be an indication of our desire to see “happiness” in our lives. As a follower of Christ, we pursue happiness in a higher level.
(1) Instead of “already”, we say “again”. We challenge ourselves again in this brand-new year and walk towards the unknown future. Difficulties and obstacles in different forms could be waiting for us. but we “again” continue to walk.
(2) Instead of “behind”, we say “with.” We walk with all those heart-breaking moments in believing that when God’s timing is perfect, the Creator will turn them into joy. Then we will remember we have been walking “with” God.
(3) Instead of just moving “forward,” we say “pause”. We stop and pause ourselves in a quiet moment and see that we are not left alone, but surrounded by the presence of the Lord. Our journey will go toward the way God sets out for us.
In the year 2020,
I pray that God would continue to bless your spiritual walk on earth. Remember you’re not alone but surrounded by the spirit of the Lord.