Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Latest on Finding a Church

Exegesis paper finished. Handed in... hopefully it was good work.

Now only a few papers left in this course. I'm thinking of taking the summer off from doing courses, but haven't decided yet.

Now, about church...

We were invited by Yeocheon First Presbyterian Church to lead an English worship service. We were thrilled. They asked for my resume and a statement of faith. I really like the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective (1995), so I used the summary of that statement as my own statement of faith.... Well, despite having been a Presbyterian my whole life, my father having been a Presbyterian minister, and my having studied at a Presbyterian theological college - that was all not enough.

They are very worried about my being a lover of peace. They are worried that if I was preaching in their church that I would 'negatively' influence the young people to love the peace of our Lord and that they would refuse the compulsory military service here in Korea. They are worried because they don't know enough about the Mennonites and because they aren't Presbyterian. They don't understand about Susan wearing a prayer covering (even though we pointed out the 11th chapter of 1 Corinthians) - they think it's Roman Catholic (because here Roman Catholic women all cover their heads during mass).

So we are disappointed that the minister and elders of Yeocheon First Presbyterian Church have decided, without meeting and talking with us, to not begin English worship there. It is unfortunate that they are not able to even consider the reasons why we are non-violent. We feel they are blocking the movement of the Spirit.

But at the same time we give thanks to God and rejoice in this persecution. Were it not from other Christians it would be better, though. It has built confidence in us that our convictions are good and true. Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that we are to be violent and in support of war. I read only that we are to have love for our neighbours (read: enemies), turn the other cheek and wait for the Lord to come again. From my exegesis last week of Revelation 19.11-21 I learned that we are to wait for the Lord to judge and punish - that task is not ours. We have been given the task of spreading the Good News, showing love to those around us. I wonder where in the Bible Yeocheon First Presbyterian Church is looking for their teaching on this subject? We pray for them and their ministry - that they might be challenged by the message of peace.

We are enjoying a small church we found that is the same denomination as KyungDong Church in Seoul. There we are more accepted for who we are and what we believe. The minister has encouraged us in starting an English ministry and has offered to provide someone to teach Korean cooking classes to the foreign people living here. We sent out a message to the email list for the foreign people here asking if anyone was interested in starting a Christian group in English to meet for Bible study and worship... out of 50 people on the list no one responded positively. Most English teachers are heavily in to drinking and often the weekend is their only free time... but they work late during the week...

Please pray for us in our work here with the other English speakers. Pray that we might meet them where they are and show them the way of life.

And may the message of the peace that surpasses all understanding be with you in your heart. Especially at this time... during the week when we remember the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ... He died for us and our sins... he didn't start a war with Rome, or a social revolution to get rid of the Pharisees and Saducees.... He came down that we may have peace. Hallelujah, forevermore!


AuntNem said...

Not sure what the HTML tag is, but this is Aunt Nem. I'm going to play a bit of the advocate, although I do understand what you are saying. In this Holy Week for Christ, He DID get angry - overturning the moneychangers' tables in the temple. No, he never started a war - even though certainly with His power. Did he start a "social revolution"? NOt exactly, but he certainly plated the seeds which did occur later. The bulbs (aka seeds) of the tulips blooming here now were planted at least years ago - before I moved in. Although not a revelution, theymust go through the hard winter before their beauty is shown. Christ had to show some of the errors (hardness) that the Saducees and Pharisees had before they could see the beauty of Christ's words and life.
I have to take off now for Good Friday Service. It is in 45 min., but need to change before I am picked up and go to choir practice first. I will get back to you. My thoughts and prayers found in His Love and Sacrifice are ever with you and Susan - always. Aunt Nem.

Gord said...

Thanks for your words, Aunt Nem. Happy Easter to you... and to everyone!

It is true that Jesus got angry - so do I sometimes - the issue we're thinking of these days is systematic: are Christians called to participate in fighting, violence, resistance, etc?

A good example is the coptic church in Egypt now. They just went through a series of serious attacks on their churches and now they're demonstrating against the government's lack of protection for them. I wonder if that is the right thing for the church to do.