April 2015:

Called by God

 Friends,

May the grace and peace from our Lord be with you.

April is the month of Easter. God raised Jesus from the dead. The world said, “No” to Jesus by crucifying him on the cross. Many people thought that was the end of Jesus’ life and ministry. Injustice and death seemed to win the battle. But the victory of darkness did not last long. On the third day, God said “Yes” to Jesus by raising him from the dead. The power of love and truth finally won the battle over sin and death.

We are called to this Good News. We are Easter people. Nothing can shake our hope in Jesus Christ. We believe that truth and life will prevail in the end. Sometimes we experience that the power of evil and injustice win the battle. Our hope in Jesus Christ faces challenges and questions. However, please do not be afraid or discouraged. We are called to the life of hope and victory. By raising Jesus from death and darkness, our God sent us a clear message that God and the divine truth will prevail in the end. Let us not give up. Hold our hope in Jesus Christ firmly.

The risen Christ is still alive. Since Jesus’ resurrection, we have never heard that Jesus died again. This means our Lord Jesus Christ is still alive. This risen Lord has touched our lives.  He has called us to life. I love the refrain part of the United Methodist Hymn #367:

“… He touched me, O he touched me, and O the joy that floods my soul!  Something happened, and now I know, he touched me and made me whole.”

If we truly know and believe that the risen Christ has touched us, our hearts will be filled with joy and gratitude. This is truly an amazing thing! Our Lord knows us and loves us even though we have many weaknesses and shortcomings. None of us are qualified to be called by God. However, our Lord has touched us and called us to a new life. And our God wants to use us. What an honor and privilege it is to be called by God!

Some of us were called to the ordained ministry. We were called to the ministry of word, sacrament, order and service. In the case of deacons, they were called to word, service, compassion and justice. Their calling is examined and affirmed by the church. This is a candidacy process, and during this process they prepare themselves and go through a discerning process.

But God’s call to ministry is not limited to people who feel a call to the ordained ministry. God also calls all laity to ministry. The content of laity’s ministries will be different from the ministry of the clergy, but all of us, whether clergy or laity, are called into God’s ministry. We are called as partners in ministry.

When I attended the closing service of the Lay Servant Academy last February, I told them their ministries are more than volunteer work. Their ministries are their responses to God’s call to ministry. After the service, one lay servant came to me and said that he had thought that lay servant ministry was one of the volunteer works, but now he was beginning to see his ministry as God’s calling. It was an eye-opening experience for him. He and I had a joyful conversation.

If we truly believe that all of us were touched and called by almighty God for Christ’s ministry, we will see our ministry from a different perspective. How gracious it is for us to be called by God. What a great honor and privilege it is for us to be invited to take part in Christ’s ministry. Now, we can serve the Lord with deep gratitude and joy. Ministry will be no longer a burden, but a joy and honor.

In this season of Easter joy, I pray that all of us will give thanks to God for the hope we have in Jesus Christ. I pray that all of us will experience joy and gratitude in our ministries. Jesus Christ is risen! Yes, He is risen, indeed, and he has touched us! Thanks be to God.

In our Lord,
Young Jin Cho

 

 

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