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Updated September 4, 2021
Rev Sean H Kang, Pastor
Text: John 6:53-58
Today I’d like to talk about Holy Communion. In the United Methodist Church, we usually have a Holy Communion Service once a month, on the first or second Sunday of each month. But some churches hold Holy Communion during important seasons such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in addition to the monthly communion, and others offer Holy Communion in healing services every week. Although Holy Communion has not been held during the Pandemic period due to the corona-virus, it is so important that it is the core of worship and the Christian community.
Then, let’s think about this. Why do we, as Christians, celebrate the holy sacraments at least once a month or each and every week? Why is it so significant that in Christian worship right at the center is Holy Communion–the Lord’s Supper–the Eucharist? Or let me ask this way. Why do we partake in the bread and wine? Well, I think this is an important question and so it is worth thinking about once again the meaning and significance of Holy Communion.
On that night, being aware of his approaching death, Jesus shared a farewell meal with his disciples. In this sacred meal, Jesus took ordinary table bread and wine, gave thanks to God, beseech-ed God to bless it, and distributed it with these words: “This bread is my body. This wine is my blood. Every time you eat this bread and drink this wine in my name, I will be present with you.”
And, so it is for people of faith. Ordinary bread and wine become, by the grace of God, the body and blood of Christ. In this timeless, eternal food, the Christ of faith is present with us. How does that happen, exactly? We don’t know. It’s holy mystery. We cannot fully understand how that happens, and I think that’s why many Christians have their own ideas and opinions, and churches have their own theories.
The Roman Catholics believe that during the ceremony of the Mass, the bread and wine are “changed” into the real body and blood of Christ, even though the elements appear to remain the same. The Lutherans have a similar theory. They believe that in the communion, the body and blood of Christ, and the bread and wine, “coexist” in union with each other, without changing each other.
While both Catholics and Lutherans emphasize the real bodily presence of Jesus on the elements, in our Methodist Church, we follow the Wesleyan tradition that don’t agree with the idea of the bodily presence of Christ. We believe as we receive Holy Communion, we experience Jesus is really present as a spiritual presence that conveys God’s grace into our soul.
No matter how “the presence of Jesus” in Holy Communion is understood, the core of the issue is this: through partaking in the bread and wine, we come to enter into communion with Jesus Christ. That’s what Jesus says in today’s gospel lesson: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remain in me, I in him.” (John 6:56)
What does this mean? It means we meet Jesus who comes close to us, who comes into our hearts, touches us, and feeds our souls. It is in the partaking of the bread and cup that we experience Jesus, who wants to give all that he has and fill our deepest needs. If we approach the table prayerfully and receive the bread and cup, truly letting Jesus touch us, we will experience healing, change, or transformation to take place.
Theodore Dobson, who was a priest and writer, once shared his story of how he experienced transformation through Holy Communion. He had a difficult relationship with an elderly colleague; they were always on opposite sides of any issue. They had a particularly angry discussion just before Dobson went off to a conference.
Then soon after he returned, he was at Mass when the other priest was presiding. During the celebration he felt all his negative feelings about this priest rising up within him. At the presentation of gifts he kneaded into the bread the angry words he had used towards this man. He poured into the cup his negative feelings of hurt and anger and he asked forgiveness.
As the bread and wine entered his body, he felt the infinite grace of Jesus, who loved and forgave him unconditionally, filled his soul. At that moment, he asked the Lord to let him know how he could find a way to be reconciled with his colleague. Sometime later he noticed this priest was having difficulty climbing some stairs because of his weak heart. Dobson asked if he could help and the other man allowed Dobson to assist him. That was the beginning of a happier relationship.
Transformation is the heart of the mystery of Holy Communion, and it takes place when we move into “communion” with Christ. But that’s not the end. Authentic communion with Christ will lead to a commitment to Christ. What I mean by that is whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup, we are invited to partake and share in the life of Jesus. We are called to re-present his life, his compassionate life, in our time and place.
You see, wherever we are, wherever we go, there is always the suffering of people around us: the suffering of those who feel isolated from family and friends, the suffering of the people who lack caring friends, satisfying work, a peaceful home, the suffering of the millions who feel lonely, the suffering of the poor, the homeless, the dying…. As the people who have partaken in the bread and cup, what we are called to do is to be present with those hurting people in the midst of their suffering. There we listen to them, touch them, and share their sufferings.
Everyone, Holy Communion is the heart and center of being-the-church. Without it there is no people of God, no community of faith, no church. In this Holy Communion, we affirm our unity by eating the one bread and drinking the one wine of Jesus Christ. That is the foundation of the church. And, in this Holy Communion, we meet Jesus who gives us his body and blood as gifts that help us to find the way of love in our own lives. I hope that you will become partakers in the life of Jesus.
MESSENGER: Rev Sean H. Kang, Pastor
TEXT: Mark 7:1-9 /
Afghanistan is a living hell now. The Taliban regime has set a deadline for foreigners to leave Afghanistan on Aug. 31, and many people who were flocking to the airport to escape may have lost their lives. Meanwhile, a terrible suicide attack happened last Thursday. More than 170 people died, and more were injured. The Taliban is violent, but the IS, who carried out the suicide bombing attacks, is known to be more violent than the Taliban.
Some Middle Eastern experts say that Al-Qaeda is scarier than the Taliban, and IS is more extreme than Al-Qaeda. Originally the Taliban were Pashtun people living in southern Afghanistan. A civil war broke out between various tribes in Afghanistan after Soviet Union forces that occupied the country withdrew in 1989, and one of them, the Pashtun, formed a militant group named the Taliban, overpowered other tribes and finally took the power in 1997.
However, the Taliban hid Osama bin Laden of Al-Qaeda, who was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban regime. The U.S. forces captured most of the city in a week, but after 10 years of missing bin Laden, they found and shot him while he was hiding in Pakistan in 2011. After that, the United States was unable to resolve the persistent political divisions and conflicts between tribes in Afghanistan, but recently made the decision to completely withdraw the United States.
We often think of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or IS as just militant terrorist groups, but we must remember that they are fundamentally religious people. It is because of their religious beliefs that the Taliban makes it mandatory for women to wear burqas and prohibits women from engaging in social activities entirely. It is also because of their religious beliefs that they brutally kill people of different creeds and beliefs.
The faith to save oneself and others is being used as a tool to kill oneself and others as well. We are reaffirming how harmful distorted and extreme religious beliefs can be through the current situation in Afghanistan. I don’t think this perverted belief only happens within certain religions. Even in different forms, there is a distorted belief in Christianity, which often confuses the Christian faith.
In today’s text we meet people with distorted religious attitudes. They were the religious leaders in Jewish society at the time. These are the Pharisees and teachers of the law. They openly hated Jesus for not following their religious rules and traditions. So they deliberately watched what Jesus was doing to catch Jesus not keeping the law, and when they saw his disciples eating food without washing their hands, they officially took issue with it.
Originally, the law required only priests to wash their hands. Later, through the decisions of the elders, this rule was extended to what all Jews should abide by. It was not just because of hygiene; it was because of an excessive obsession with religious cleanliness. According to the tradition of the elders, no one could eat food unless they washed their hands, and when they returned from the market, they had to wipe the items off to eat food because the items that they bought from the market might have been touched by an unclean person.
The Pharisees were not satisfied with the law they had inherited from Moses. In order to keep the law more thoroughly and perfectly, they began to create an expanded set of laws by adding more specific practical provisions to the existing law. For example, they made detailed rules for people not to misuse the name of the Lord, to keep the Sabbath day holy, to honor one’s parents. Thus, the law, which started with ten commandments, was later extended to 613 commandments.
This extended law was often referred to as the “tradition of the elders,” and Jesus called it the “traditions of men.” The biggest problem with the extended law, called the tradition of the elders, was that those who kept the detailed rules well had a sense of pride and arrogance, and that those who did not keep them were branded as undevout people. The true meaning of God's commandments disappeared, leaving only the external issue of whether to keep the tradition of the elders well or not.
When the Pharisees asked, “Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” Jesus replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” (Mark 7:6-8)
In other words, Jesus scolded them as “hypocrites.” In Greek, ‘hypocrite’ means an actor who performs wearing a mask. The outer appearance with the mask and the real appearance inside the mask are different. The Pharisees acted as if they were pious on the outside, but on the inside, they were full of pride and self-righteousness in keeping the detailed and strict rules well. It had nothing to do with true piety. They were real hypocrites who constantly judged people who did not do as they did and branded them as sinners.
If Islam has the Taliban, Al Qaeda and IS, Judaism has Pharisees, scribes, and teachers of the law. They have surprising similarities even though they look different. They turn living religious teachings into dead ones, judge and blame people rather than love and embrace them, and exclude and reject people because they are different from them. They act most religiously, but in fact they are the furthest people from religion, and they are dangerous people who destroy the world and the human soul.
A Genuine Christian
Let’s look back on ourselves. Unfortunately, many Christians have similar attitudes. Rather than trying to live according to the gospel, they try to keep the doctrine, judge people rather than embrace them, and exclude and reject people if they are different. They have too many laws about what should and should not be. They value human tradition more than the word of God, and the doctrines made in particular circumstances more than the everlasting gospel.
During my ministry, I’ve often met people who insisted on their religious beliefs in the church. They were those who complained that they could not understand the absence of Apostles’ Creed in the order of worship, those who claimed that it was not right to give sacrament to unbaptized members, and those who criticized the pastor for not wearing a robe during worship. These days, some even argue that Christians should not support the Democratic Party, nor should they be given the Covid vaccine.
I want to ask. Where did they get those laws? How did they come to regard them as an imperative law that cannot be compromised? Are those really important to our faith? They are not meaningless at all, but after all they come from certain special situations and human traditions. What is important is not human tradition but God’s commandments. God’s commandments are not just laws or rules, but spirits or attitudes. The tradition of men is not important, but God’s commandment is important.
Then how can we follow God's commandments, not human traditions? I will replace that answer with the words of Paul the Apostle. Paul once wrote a letter to the Roman church. The Roman Church consisted of Gentiles, mostly first-time believers. So they were confused about how to believe in Jesus. A few Jewish leaders in the church who led them at the time were teaching that thorough keeping of the law was a good way to believe in Jesus. Paul contradicted that in the letter to the Romans.
St. Paul summarized in one word what the core of the law is and what it is like to keep the laws in Romans 13. He unified the core of Jewish law and the core of the Christian gospel. He emphasized that the core of the law is not to keep the laws, but to practice love. This is also a message to the distorted believers, who are trying to change the living commands of God into the dead doctrines, to judge rather than embrace people, and to exclude others endlessly.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
Our goal is not to be a religious people. It is to learn Jesus’ teachings and the gospel and to become a mature and beautiful human being. Our goal is not just to be a good believer. It is to walk down the path of life in the direction the commands of God pointed at. It is no other than a way to love each other, a way to love our neighbors as ourselves. That is the way to keep the commands of God, and the way is to save you and me, and this chaotic world.
MESSENGER: Rev Sean H. Kang, Pastor
Text: Psalm 84
There are two major national holidays in Korea when large numbers of people travel across the country. It is ‘Sul’, which is Lunar New Year, and Chuseok. ‘Sul’ is a holiday to celebrate the new year after sending the old year away, and ‘Chuseok’ is a Korean Thanksgiving Day to appreciate the harvest earned during the year. Since it is a custom derived from agricultural culture, both holidays still follow the lunar calendar date. Because of the importance of the holiday, the Korean government is considering designating a long holiday for 3-4 days to go back to their hometowns and spend time with their families.
Around the 1970s and 1980s, Korean society rapidly shifted from an agricultural society to an industrial society, and many people left rural areas and moved to large cities. They worked really hard, non-stop, and diligently. The driving force behind the rapid growth of today's Korean society must have been their unremitting efforts. There are times when people who have been working so hard without a break suddenly stop doing what they are doing. It’s Sul and Chuseok. People stop everything to go back to their hometowns and see their parents.
Two things are prepared for these holidays. One is to book an express bus or train ticket, and the other is to buy a gift for one’s parents in their hometowns. On the day of the holiday, people wear ‘Hanbok’, which is Korean traditional clothes or the nicest clothes they have and leave for their hometowns with excitement. There are few places where there are no traffic jams on highways and local roads because there is a lot of movement at once. It also takes five to six hours to get to a place that normally takes one or two hours. Still, the people going back to their hometowns are happy to see their parents.
One day, I felt a sense of majesty and emotion as I saw the huge procession of cars crawling like turtles in jammed packed cars headed towards everyone’s respective hometown for Chuseok. The mysterious phenomenon of migratory birds flying tens of thousands of miles back home came to mind. I felt the huge car procession as a strong determination that even if they lived in places away from their hometowns, they could not give up on going home, and that they could not give up seeing their parents no matter how important it was to make money. I thought of this as a kind of ‘spiritual phenomenon.’
Returning the Temple of Jerusalem
Do you know that there has been such a large-scale migration of people returning home from a very long time ago in Israel? The hometown of Israelite's was Jerusalem, or to be more precise, the Temple of Jerusalem. The people of Israel left their places to worship God three times a year, namely, the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Tabernacles, and started a great national migration toward Jerusalem, the hometown of their souls. Because there was no transportation, it took several days or weeks to walk, and it was a tough journey with the whole family carrying luggage in their hands.
However, with the joy and excitement of being able to see and worship God in the Temple of Jerusalem, they were willing to endure the difficult journey. From Psalm 120 to 134, the fifteen Psalms were poems, prayers, and songs that the Israelite's sang by mouth while they were on their way to the Temple of Jerusalem. When we read these psalms, we can find the expressions of the pilgrims’ earnest hope and expectation, and the overwhelming excitement and joy of seeing God.
Today’s text is a song sung by a pilgrim who finally arrived at the temple of Jerusalem after a long and difficult journey. Let’s take a moment to see how the pilgrim is singing.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (1-2)
You can fully feel how much joy the pilgrim possessed, which has arrived after a long pilgrimage.
“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-- a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.” (3-4)
The pilgrim likens himself to a sparrow and a swallow nesting on the walls of the temple. This means that he has now built a nest in the temple. The pilgrim also expresses his envy, saying that the people who always dwell in the temple, those are the priests and Levite's, are blessed.
The most impressive passage of this psalm is this.
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (10)
In this confession that a day in the temple is better than a thousand days elsewhere, and a doorkeeper in the temple is better than a wonderful house of a bad person, we can see how much the pilgrim loves God and the happiness of being close to God. We can feel that he is longing for God desperately.
Why did Israelite's miss Jerusalem so much? Why did they love the house of God so much? I think the reason is the same as why Koreans visit their hometown with joy even under such difficult conditions. It is because of the divine instinct to return to the original place engraved in all human beings. So, not just Koreans, not just Israelite's, all of us have the divine instinct to return to our hometown, to Jerusalem, and to God, that is our original place.
There are a lot of people who don't have their hometowns today. They have no parents in their hometown, and no longer have brothers and sisters living there. Perhaps the modern society is one in which the “hometown” has disappeared. Also, there is no longer a temple of Jerusalem where we can make a pilgrimage. The old temple building is now used as a mosque. We can travel to Jerusalem today, but the pilgrimage is no longer possible. So, how can we return to God, our spiritual hometown? How can we make a pilgrimage back to our original place?
I have lived close to the church all my life since I was born. It was natural and familiar to attend Sunday worship. But it hasn't been long since I learned that it means more than attending a church service at a set time on Sunday. Although our hometown has disappeared, we are regularly returning to our soul's hometown through worship every Sunday. Although the temple of Jerusalem does not exist, we are making a pilgrimage to the temple of God through worship service.
Worship Service is not just a religious ceremony that begins with the Prelude and ends with the Benediction, but a sacred moment in which our souls return home regularly every Sunday. When we worship God, the place where we stay is not just a chapel building, but a real temple where God lives. In an era where sacred symbols and sacraments have disappeared, we need to deliberately reflect these meanings on our minds whenever we worship. We must make worship more valuable and meaningful.
Good worship doesn’t just depend on high-quality preaching, touching praises, and well-organized forms of worship. The most important factor that makes worship genuine is the heart and attitude of the worshiper. We learned what it is through Today’s text.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD almighty!”
We need this kind of longing heart.
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”
This confession must be ours.
Korean people who returned from their hometowns were revived and lived to their fullest abilities.
The Israelite's, who returned from sacrificing to God in the temple of Jerusalem, lived faithfully in their place again. Our worship service should be a place for such spiritual recharging and recovery. Let’s return home. Let’s go back to God, our spiritual hometown. Let’s do that through our Sunday worship service. I hope your life can be restored and revitalized through this precious spiritual pilgrimage that repeats every Sunday.
Worship Services at Rehobeth are now in-person.
You are cordially invited to join us on Sunday's at 9 am.
Preparations for your worship experience:
September 5, 2021 15th Sunday after Pentecost
Prov. 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Jas. 2: 1-10 (11-13), 14-17
Mk. 7: 24-37
September 12, 2021 16th Sunday after Pentecost
Jas. 3: 1-12
Mark 8: 27-38
September 19, 2021 17th Sunday after Pentecost
Prov. 31: 10-312
Jas. 3:13 - 4:3, 7-8a
Mk. 9: 30-37
- Please register & include your email on the “registration form.”
- We are seeking two volunteers to read the scripture lessons.
- Please use the Prayer Book to record special prayer concerns.
- 2021 Charge Conference: Sep. 30(Thurs) 7:00pm by Zoom
* Four charges (two from Winchester and two from Harrisonburg) will be together at the appointed time for worship led by DS. Then each charge will be sent to a breakout room where the appointed Elder will preside an individual charge conference.
- A Working Council Meeting, 14 SEP 2021, 6:45 PM. We will complete reports for the Charge Conference. Come with your reports for 2021 and plans for 2022.
- Reports need to be signed and submitted Sep 20.
- Sharing & Fellowship after worship Services.
- Our sister parishes: Bethel UMC & Ashburn Korean UMC
- Remembering those grieving and in despair today.
- Pray for each other’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
- The mission of the UMC is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The first step is to learn as
a disciple learns about the gospel and the Christ Event.
Bishop: Rev. Sharma D. Lewis
District Superintendent: Rev. Victor Gomez
Pastor: Rev. Sean Kang
- Send Articles, Notices, Items of Interest to our congregation to
the website manager: email@example.com Thank you.
Pastor’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MESSENGER: Rev. Sean H. Kang, Pastor
One of the blessings of living as pastor is to meet good people. For the past twenty-eight years of my ministerial journey, I’ve met many good people. By ‘good people,’ I do not mean those who are nice to me, but those who continue to grow in faith and love. As a spiritual leader, it is a joy to see someone to become a Christian and to be gradually transformed into the image of Christ. Of course, I too need to grow spiritually. Pastors are no exception. Every Christian should strive to be transformed by renewing of our minds, so that we may be able to test and approve God’s will, as Paul commands. (Romans 12:2)
In a sense, Christian history is a history of transformation. The Gospels are full of stories of persons who encountered Jesus and were transformed into a new life. The twelve disciples are those. Zacchaeus is one of those. Paul is the great example of how a person’s life can be changed into a totally new direction. St. Augustine and St. Francis are also the great example of spiritual transformation. How about John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace”? He had worked on slave ships in the slave trade. But after experiencing a spiritual conversion in the midst of shipwreck, Newton eventually renounced his trade, became an Anglican priest, and dedicated his whole life as a slave of Christ. We also can recall many names of our fellow Christians who encountered Christ on their ways and were transformed into a totally new life. Further, those who are transformed in Christ transform the world.
The power of Christ is the power of transformation. If we meet the risen Christ, he changes our hearts and minds, our thoughts and attitudes, the direction of our journey, and the purpose of our life. If no change has happened after you met Christ, it means something is wrong with your spiritual journey or with your relationship with Christ. Just think it over. We come to Christ as sinners. He welcomes us, forgives us, and renews our souls. We are justified and sanctified through his grace. As our faith grows, we want to become more like him. This is a general process of being a Christian, and this whole process is a process of transformation into the image of Christ. Then, how can we not experience any changes? If no change has happened yet in your life since you have met Christ, it means that you are still wandering around in the crowds seeking for the wrong object, not longing for the Bread of Life, as I told you two weeks ago.
Although it is natural to be transformed as we encounter Christ, the reality is that the transformation does not automatically happen. God is certainly willing to justify us through Christ so that we may live a transformed life, which is a sanctified life. Yet if we do not make any effort to be a new self on our part, the transformation never happens.
In Ephesians, Paul commands us to be transformed in Christ. He says,
“Put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
And he continues to teach us the rules for the new life in today’s scripture reading. I am not going to read it again, but to sum up: First, speak the truth; second, manage your anger; third, work honestly and share what you get; fourth, build others up with good talk; fifth, please God with holy life; lastly, be a good neighbor with kindness and forgiveness. These are not the only touchstones for spiritual transformation. There are many more rules and examples. So, we might be overwhelmed by these rules and think it’s impossible for us to be like Christ. How do we keep all of these rules? Would it really be possible for us to grow into the fullness of Christ?
Paul says, “Therefore, be imitators of God.” (Ephesians 5:1)We get a hint from this simple statement: Don’t try to keep all those rules fist. Instead, try to imitate God first. Then you will find, on the way, that you are becoming more like him. Many of you may remember Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, ''The Great Stone Face.''
“Ernest lives in a prosperous valley where there is a local mountainside with rocks that strongly resemble a wise and benevolent face. His mother tells him of the local legend that a man whose appearance matches the Great Stone Face will return to the valley. That man is destined to be 'the greatest and noblest personage of his time. Young Ernest is drawn to the tale and hopes fervently that such a man will appear in his lifetime. As he grows up, Ernest spends a good portion of his day in respectful, almost prayerful, contemplation of the Great Stone Face longing for the prophecy being fulfilled. Ernest is middle-aged and has become a well-respected preacher. As time goes on, he witnesses some possible candidates return to the valley. Yet none of them satisfy his expectation. Elderly Ernest has a reputation for wisdom and kindness, and he's known far and wide. A respected poet comes to see him, and together they walk out to a place outdoors where Ernest delivers sermons. As Ernest stands there before his congregation, the poet is struck by the resemblance between Ernest and the Great Stone Face. The poet reveals to the citizens of the valley that Ernest is the prophesied man of wisdom and nobility. The people cheer, but Ernest humbly shrugs it off, still waiting for a wiser man who resembles the Great Stone Face.”
Jesus Christ is the “Great Stone Face” in our spiritual journey. God so wants us to be like him, that he gave us the perfect imitator, Jesus Christ. Athanasius, one of the early church Fathers, said, “God became human so that we might become God.” Jesus himself said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Like Ernest has done, as we continue to spend a good portion of our days in prayerful contemplation of our great imitator of God, Jesus Christ, with longing heart, we will be more like him.
When she was little, our daughter used to say to his mom and to others, “I want to be like my dad. I want to be a pastor like him. I want to do exactly the same with what he has done.” I was so happy to hear that. She seemed to know how to please her father. And she taught me how I could please my heavenly Father. As she grew up, she changed her mind and decided not to be a pastor. Maybe she realized that her dad is not the Great Stone Face. Nonetheless, I am not disappointed, for I know she has been living a good life, and I believe that she is still longing for the Great Stone Face, Jesus Christ.
Our heavenly Father truly takes delight in to hearing us saying, “We want to be imitators of God. We want to be like Jesus Christ. We want to live like him and love like him.” As much as we long to be like him, we will be more like him. What a wonderful life would it be if we become imitators of Christ and people see in us something like him? How much can we please our heavenly Father if we continue to want to be like Christ and live like him?
Therefore, friends in Christ,
“let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2), as the writer of Hebrews encourages us, until we “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
T -- Is it true?
H -- Is it helpful?
I --- Is it Inspiring?
N -- Is it necessary?
K -- Is it Kind?
Rev. Sean Kang, Pastor
Paul & Churches
As we know, Paul was the one who persecuted the early Christians more than anyone else, but after repentance, he became the one who delivered Jesus’ gospel more passionately than anyone else. So when he was converted, Jews accused him of being a traitor, and Christians suspected him of being unreliable. When no one believed in him, Paul went down to the kingdom of Nabatea(It’s capital city was Petra) in southeastern Jordan and hid quietly for about three years.
The man who brought Paul back into the world was Barnabas, who was serving in the church of Antioch (Syria). Paul, who served with Barnabas for about two years, realized that it was not his mission, and left the church and began his life as a traveling evangelist. He delivered Jesus’ gospel to the people he met walking only on foot through most of the areas around the Mediterranean coast. A similar thing happened everywhere he went. The pattern was that a Christians community was formed first, and then Paul was driven away by the animosity of the local people.
Sometimes people came to Paul's residence in the middle of the night and threw stones, and he was caught and beaten. Sometimes he was imprisoned and released shortly thereafter, and sometimes he was imprisoned for long periods of time and tortured. Officially, the places he was imprisoned are known as Jerusalem and Rome, but it appears that he was imprisoned in several other places. Despite this, he was not pessimistic about his difficulties and called himself ‘a prisoner for the Lord.’
Ephesians was also a letter written when Paul was imprisoned. By the time he wrote this letter, quite a few churches had been built. Although the Christian community was formed, there was no organization, no system, no clergy, and not even any scriptures, so Paul felt the need to give each church a key lesson on what it means to believe in Jesus, how they believe in Jesus, and why the church needed it. Ephesians was a letter written for that purpose for all churches to read.
Therefore, Ephesians is a letter that summarizes Paul’s most important teachings of the nature of Christian faith and of the faith community. We can learn early Christians' understanding of the Christian faith and faith community through Ephesians. In other words, through Ephesians, we will be able to discover once again the nature of the Christian faith and of the faith community called the church that we may be missing today. Let's take a look.
In today's text, Paul described the essence of Christian faith as ‘living a life worthy of the calling.’ Christians refers to people who believe they have been called, and the church means a group of people or people themselves who try to live a life worthy of the calling. We can come to church to meet people, to hear good words, or to come out habitually because they are used to church life for a long time. Whatever the motivation, it's your choice, and it is not wrong.
However, if you really want to believe in Jesus, and if you really want to be a part of the body of Christ, that's not enough. According to Paul, to believe in Jesus and be a part of the body of the Christ earnestly, we need the belief that we were called and the efforts to live a life worthy of the calling. Let's think for a moment. Do you have faith that God called you? Are you trying to live up to that call?
There is a common misunderstanding of ‘the calling.’ It is often considered that a calling is God's choice of a special person to complete a special task. But God is not the one who needs any special person to achieve what He wants. God can achieve what He wants as much as He desires. Then what is the main reason that God calls on us? According to today’s text, it is not for God to entrust us with any special duty and task, but for us to become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
In other words, God does not call us to achieve the purpose He wants, but He calls us because he loves us. Therefore, not a single person here has not been called by God. It's just that there are people who don't accept it or who don't want to perceive it. So If you believe that God loves you, please accept the fact that God called on you. And I hope you try to live a life worthy of the calling.
The belief that we are called does not make us unusual or enthusiastic believers, but helps us mature. The belief that we are called does not give us a sense of duty to fulfill a special mission, but helps us grow to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. I hope you don't feel pressured or afraid to believe in being called. If so, then how can we live a life worthy of the calling?
A Life Worthy of the Calling
Paul taught that a faith community is necessary to live a life worthy of the calling. It is the only place where we can learn, train, and practice to live a life worthy of the calling. To be honest, belonging to a faith community is difficult, uncomfortable, and sometimes troublesome. Because the church is a place where so many different people gather and ask us to put down what we want rather than fill what we want. Because the faith community asks us to lower ourselves rather than to raise ourselves up on a pedestal.
Who today would want to live in such a difficult and uncomfortable place? Today people's favorite places are where people immediately satisfy what they want. People try to find places where they can easily, comfortably, and quickly feel satisfied. People avoid long, difficult, patient, and uncomfortable places. Maybe it's instinctive, but if we follow that instinct all the time, we will never grow spiritually and living a life worthy of the calling will never be possible.
In today's text, Paul taught us what we should do first in the faith community in order to live a life worthy of the calling. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (4:2) He didn't say to be humble only to high-positioned people. He didn’t say to be gentle with good people. He didn't mean to tolerate only tolerable people and to love only lovable people. He said, in any case, to everybody, to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in life.
In fact, how difficult is it? But where else can we do this training if it's not a faith community? How can one become a mature person without this effort and attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ? Paul taught us that we were called to become mature and grow up in Christ, that the faith community was the place that we were trained, and that we would be forming the body of Christ while we are humble, gentle, and patient with each other.
Paul set out one important principle to practice this. Let’s read today’s text again.
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to one hope when you were called--one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (4:3-6)
Here is the fundamental reason why we should be humble and meek to rude people, unkind people, and unlovable people, and tolerate different people with us, bearing with one another in love. That's because although we are different, our roots are the same. For there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. Perhaps we have more in common than differences.
I hope there is no misunderstanding. When Paul said in today’s scripture that we should be one, he did not mean that we should wear ‘uniform.’ This is not to say that we should all think the same thing and have the same opinion. This is not to say that there should be no disagreement, no debate, no difference. We are called in our own way. Some are called apostles, some are prophets, some are evangelists, and some are called teachers. We each live our own lives worthy of calling, but don't forget that our roots are one.
The Reason God Has Called Us
What is the nature of the Christian faith that we have learned through Ephesians? It is to become a mature person and live up to the fullness of Christ. What is the nature of the faith community that we have learned from Ephesians? It is to speak the truth in love and to grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Eventually, we realize that the nature of Christian faith and the faith community are not different. It is to become mature and grow up into Christ.
Why did the Lord call us? Why did the Lord call us to this church? Why did the Lord call us to this place of worship today? It is clear. It's to live a life worthy of the calling. It is for us to reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, and to speak the truth in love, for us to grow up into Christ in all things. This is why we believe in Jesus, and why we live in our faith community.
The Pandemic of 2020 leaves us with with much to think about; the deaths of so many people, worldwide and in our country. How do we incorporate this major catastrophe into our psyches and lives?
Making frequent spaces in our "busy" lives helps us to "catch our breath" and to rearrange what is important to us. We've learned life is fragile. We've learned what is precious. We've learned to pay attention to the brevity of our own existence.
What a better place than to visit a cemetery near us to meditate and contemplate our own existence.
Memorial Day is coming. Grass needs mowed. Iris are blooming. Spring is bursting forth all around us. Bees 'a humming, birds 'a chirping,and humans are breathing again without masks! We have arrived ... we are home!
We have much for which to be grateful. Each day let us commit to give thanks, to be mindful of our breath in prayer, to pray for one another, and continue our walk in the Light. It's time to discipline ourselves with acts of compassion to everyone as we remember our ancestors for whom we've come.
While you are alive! that is! Phew! You thought I made a mistake. Nope, but ... Our own spot will come soon enough. But for now take time to connect your past to the present as your live, appreciating the now.
These Old Oaks, were here before we were born. The Mountain range in the distance eons before that. The land on which we stand has seen many cultures and is sacred ground. All cultures, all ground, all humanity is sacred.
And life goes continues
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Our website rehobethchurch.org
Worship and Centered Prayer services are co-hosted on Zoom by Jim and Jeremy Nenninger.
Rev. Kang creates content and Gospel Messages.
Thank you for joining and participating with us for Sunday Worship, 9 AM, and
Thursday Services, 7 PM
2021 Apportionments (pdf)Download
MESSAGE Imitators of God - August 8 (docx)Download
MESSAGE King Solomon's Dream - August 15 (docx)Download
MESSAGE Returning Home - August 22 (docx)Download
MESSAGE The Commands of God, The Tradition of Men - Rv Kang (docx)Download
MESSAGE 210905 Partaking in the Life of Jesus - Rv Kang (docx)Download
Rev. Sean Kang graduated from the Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul and became an ordained minister from the Eastern Conference of the Korean Methodist Church. He served as an Associate Pastor in a Methodist Church in Seoul, then moved to Canada in 2000, where he studied Spiritual Theology and Spiritual Direction at the University of Toronto. While studying there, he began a new church for college students and young adults and served there for five years.
Rev. Kang accepted an invitation by the Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Washington and moved to Virginia in 2006; where he served as an Associate Pastor for seven years. In the spring of 2013, he started a new church in Ashburn, Virginia, and spent six years as it's Leading Pastor. Rev. Kang is very interested in Contemplative Spirituality and Spiritual Formation. In this context, his pastoral focus is geared toward spiritual sermons, spiritual exercises, and prayer practices.
We look forward to Rev. Kang's ministry with us ... as our journey continues.
Rehobeth United Methodist, 14085 Rehobeth Church Road, Lovettsville Join us on Zoom for worship and fellowship.
Join us on zoom, Sunday's at 9:00 am. If you miss the service, you can find them on the website.
Your offerings may be sent to respective Churches.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT
(Standing) Rev Andreas Armstrong, Zion & Bethel Lutheran Church; Rev Mark Jagoe, Hillsboro & Ebenezer UMC
(Sitting) Rev. James D Nenninger, Retired UMC; Rev. Tiffany Towberman, Zion Lutheran; Rev. Stephen King, Mt. Olivet & Mt. Pleasant UMC;
Rev. Krista Vingelis, New Jerusalem Lutheran; Rev. David Douthett, Catoctin Presbyterian, Waterford; Rev. Roland England, Christian Community at St. Paul's, UCC;
(Absent) Rev. Sean Kang, Rehobeth UMC
*Thanks to Sandy, Tiffany's mom for taking the picture)
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2019 CEMETERY & CHURCH PROPERTY UPKEEP
- ON GOING Mowing & Trimming
- COMPLETED Fire Inspection – Passed 4/26/18
- COMPLETED Termite Inspection: Passed 4/20/18
- COMPLETED Replace Sub-floor in vestibule 8/22/18
- IN PROCESS Repairing Lentil, complete main entrance
- IN PROCESS Refinish Sanctuary Door & add Landing
- COMPLETED A complete cemetery grounds renovation
- COMPLETED Beautify church lawn edging
- Paint Outside Trim (postponed)
- Upgrade A/V system, 2019
- Water Testing
- Furnace & Oil Tank Plans
- Storage Shed, re-shingle or replace
- Replace Carpet
- Pew cushions
- Upright Cemetery Headstones
- Repair Broken Stained Glass Window
D - Air Conditioning
R - Pointing of bricks
E - Belfry Lighting
A - Storm windows
M - Belfry Inspection & Greasing Bell
REHOBETH CEMETERY is a major MISSION of our Church, requiring much work, expense, and upkeep. Our intent is to maintain our cemetery that honors the many Methodist's and others who gave of their resources to support our Church. We do honor to ourselves to honor our history and those who have graced us with this facility. Thanks be to God.
THANK YOU TRUSTEES ...
Rehobeth is fortunate to have a very active team of Trustees. If you are interested in joining our Team, we are interested in you !!!
- Jeremy Nenninger, Chairman
- David Thompson, Financial Sec
_ Jim Nenninger, Ret'd UMC Clergy
- Scott Brock
.......................................... , (sign on the dotted line)
Welcome! For the past 225 years Rehobeth United Methodist Church has been a place where people could come to learn, be in community and grow as people of God. Even as the world has changed and we have changed, we are still committed to being a community that reaches out to our neighbors and our world so that all can know the love of God. We hope you will join us and make yourself at home here as we sincerely welcome you to Rehobeth United Methodist Church.
Rehobeth UMC is located at 14085 Rehobeth Church Road, Lovettsville VA 20180. The pastor is the Rev. Sean Hyunsik Kang. The Pastor's email is email@example.com; and cell phone: 703-336-3679. Our website is www.rehobethchurch.org Sunday worship is at 9 am and a Scripture - Prayer Class (Contemplative Dialogue) Meeting at 9:50 am. The Class is open to everyone.
On Rt. 7 go to the exit for Rt. 287; at the underpass, turn left and go north 6.2 mi on Rt. 287 (Berlin Turnpike) toward Purcellville and Lovettsville. Turn right onto Rickard Road and go 0.4 mi east. Take the 1st right onto Rehobeth Church Road; the turn is 0.2 mi on the left.