Sunday, April 24, 2011

Behold! What manner of love!!

"Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God." (I'm totally quoting from the song that's often sung in rounds, which quotes 1 John 3:1)

This verse came to mind this evening during Korean church. In the first part of the praise time, they sang several songs about the cross, and showed clips from The Passion (at least, I think that's what it was). The movie vividly reminded me of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, but when I juxtaposed 1 John 3:1 with the cross, I was brought to tears. God loved us so much that He allowed and directed His only true Son to suffer the cross as our substitutionary sacrifice so that we, who are sinners who despised and rejected God (Rom. 5:8), could become His sons. His sons!!! We, who are unfit to be slaves in His house, can be His sons!!! What love!! What a sacrifice! All we can do in return is to repent of our sins, accept Christ's sacrifice, praise Him, and serve Him with our lives.

He is Risen!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Mr Collins Moment

Tonight was a farewell dinner for the Bible study I have attended almost since arriving in Korea. The two founding couples and another member will be returning to their home countries within a month and a half. This leaves the Bible study with no place to meet, so it is cancelled for now.

The dinner was an amazing multi-course (I kinda lost count...) Korean meal which we were treated to by the four Korean men who regularly attend (and 3 have attended for years) the study. I had a Mr Collins (from Pride and Prejudice) moment in one of the last courses, when I really wanted to say, "What excellent kimchi." Which triggered my memory of the scene in the (newer) movie where Mr Collins awkwardly compliments, "What excellent potatoes..." I changed my phrasing, but the kimchi was really very good. And, wow, am I becoming Korean or what, thinking about the excellence of the kimchi...?

It was a lovely dinner, with a time of fellowship and farewells. One observed that all the continents were represented (which works if you view N and S America as one continent, which I've heard some do... and if you ignore Australia...) - one couple leaving is from Singapore, one from Holland, the lady who is also leaving is from South Africa, and I'm from the US. I think our Bible studies were vaguely like what Heaven will be like - people from every tribe, tongue, and nation united in the cross.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Living the Dream

Today's post title is ripped from the Jonas Brothers, (I was, in fact, a fan of theirs once...) who are living their dream, to be big-name performers. I am living the dream of many Korean drama/Korean pop fans around the world - actually living in Korea. I'll insert here that I'm still loving it!

Korea has changed me/is changing me. Exhibit A: I have a really sweet new(ish) haircut with very Korean-style bangs (since getting my haircut, I have been approached by more people who think that I am Korean... until I look up and they see my blue eyes.) - to keep my bangs looking the way they should, I *gasp* use hair curlers. 'Unheard of!' you say. Too true, my friend, too true. Exhibit B: I take an hour to get ready in the morning. 'Proof right there!' you crow. Friend, 10-15 minutes of that time is spent putting on make-up! *Everyone is stunned silent.* Like I said, Korea is changing me.

Korea is also challenging me. I attend two very different churches with exceedingly different worship styles, services, etc. I am challenged regularly to discern what is culture and what is Christ - should I insist on a particular style of worship? Or protest certain things I have never before seen in previous churches? Or are those things subjective, and non-essential? (Answers in order: No, I don't think so, and yes.)

Today, I sang with my Korean praise team. In the course of the service, I sang the Korean national anthem, in song asked God to remember the Korean people, and to bring revival again to Korea, and I waved a small Korean flag. At practice yesterday, I resisted the idea of singing the Korean national anthem, until I reminded myself that I sing other national anthems (I went through a national anthem phase once...), and that my citizenship is in Heaven. Later, I remembered that I came to Korea to reach out to the people around me, and to live out a witness for God before them, and the Korea-centric songs I was singing reflected my desire to see the people of Korea won to Christ. I am certainly being challenged and stretched on a regular basis.

How important are the particular 'Christian-ese' words that we use? I was thinking about that yesterday as my friend was translating the songs that our praise team was to sing. There are certain phrases and terms which we use exclusively for certain references. (Ie, I was uncomfortable with my friend's translation of a phrase about Christ's land/nation until I hit on 'kingdom' as the 'correct' word.) Why do we use those certain phrases? They don't always translate into other languages or naturally translate from other languages. Or is it that 'church language' is its own vocabulary which must be learned even by native speakers in every language?

Today some of my friends were baptized. I was excited to see them publicly declaring that they would follow God, even though the treatment of the ceremony seemed somewhat more perfunctory than what I am accustomed to. There was a moment of amusement when one friend's carefully arranged fauxhawk got wet and made the sprinkled water run straight off in front of his face.

I taught another friend to shine his shoes today. He was in shock at the wonder of shoe polish and its magic on scuffed and worn-looking shoes. Props go to my dad, who taught me how to shine shoes at an early age. ^_^

Life is good. There have been some serious challenges since my last post (like my job being threatened... A word of advice, if you're coming to Korea - never, ever work at a hagwon.), but God has used every instance to show me how much He cares for me, and how He has ordained my life even here in Korea to provide for me in every way. He is good.