Reflection 122220 (Advent 4: Love) Rev Sunny Kim
Luke 1:26-38/ 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Being God’s House of Love
This past week, I read a sad and unfortunate piece of news coming from my home country and my home church, the Korean Methodist Church. A young Methodist minister, Rev. Lee, got suspended from duty for 2 years for offering a blessing at the Queer Festival. According to the Methodist policies, the act of offering a blessing at the Queer Festival is considered condoning a lifestyle incompatible with God’s teaching. Of course, I and many of our United Church members disagree with it. We believe that God’s love and blessing are for everyone, and we are taught not to judge or persecute others. I was heartbroken at the news from Korea. Some United Church folks are sending him letters of support. I thought the Korean ministers who belong to the United Church should send a collective letter, which will be more powerful than anyone else’s letter. I am currently pursuing the support of our Korean ministers. When he was invited to offer a blessing at the festival, Rev. Lee followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit and made a difficult decision to do what is right, knowing that he will be persecuted by the Church and society. He said he would do it again; he believes in the universal love of God.
It was serendipitous hearing the story of Rev. Lee as I was reading the story of Mary being chosen by God. She too had a lot to lose by saying yes to God’s call. Rev. Lee only risks his job and reputation in the church; Mary risked her life. These two have this in common; they both made a difficult decision to follow God, knowing that they had to make a sacrifice to do so. They were able to do it because of love; their love for God and God’s people.
In today’s Hebrew Scripture reading of Second Samuel, King David wants to build God a worthy house because he feels bad that he lives in luxury while the ark of God stays in a tent. The problem with David’s thinking is that he was treating the ark of God like it IS God and wants to put God on a pedestal. A lot of Christians still share the mindset. They think of God as an (or THE) object of worship, who is far away from us. However, God tells David, through the Prophet Nathan, that God is always on the move. God will make David and his dynasty God’s representatives. Instead of a luxurious alter, God wants David and his dynasty to be God’s house. It is interesting reading this story with the story of Mary’s prospective pregnancy since, through becoming the mother of God’s Chosen One, Mary’s body becomes the house for God’s love; she houses God’s love inside of her. In spite of everything she has to risk, she says yes, which always amazes me whenever I read Luke chapter 1. How could she be so courageous? Probably those of you who are parents understand what one is capable of doing for love.
Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent, and the theme is love. The story of Mary’s call is a story of love. It represents both the love of God for the humanity and a (future) mother’s love. Her love is also for God and God’s people. Both the divine love and the love of a parent are unconditional love. Through the coming of Jesus and all the stories that come with it in the Bible, all God’s people are being called for the same mission of love; the unconditional love of God’s reign.
Mary risked everything by having this baby. Rev. Lee is risking his job and career by blessing the members of the LGBT people in Korea. They both acted out of love, the kind of love that gives you courage to make sacrifices. They offered themselves as God’s houses of love, channels through which God’s love can flow to all people. Through this waiting period of Advent, let us examine our hearts. Are we ready to risk having to make sacrifices to say yes to God’s calls? Are we ready to embody the love of God in which we believe? Knowing that our sacrifice will not be nearly as close to that of Mary or Rev. Lee, I pray that God will give us great love and courage to say yes to work for the greater good of God’s reign. I pray that we will have the courage to be God’s houses, houses for God’s love; and live as God’s representatives here on earth; by loving, serving, and fighting the evil of social injustice.
Come, O Love of God through the person of Jesus!
Come and guide us through your ways of love and justice!
Prayer of Advent Love
God, whose name is love, help us to be filled with your love this season and the love for all your people and creation. Amen.