Today, things are back to normal in S. Korea. My daughter and I got up early and went to church a little early. My Korean son in law had to go to work. He has had trouble getting a job that respects his church times, so he has to work at times on Sundays. That is one of the reasons he wants to move to America. He is hoping they won’t make him work on Sundays. Anyway, my daughter and I got to church a little early because we knew that usually before church, there is a special time, and we made it for the special time. In Japan, the churches are few and far between, but here in Korea, you can find them on every street corner. The Koreans have a real love of God. You see, they have known about God longer than most of the world. The father of their fist emperor came from the Tower of Babel to Korea, and they knew about God before the missionaries came to Korea. They just didn’t know about the Bible and Jesus, and they were thrilled when the missionaries came. There are many who love God in Korea. Buddhism is here, but Christianity is here too. The two of them make a very harmonious population because they are both religions of peace.
We went to church early this morning for a reason. My friend, Joseph, is very talented. He doesn’t want to play his musical instrument during worship, but he wants to use his talent for God, and the church wants him to use his talent. They have made a good compromise. Before worship, he plays the guitar and teaches the church to sing new songs, and he was playing and singing this morning. I have known Joseph for, wow, possibly close to twenty years because I knew him before I came to Korea. He was one of my students at Ohio Valley University, the Christian university I taught at in the States. We have become such good friends he calls me the grandmother of his son. His wife is also a good friend of mine, and I brought them a gift from Japan. You can see in the video that he was doing a good job teaching the songs as usual.
You can see from this video that during the worship service, they have put the guitar aside, and they won’t use it. Some Korean churches of Christ will go ahead and use the guitar or piano during worship, but this group says that it distracts from the worship. They want people worshiping, not worried about listening to the music. Worship isn’t a performance. It is worship, and they want to make it possible for every person to participate. If you listen to the song they are singing above, you may recognize it. It is “When Peace Like a River Attendeth my Way,” a song written by an Englishman when his family all died in a ship during storm at sea. It was very appropriate to sing it this morning. Several S. Koreans died this week in Budapest, Hungary. They were part of a tour group on the Danube River, and two ships collided, and lives were lost. Koreans care deeply about other Koreans, and it has hurt them for these Koreans to have died. The preacher was trying to comfort them with this song.
The preacher preached out of John 12:12-19 today. Every week lately, he has been relating his sermons to Lazarus, the man that Jesus rose from the dead. If you read this story of the Triumphal Entry, it is related to Lazarus too. You see, when Jesus raised someone from the dead, the people were completely astounded, and everyone talked about it! Hey, if someone raised from the dead, they would be talking about it today too. Right after that is when Jesus came into the city riding on the donkey, and the people decided to treat him like a king. After all, how many people can raise people from the dead? What they did for him was the equivalent of putting out the red carpet today. It is part of what got him in trouble too because the Pharisees and Sadducees (Religious groups of the day) were watching, and they didn’t like all the attention Jesus was getting, and the were plotting to kill him. They didn’t understand how Jesus did the things he was doing, and they were afraid he might not be from God, but maybe from the devil. However, they never realized that didn’t make sense. Jesus was casting out the bad in people, and if he was from the devil, he would have been working against himself by casting out bad. If a house is divided, it can’t stand. He had to be from God because God is who wants bad gone, not the devil.
The preacher also shared Zachariah 9 : 9 & 10 with us. It was written many, many years before Jesus was born. However, if you look, it predicts what he was doing on the day of the Triumphal Entry. There are more the one hundred prophecies like this about Jesus in the Old Testament, and Jesus fulfilled every detail of every prophesy. How could these prophets know so many years before Jesus was born what Jesus would do? The only answer has to be that God told them. That means that God actually does exist, as the Koreans have been telling everyone all over the world. It also means that the Bible is from God, and that Jesus is the Messiah, the one that all the prophets were talking about in the Old Testament. He fulfilled all the prophecies. Where ever there are Christians around the globe, those people cause peace. There are Christians everywhere, and they encourage peace in a country. Look at the prophecy, that is what it says Christians will do, before Christians even existed.
At the end of the sermon, the preacher got excited as he often does. He led us in another song. You can see how he is singing his heart out! I don’t think the video turned out that good, but I wanted you to see how excited this guy gets! He was singing with his eyes shut and beating the podium with his hand and he sang as loud as he could. His name is Mr. Kim, the Korean preacher. We were singing about how Jesus stuck it out to the very end, and that we need to do the same. Mr. Kim speaks no English, and all the worship services are all in Korea.
Joopil is another of my Korean buddies. He spoke to us this morning before Communion. We have been friends since the first year I came to Korea. He had recently returned from America. He had just completed a masters in Theology from a Christian university in America. He has a B. A. in Theology from Korea Christian University, a masters from a Korean university in Theology, a masters from Freed Hardeman University, a Christian university in America, in Theology, and he is just now completing a doctorate in Theology from one of the Ivy league universities here in Seoul. He is writing his thesis now. He has really studied hard about God, but that is not what his job is. Koreans all want English, and he and Joseph are both heads of schools where they teach English because their English is so good. It is okay with him because all his studies about God were for the knowledge. He preaches for free. He gives his knowledge about God away for free. I also brought a gift from Japan for him and his family. I knew him before he got married, and he is married with three kids now.
Pictures at the food court at E-Mart.
After worship, all our Korean buddies went to eat their kimchee based food. By now, they know that unless they eat something tame, my daughter and I are not really up for eating it, and they understand. Maybe we can eat with them another time. They understand that we didn’t grow up with kimchee like they did, and they really love that kimchee!! My daughter and I decided to go to the food court over at E-Mart for lunch. Koreans are very community based, and the food court was packed. Very few Koreans know how to cook, and going out to eat often is normal in Korea. If I ask one of the women I know how to make their holiday food, they usually tell me they don’t know how, and they plan on buying their food already made for the holiday. Restaurants are very popular in Korea, and they are cheap. Ordering out is also a big business in Korea. Even McDonald’s has order out in Korea, not just the pizza places like in America. After lunch, we came home and took a nap because I was tired from my trip, and my daughter has a cold. Things are back to normal. I am back in the land of the Morning Calm, and there are many Christians around me.