From The Minister's Desk

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. … The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Luke 10:1-4, 17-19)

 

In August I attended a presbytery retreat. This was a valuable occasion for ministers to meet and mingle with their ministry colleagues. We ministers encourage one another. We all know how painful, as well as joyful, it is to be one of the ‘appointed seventy-two workers for the Lord of the harvest’. Knowing that all the ‘seventy-two workers’ have their own crosses to carry in their unique circumstances was a bit of group therapy. However, we were not fully encouraged to realise the church’s gloomy future together; its declining influence in society and diminishing number of worshippers.       

 

There are numerous studies available on how to turn the church’s down-spiral trend toward growing up. Entrepreneurial skills and managerial talents are sought to revitalise the declining Christian communities.   To survive by becoming more inclusive in a secular world, some Christian organisations feel shy to work ‘in the name of Jesus’. I feel that those faith organisations are losing their foundation; working for and ‘in the name of Jesus’ is church’s sole raison d’être.        

 

As harvest workers, our job is not only to harvest quantity, but quality. While it is important to grow the number of regular, committed worshippers, it is equally important to invest in the quality of our crop: our spiritual and theological adherence to the church and its foundation, Jesus Christ. Even business models with poor quality of product cannot be sustained. The church is no different. We no longer become the church if our sole focus is to grow quantity: we must focus more on quality. We focus on the quality of our harvest by being extraordinary in the ordinary, by doing the mediocre things great, and feeling pleasure and the power of God in each and every part of creation - small or large.   All parts of the church, whether young or old, packed pews or empty, could do better with the quality of our harvest.

 

The Lord saw something we couldn’t see: in our little ordinary, everyday lives, Jesus saw some large cosmic matters. The harvest workers were given the task to do the work that Jesus did – healing the sick, proclaiming the good news, and casting out the demons. Now they reported their amazement that, despite all of the obstacles to success in their mission, God actually worked through them. And that brought joy. Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” We look at our church, and if we do not see it through the eyes of faith, we see only the defeats and disappointments; we focus on all the ways we fall short in our faithfulness. It is amazement and joy that Jesus sees heaven and earth being transformed through us, through our ordinary work in His Name. He sees Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Thank God for our ordinary and faithful parishioners who do their ‘ordinary’ things to help elderly people. In their gentle and loving ways, the world is shaken, and Jesus sees Satan fall like lightning from heaven. .

 
Yangrae (Ray) Son, Minister of the Word.
[from Minister's Report to AGM, Aug 2016]