Hope for a renewed heart
Growing up in Korea, we learned the song Our Wish is Unification. This song is a national creed, like a mantra in our mind, longing for the reunification of the two Koreas, which have been separated for 63 years now.
While reunification seems a distant reality, if someone were to ask me “Is there hope for the two Koreas to be reunited?”, I would say, “Of course, it will happen one day, as long as we don’t stop hoping for one Korea.”
During our Easter celebration this year, I read one of the most beautiful stories in the bible — the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord. All four gospel writers agree that Mary Magdalene was the first person who encountered Christ at the empty tomb. After the disciples went to their home, Mary waited at the empty tomb. In her grief, she met the Risen Lord, who called her by name.
The first Easter event was not seen as good news by those who denied, mocked and crucified Jesus on the cross. In the same way, many today don’t recognise and rejoice in the wonder of Easter.
But for those who wait for a new life, hope for a new beginning and fight for a new world, the Risen Christ is seen as the very reason for a complete paradigm shift. The good news of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation brings with it the possibility of restoration for the lost and undeserving.
The Easter event is repeated over and over whenever someone waits in hope, and whenever the good news is lived out by the few whose deep personal and transforming faith is founded in Christ Jesus.
Recently I visited Sydney Covenant Korean church on the North Shore, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Despite its much shorter history, this small migrant Congregation has already planted two churches, as well as a faith community. After the church service, I learned more about the Congregation and the minister’s strong appetite for church planting.
Although they had initially struggled to find a place to worship, they hadn’t lost their heart for spreading the good news and expanding God’s kingdom. They reminded me of the Easter story, the true reason for powerful evangelism!
Since May last year, I have issued invitations to ministry agents, asking them to attend a day of reflection. A time when they could share their moments of enlightenment and their wisdom with each other and me so that together we could hear God’s voice speaking to us with a discerning and prayerful heart.
From August this year, I will be issuing a new invitation to all members of Uniting Church Congregations in our Synod. One thing that became undeniably apparent during the UTalk series was the centrality of God’s call on our lives, on our Church as being a “Uniting” church not a “United” church. The Easter story is not only about our waiting for God but also God’s special grace reaching out to us through Christ who became a bridge between us and God.
I have many hopes along with one wish for the reunification of the two Koreas. Many times I have lost heart and despaired over indifference, self-centeredness and greed in me, in the church and in our society. But then I put my faith cap on, and I can live with all my hopes not yet eventuated, and even with the prolonged division between two Koreas.
Let the Holy Spirit continue to renew our faith, which is “The reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
The Moderator, Rev. Myung Hwa Park