In case you couldn’t make it to church this morning, I got your back. Here is a devotional for the fourth Sunday of Lent. Here is a devotional from Reverend Dr. Heecheon Jeon.
God so loved the world
Rev. Dr. Heecheo Jeon
My name is Heecheon Jeon. I am the central district superintendent. I am very honored to share with you one of the Lenten series from the lectionary today.
Let us pray:
Holy God of love,
We give you thanks for this journey of the lent that gives us a space to reflect on our life in you. May our hearts be attuned to your spirit. May our thoughts and words be acceptable to you, O God. Amen.
I want to begin with the famous passage, John 3:16, that you might recite from your heart:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
I grew up in a Christian family in Korea. When I was a child, I loved my home church. I always went to the church ground to play. I had so many friends and families in the church I could play with, and the church was always a place for relationships and a sense of belonging, and for me, the church was another family. As I grew older, my grandmother took me to an early morning prayer service at the church every morning. For some reasons, I enjoyed that early morning service. It gave me joy, happiness and peace. I even followed a loud prayer in a room full of adults, singing hymns and listening the pastor’s message. As I reflected on those days, I realized that the everyday spiritual practice nurtured my soul, and more than that, it really helped me to sustain my faith in my early ages. It eventually strengthened my deep love for God and for the church. And then when I was in high school, I was introduced a book about Korean Minjung or people’s Liberation theology. I was so enlightened by how the church courageously spoke up against the unjust and evil power of military dictatorship that oppressed the people. The church has really taught me how to respond to that evil and unjust world. It strengthens my love for the world, because the church eventually taught me how to heal the broken and suffering world.
During those days, John 3:16 was always grounded in my heart.
“God so loved the world…”
Christianity is about the world that we are living in. More than that, it is about God’s love for the world.
The world is a place where we live together with all other beings; it is an “oecumene,” the household or dwelling place of all beings. It is a community for all beings. It is the whole ecosystem on the planet. And God loves the whole universe.
There is a plenty of reasons why we might be fearful of the world. Violence, hatred, discriminations, wars, divisions, or natural disasters are threatening human lives and lives of all things around us. However, in spite of all these, God still loves the world that the Son of God who is with us is the manifestation of God’s saving grace that may sustain our lives and lives of others, because love is the only way to overcome the radical evil and to transform the world.
Likewise, John Wesley boldly stated at the brink of a worldwide Methodist movement, “I look upon the world as my parish.” I feel his profound passion and love for the whole world. The world is my parish. The world is my church. The world is a place where God is dwelling and God’s love is manifested. The world is where I can bear witness to God’s saving grace. God’s love for the world breaks down all the walls and barriers and chasms between us, and between the church and the world. That is what the churches taught me. This is what John 3:16 is all about. The world is my church, my community, and my people that I am belonging to. We need to embrace them and we need to love them all, because God so loved the world.
I hope we imitate God’s love for the whole world that may unite us all, embrace us all, and make us whole in peace.
I hope our journey to the Easter morning be blessed and guided by God’s love for the world.
Gracious and loving God,
We give you thanks and gratitude for your love for the world.
May we overcome all the barriers, divisions, and discriminations against each other.
May the Holy Spirit unite us all as the people of resurrection hope.
Here is the second collection of images from the annual candid portrait photo shoot with Scottie D. and Melissa’s progeny:
There is still one more collection of photos from this photo shoot in the hopper.