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Our Minister's Message
Welcome back! September truly is the transition in seasons and activities that we undertake. I’m sure many of you haven’t actually been away during summer, but still September is the start of a new season, a new term and a new year for the church; as summer days are waning, autumn will force its way upon us.
Children and their teachers are counting down the days before making a fresh start of the new year; various groups and activities in our church will also resume. September just has that feeling that something new and different is about to happen and we need to be prepared.
“Jesus steadfastly and determinedly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus feels the urge of the Spirit that the time has come for him to set off on a journey
towards Jerusalem. Almost his entire ministry takes place on the road as he ‘steadfastly’ and ‘determinedly’ makes his way up to Jerusalem.
A similar story we hear in Acts, this time it is Paul who is prompted by the Spirit: “A nd now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” (Acts 20:22) Not knowing what will happen to him, but still as a captive to the Spirit, Paul faithfully makes his way to
Jerusalem. What’s interesting about this journey is that not everyone agrees with Paul. Only a few verses
later we hear that the faith community in Tyre, still prompted by the same Spirit, speaks against it: “Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:5) What would you do, when faith communities experience fundamental disagreements over how to respond to the Holy Spirit? It’s
remarkable even to think that the Holy Spirit gives two very contradicting messages to Paul and the
believers in Tyre.
I love how Paul and the community then decide to stay together for a whole week, conversing and praying. I love how they, in the end, bring everyone, all of them – all the men, women, and children in the community – on the beach and kneel and pray together: “W hen our days there were ended, we left and proceeded on our journey; and all of them, with wives and children, escorted us outside the city. There we knelt down on the beach and prayed and said farewell to one another.” (Acts 21:6) As Luke tells us this story, he spends far more time sharing how this moment was filled with prayer an a sense of unity, rather than what decision was made.
I remember sharing my thoughts on this passage with you a few years ago, but I find it still relevant to our time, especially as we continue to explore the way forward for our Circuit and our local churches. Paul and his community teach us how to be God’s church in times of change and transition. Being a Spirit-led church does not mean getting everyone agreed on one and only decision. Just as our God is not a static but a dynamic God, so, too, we are His church. God calls us to set our faces ‘steadfastly’ and ‘determinedly’ together, while on our knees holding one another in prayer.
So friends, let’s also make our way into the new year in the same Spirit. As we embrace the challenges and opportunities that the new year will bring to us, it is my prayer that God will continue to work in us and through us, cover us with His grace, prompt us and guide our ways with the Holy Spirit. The Lord bless us and bless us kindly.
Kido Baek – September 2022