Pastor Jisun's Final Letter - Summer 2021
I would like to first tell you that I love you.
You have been most kind and loving to me and I am very grateful for that.
It is with a very sad heart that I inform you as I have shared it on August 8, that I will be leaving the Audubon United Methodist Church at the end of September and will serve the Zion Lutheran Congregation in Saddle River of Bergen County, NJ.
I have a couple of issues that have been pressing my mind and one of them was my mother’s health. After much prayerful discernment and discussion with my family, it is best for me to take care of my elderly mother who has been very much weak and fragile after my father passed due to Covid 19 about a year ago. She needs to live in the area where she can have Korean speaking services including an adult day care, home healthcare aids and doctors. Bergen County is the right area.
I have been very happy with the Audubon church ministry, especially with you all. I have been hoping to serve this church for long term. However, God is leading me to a different path and I need to follow the call. I trust that you understand this.
My last Sunday will be the second Sunday of September but I will remain as the pastor on duty until the end of September.
Audubon UMC will receive a new pastor although we do not know yet the exact date. I believe that our God of grace will appoint a wonderful pastor for the beloved congregation of the Audubon UMC.
Thank you for your loving support for me!
May god richly bless you and your family all the more!
How was your Lenten journey?
Did you get in touch with yourself during this time to find out who you really are and whose you truly are? Did you feel that some people were praying for you and your family? Did you find the sweetness of the Holy Spirit… while in the midst of your struggles… while partaking the daily bread of scripture reading?
Forty days of your Lenten journey has nearly passed and we are getting closer to the sunrise of Easter; the day of the Lord’s resurrection.
“Resurrection is a sense of direction.” I had to ponder what it means to me.
“… He is going ahead of you to Galilee” “Go… make disciples...” “Remember I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
A sense of direction… in each of the gospels, the resurrection moves people away from the tomb in the direction of the world. The direction is away from death and toward life.
A sense of direction… “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
The resurrection invites -- no -- the resurrection demands that we orient ourselves in a new direction. What was, no longer is. In order to meet the risen Christ in Galilee, in order to make disciples, in order to know Christ with us even to the end of the age, in order to be actually free and happy, we have to turn our backs on the empty tomb of the past and let the resurrection orient us in a new direction. He is going before you to Galilee … already ahead of us, inviting us into a lively future with him in our life and in the work we are called to do.
“Resurrection is a sense of direction.” How is it so for you? When you meditate on the phrase, where does it take you?
May you be blessed this season of Eastertide with a sense of direction. Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!
Some of you may remember the Korean greeting that I have introduced while back. Its literal meaning is, “Are you being well?” This is one Korean word you may want to remember. When you, the non-Korean speaking person, say this to any Korean, you will find big smile from their faces without exception.
I begin my letter with my favorite greeting with hope that you all are “being well.”
There is a Korean saying, “Time flies like an arrow.” I feel it more and more as each year passes by particularly in this COVID era, while we were eager to see this time passed, we are shockingly surprised that one year has already flew like an arrow. I hope that you know for a fact that God was there with us and will be with us all the time. You will be able to see and feel the presence of God if you open your mind, “in an unexpected moment, at a least expected place” as I
preached on January 24, 2021.
Yes, time flew and the season of Lent is right around the corner. Lent (Latin: Quadragesima, 'Fortieth') is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday which is February 17 this year and ends six weeks later, a day before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, and self-denial. In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as giving up certain luxuries in order to replicate the account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days; this is known as Lenten sacrifice.
I would like to suggest some ways we can observe the season of Lent in meaningful productive ways together. First one is to separate 15 minutes of your day for the daily devotional as we did last year instead of sacrificing something you enjoy. You are right that you do not need to give up on sweets, chocolates, or ice cream. The devotional we will read together is, titled, Message of Letting Go for Lent 2021: 3 minute devotion. You can pick it up after worship service or from the church office. You are welcome to deliver them to your neighboring church families when you pick yours up.
We will receive Lenten Prayer Calendar. This calendar contains names of our church family on each day during Lent. In your devotional time, please add a brief prayer for the designated families. Place the calendar where you will see it well for sure and wish their well-being throughout the day. When you do it, you will know for sure someone is doing it for you.
I am planning to preach a series of sermon during the Lent, titled, “The Five Languages of Apology” based on the book, written by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas, “The Five Languages of Apology: How to experience healing in all your relationship.” Each Sunday, we will reflect on each language of apology. We have been through a lot lately… personally, nationally, yes, internationally. This book concludes with a chapter of a profound question, “What would the world be like if we all learned to apologize effectively?” I am sure that God has something quite different to tell each of you. I would like to nudge you to open your ears to listen to the still small voice of God whispering into your ears as sincerely as you can. We will also devote our Wednesday evening online gathering, Comfort Food, for it. Together, we will echo on the theme of each language of apology of the week.
My daily devotional time is 7:00 AM each day. During the season of Lent, I commit to walk the journey of Lent beginning at 6:00 AM in the morning. Please join me in this journey of hope and renewal by listening to the sermons each week, participate in the Comfort Food table of Wednesday evening online, read the book yourself with open heart, and pray daily with the devotional.
Will you, please?
Your pastor, Jisun
May 4, 2020
Dear Audubon families and friends,
Sending you warm spring greetings from the study of my home. I hope and pray that you all are doing well and finding creative ways to take care of each other and, most importantly, yourself.
If you happened to miss the Sunday worship last Sunday, May 3rd, please go to YouTube or Facebook to listen to the sermon. I am telling you this because it is about “anger” which all of us may have been dealing with under the very unusual circumstance. Sermon begins about half way of the service. Yes, you can always watch past worship services online almost right after the worship service.
Audubon UMC is here standing firm to be the anchor of your spiritual journey while the whirlwind, named, Covid 19, does not seem to make its way out yet.
It is great to see many folks from afar tune in to be in worship with us online. It is heartwarming to hear that the Care Calls each week touch many people’s lonely souls. It is wonderful to witness that many people are working together to make the worship meaningful, burn the worship CDs, and even deliver them in person. It is encouraging to be part of the Audubon UMC leadership to continue to strive to be the church in the midst and to get ready for what comes next. Thank you very much!
One of the five Audubon Vision 2020 teams, Kindness Kommittee, has arranged this program, A Slice of Kindness, for the public workers of Audubon. On Thursday, May 7th, they will get a pizza lunch with drinks on us. It is our way of expressing our appreciation for their diligent hard work in this pandemic season.
Today I would like to invite you join me in prayers on May 7th, Thursday this week.
-For public workers in our area and all other people who tirelessly work on behalf of us these days.
-For all those people around the world who are struggling to get back on their feet after being hit by Covid 19 in many different ways.
-For all of us in this world that we may have to deal with the aftermath of this Corona virus trauma, its economic, health, and relational effect.
-For Audubon UMC to continue to be the courageous true church.
We learned clearly how closely this world is connected. One small virus from a faraway country could freeze the whole world like this. What you and I do and how you and I live could make an unimaginable impact to this very small world.
Our help comes from the Lord! (Psalm 121) Amen! Amen! Amen!