December 2013:

We have the best room for you

May the grace, peace and joy or our Lord be with you.

It is already December, the last month of this year. Time really flies like a rocket (a rocket is faster than arrow). I cannot say thanks enough to God and to all of you when I reflect upon my ministry this year. God has been really good all the time. Without God's help and guidance, my ministry would not have been possible. All of your prayers and support have been a source of encouragement and joy for me in my ministry. Thank you very much.

The Pilgrimage for Spiritual Renewal to Korea (see story, pg. 6) went very well. Thirty-nine clergy from the Virginia Conference joined this journey and we had a great time. The truly radical hospitality of our hosting church (Bupyeong Methodist Church) was unbelievable, and the churches we visited challenged and inspired us.

The daily schedule – which began with an early-morning prayer service at 5 a.m. each day – was tough and challenging, but all of us faithfully participated in this daily prayer service and all other programs. We learned the importance of mission and the lesson that vital ministry is built on strong prayer.

I am very glad to hear that the pastors who attended this pilgrimage are trying to implement what they learned and experienced on this journey. They try to pay more attention to their spiritual disciplines and to strengthening the spiritual foundation of their church's mission and ministries.

Before we left Korea we had a brief evaluation meeting. All of the pilgrims agreed that this journey had been very meaningful and had made a positive impact on their ministry. They also highly recommended having this pilgrimage every year. I will work with the hosting church and develop future pilgrimages as one of clergy leadership’s development plans. This program will be effective in spreading the culture of prayer to our churches.

On the first Sunday of December (Dec. 1) the Advent season begins. During this season we remember and rejoice in the promise of Christ's coming, both in the flesh at Bethlehem and in glory at the end of history. We reaffirm that Jesus Christ who came to us about 2,000 years ago is coming now through the Holy Spirit and will come again for the consummation of history.

But this month is the busiest month of the year, and we tend not to pay serious attention to the true meaning of Christmas. We are too busy to pray and to meditate on the coming of Christ. We have too many things to do in this month. The busy situation of Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, which had no room for Jesus, will be the situation of our heart today.  Are we not saying: “We too have no room for You?”

I would like to share a prayer written by Michel Quoist, titled "Lord, I Have Time." This part of his prayer helps us to reflect on our life today, especially during this month of December:

Good-bye, Sir, excuse me, I haven't time.
I will come back, I can't wait, I haven't time.
I must end this letter — I haven't time.
I'd love to help you, but I haven't time.
I can't accept, having no time.
I can't think, I can't read, I'm swamped, I haven't time.
I'd like to pray, but I haven't time...
And so all men (people) run after time, Lord.
They pass through life running — hurried, jostled, overburdened,
frantic, and they never get there. They haven't time.
In spite of all their efforts they're still short of time,
Of a great deal of time.
Lord, you must have made a mistake in your calculations.
There is a big mistake somewhere.
The hours are too short,
The days are too short,
Our lives are too short...

I do not think our God has made a mistake. We are too busy to count our days and too busy to pray. In the last month of this year let us remember the true meaning of Christmas. Let us take a deep breath and have a time with our Lord. We need to say to the Lord, “Yes, Lord. We have a room, our best room for You.” Our heart and mind should be dedicated again as a manger where Jesus Christ is laid.

Have a joyful and meaningful Advent and Christmas season.

In our Lord,
Young Jin Cho



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