Pastor’s Letter (March 27, 2020)

Beloved families of Lodi UMC,

I miss you. I really do deeply. This pandemic has made me awaken to many things that I’ve taken for granted, such as freedom to go where I want to go, blessings from personal encounters, and the gift of our church community. Truly, each one of you – and this precious gift of the church family – become more meaningful than ever.

I miss you. I appreciate you being the church with me. Yes, we are all in this together. In fact, we have been in our life-together even before the outbreak of this pandemic. This all leads me to think of a Christian classic, written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together. The German pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident believed that communal life, the physical presence of other Christians is a gift of grace, that it is the “extraordinary, roses and lilies” of the Christian life. Therefore, you deserve this nickname “flower.” Being inspired from the poem Flower by the Korean poet Kim Chun-Soo, I’d like to read this to you: “when I spoke your name, you came to me and became a flower.”

I miss you, but it shouldn’t leave me in the wishes of the unforeseeable end of staying-at-home. I realize that this is time to center down. When we are able to become still and reach out to the depth of our heart, the truth comes to glow in us that we are connected in ways that are incomprehensible and beautiful. Bonhoeffer says, “One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.”

Truly, our lives are in one another’s hands. We are all in “this” together. Non-believers may say the same phrase, but we know that we are all together in “this blessed community” and in “this God’s hand, whose name is love and who is the giver of life.”

Christ’s peace be with you,
Pastor Peace