Dear people called Methodists! Sisters and brothers in the one family of God! Grace and peace to you from Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead!
When I was visiting Gothenburg, Sweden, last month, the officers of WMC fell into deep sorrow because of a terror at Westminster, London. I also watched through TV that a sad Iraqi boy with tears running down his thin face was walking hopelessly in his village of Mosul completely destroyed by bombs. In the midst of all the tragedies in our world we are once again invited by the Spirit of God to celebrate the victory of life over the law of sin and death. Indeed, I heard the news that the Sewol ferry which sank and killed 304 people, most of whom were high school students, was raised after three years in South Korea. April 16 this year is Easter Sunday as well as the third anniversary of the Sewol ferry disaster. Peace be with you, especially the victims and their families and loved ones here in Korea and all over the world!
Jesus was raised! Jesus was faithful and obedient to God the Father to his death. All betrayed God. There was nobody who was righteous before God. Only Jesus was the most faithful Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us. Because of Jesus’ filial faithfulness God raised him from the dead to redeem us the hopeless and helpless sinners from the present evil age. Not any works of human righteousness but only faith in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ the Son of God our Father in heaven can make us one in the global body of the family of God. “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29)
When I met with the host church leaders of Nordic countries in March, they suggested a theme for the next World Methodist Conference in 2021 in relation to the people of God ‘On the Move.’ Migrants and refugees from the Muslim countries are knocking on the doors of the Christian countries in Europe for survival and liberation from terror and war. However, not only in Europe but in the rest of the world such as in North America, Palestine, and Korea the wall of exclusion is built up higher and higher. Listen to the Word of God: “For Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” (Eph. 2:14)
Let me be straightforward with you for the sake of the glory of God. Before we witness the Gospel to the world we have to stay together in unity as our Lord prayed to God the Father, “they may all be one so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21) Allow me share with you our beloved and true servant of God, Rev. John Wesley’s exhortation: “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that we be in no wise divided among ourselves. Is thy heart right, as my heart is with thine? I ask no farther question. If it be, give me thy hand. For opinions, or terms, let us not destroy the work of God. Dost thou love and serve God?” (“The Character of a Methodist”) “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) Indeed, there is no longer Easterner or Westerner, there is no longer conservative or progressive, there is no longer straight or gay; for all of us are one in Christ Jesus! The crucified Christ “had put to death all human ‘identities’ in order to bring them through into a new existence corresponding to his own risen life.” (N. T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God) We are all the members of God’s family.
Jesus has risen! Happy Easter!
Your humble servant in Christ,
J. C. Park