• Thursday, Sept 30: Young Adults Fellowship meeting at Jonathan Weng’s home (7:30 PM).
• Friday, Oct 1: Everglow Youth Fellowship – Job: Man of Perseverance (7:30 PM Youth Room 160).
• Saturday, Oct 2: Alviso Community Walk (9 AM – 11:30 AM) . Meet at front of Korean Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
• Sunday, Oct 3:
– Youth Sunday School (10 AM Youth Room 160): Philippians study – English Worship (11 AM Second Floor) “The Mustard Seed Conspiracy” (Luke 17:5-10)
– Agape Family Group (4 PM Fellowship Hall) will study Chapter 2 of The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg.
Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another… Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. – 1 John 4:11. 20 21 (NRSV)
Sept. 30, 2010
Dear Canaan EMers,
On the way home from the English Leadership Team meeting I listened to the SF Giants post-game show. The magic number for our hometown team to clinch the National League Western Division pennant is now down to three!
And I had tickets to the Saturday game against the Padres. But I gave them up to a Padres’ fan! It that turns out to be the division clinching game, I’ll feel really sad about giving up the tickets.
But I had to relinquish the tickets. My 84-year old dad from Sacramento is going to China for a preaching tour that evening and I have to drop him off at the airport that evening. Between sacrificing these game tickets and taking my dad to the airport lies something called filial piety. I am doing my duty as a filial son. But, it’s not all about obligation. I am also willing to sacrifice the Giants out of love for my dad. It’s not easy to see where duty ends and love begins – but that blurry line is what makes our Confucian cultural values both a blessing and a frustration.
Flashback to tonight’s English Leadership Team meeting. I like to begin every meeting with a devotional or reflection question. Tonight I asked our team how they expressed brotherly and sisterly love at Canaan or how they’ve seen it expressed. No surprise. Acts of sacrifice and service were highlighted, but not emotionally expressive gestures. Even we American-born or American-raised East Asians live under Confucius’ shadow!
But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Love cannot be based on feelings alone. Duty to God and obligation to family buttress a love that is responsive, responsible, and mature. However, if our service to Christ and Canaan is motivated by duty alone, or, if we don’t openly admit that we act out of love, we are on a fast track to burn out.
I suspect that many Americanized Asians were burned out of immigrant churches because they could not love the immigrant culture. Indeed, many immigrant Asian church cultures do not express love beyond duty and obligation. Thus, many Asian Christians served out of obligation and duty, but did not know how to serve out of love. No surprise there.
In any event, I challenge you to admit that you love your brothers and sisters. You serve God and the church because you love your brothers and sisters. Come on, admit it!
Okay, does that feel better? Good. From now on, each time you feel annoyed or bored by a bro/sis, remind yourself that you have Christ’s love for that person. Every time you feel like you’re coming to church and serving because of obligation, remind yourself that you love as Christ loves his Church.
Don’t be afraid. Say it. Love!