March 27, 2018

By Rev. Dr. Se Hee Han, Hawaii District Superintendent

John 12:20-36

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified…

It was a while ago that I had the chance to visit New York City with my beloved mother. We spent most of our time visiting the city’s attraction points including the churches in the city. I can never forget the astonishing feeling that I felt when I walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. I stood on the steps of the Cathedral and looked across Fifth Avenue to Rockefeller Center to that massive statue of Atlas. It looked like a man who was bent over with the world on his shoulders. I went inside the Cathedral and walked up to the altar, over which hung a massive crucifix – a figure of the suffering Jesus on the Cross. While standing there at the altar, I knew if I turned around, I could almost see the Atlas across the street. I often think of that experience at St. Patrick’s Cathedral when I struggle with the seeming contradiction between human suffering and divine goodness. For I believe those two symbols represent our contemporary world. How true it is that we bear the burden of human tragedy on our backs and seek its explanation. Because of the sorrows of this world, we often forget about welcoming the Cross where Christ redeemed our sin. No one will argue that times of testing will come. We all have learned that life is difficult. It is difficult even when it is good – perhaps good because it is difficult. Critical events of life can lead us to God, but just the opposite can occur, for such events can also stand like a massive wall that separates us from God. However, God is calling us to follow him in the midst of our contradiction. Jesus said, “If anyone serves Me, let them follow Me: and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor them. (John 12:26)” There is a cost to following Christ, but I believe that the gain is worth the pain. He offers life and peace and love to anyone who would come to Him because He is the Lord of all.

Prayer: We pray to you as the Lord of life and ask that you renew in us the commitment to follow you as the children of light. Amen.