August 7, 2022

Likewise, we often feel like we live in the world of Babylon. We, perhaps, are on our own trip to depart our own Babylon and to go back to our true identity as people of God. The bad news for us is that our trip to be and act like people of God is not like boarding on a luxurious cruise. Rather, we sometimes feel like we stay in the rat race. So, we are often tired, exhausted, and too overwhelmed to run another rat step in the rat race.

Pastor KJ Kim

Daniel 1: 3-21

In today’s passage, the story of Daniel is about Jews trying to maintain their faith identity—being faithful--in a complicated social environment where they had to deal with real worldly power. The point I’d like to draw our attention to in this story is how we remain being faithful in a complicated world and how we keep our faith without compromise.

In today’s passage, the story of Daniel is about Jews trying to maintain their faith identity—being faithful--in a complicated social environment where they had to deal with real worldly power. The point I’d like to draw our attention to in this story is how we remain being faithful in a complicated world and how we keep our faith without compromise.

Now I want us to think about three aspects of faith that will be very different when the church keeps its identity clear by seeking to have “only vegetables and water” instead of consuming the junk food provided by the secular empire which seems always toxic and tempting.

Imagine that FCC sets down in a culture of fear and anxiety. The horrific breaking news, the daily headlines, and all kinds of problems we have to wrestle with might lead us to have fear and anxiety of the uncertainty of tomorrow.

Imagine that FCC always provides “the water and vegetable of the good news” with a different identity, a community that eats none of the junk food of anxiety. The only reason that we, as a Church, act free of such anxiety and fear is that we know and trust that it is God who makes all things new.

Imagine that FCC sets down in a culture of greed and selfishness. In that environment of greed and accumulation, I wonder if FCC always provides “water and vegetables,” a community with a different identity that eats none of the junk food of ambitious greed. The reason we, as a church, act free of such ambitious accumulation is that we trust that God is a generous giver, a giver who keeps on giving, who supplies every need and fills every creature, whose mercy is wider than the ocean and whose generosity is boundless.

Lastly, imagine that FCC sets down in a culture of vengeance, a culture filled with hate, judgement, and resentment. I wonder if FCC can offer a place and space that is free of hate, judgement, and resentment; the place where all people come because they receive a new gift of life and another chance for a new beginning; the place where we turn again to be renewed by the goodness and forgiveness of God. The reason we, as a church, should choose forgiveness is because God is the one who forgives endlessly, seventy times seven.

Within a success-driven world, and within a culture of fear and anxiety, greed and selfishness, and vengeance, we all are called to be faithful, not to be successful, and to bear freedom, generosity, and forgiveness. These gifts are the deepest marks of the church from God, and are something that the world cannot give, but the world still needs over, and over, again.

Let us keep imagining that FCC is a place where all people grow in freedom from anxiety and fear, grow in endless generosity against ambitious greed and selfishness, and grow in deep forgiveness against hateful vengeance.

Thanks be to God.