Acts 7: 51-60
We know about Stephen—the first deacon of the church and first martyr--but let me give you some other examples of people who have lived and died in our own century or at least in our own time or for what they believed.
Rev. Yang-Won Son was killed during the Korean war in the 1950s. Because he adopted the murderer of his own two sons who were martyred by a mob of rebels, people called Rev. Son the “atomic bomb of love.” After his two sons died, he wrote this prayer named “Nine Thanks to the Lord”—1. I thank God for producing sons of martyrdom from the blood for a sinner like me;
2. I thank God for choosing me, among so many believers, to have the privilege of caring for these beautiful treasures; 3. I thank God for letting me offer up my eldest and my second sons, the most beloved of my three boys and three girls; 4. They say it is precious to have a son who is martyred, still more, I thank God that my two sons were martyred together; 5. They say it is blessing enough to believe in Jesus and die a peaceful death, but I thank God for letting my sons be shot to death while carrying out the work of evangelism; 6. My eldest son was preparing to study abroad in the US, but I thank God because my heart is relieved to know that he went to heaven, a better place than America; 7. I thank God for giving me a loving heart with which I have led the enemy to repentance and taken him as my son; 8. I am thankful because I believe that the martyrdom of my two sons will bear countless fruits of heaven; 9. I thank God for allowing me to see God’s love even in adversity, and for granting me faith to overcome such adversity.
Another reason people named Rev. Son as the “atomic bomb of love” is because he dedicated himself so much to serve and care for the Lepers in Korea.
You know what? Rev. Son’s grandson, whose name is Rev. KyungSun Ahn, is an ordained pastor and missionary whom I personally have known since I was teenager. Now, Rev. Ahn has established a non-profit organization for the Lepers in the Republic of Burundi, a country in East Africa.
To be honest, I still fear this prayer; because I might not have courage to forgive the murderer of my loved ones. Not everyone is called to be a martyr. Some of us might try pretty hard to make sure we are not, but at least I invite us to imagine and think of what it means to be for us as Easter people.
What I learned and found out through the stories of Stephen in today’s passage and, Rev. Son over and over again, is that the harder the wind blew, the further the seeds spread. Isn’t it amazing that the seed blown and sown by Stephen in the first century, came to Korea in the twentieth century? And that now seed keeps spreading to sow in East Africa.
Now, it is our turn. The seeds blown and sown for us. Let’s keep spreading and sowing seeds of Christ’s love.