The shock I received while reading C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory address still resonates deeply within me today. These days, if I were to ask twenty separate virtuous people what true virtue was, nineteen of them would say selflessness, whereas great Christian thinkers from the past would answer by saying love. Based upon that, it can be analyzed that there had been a shift from an aggressive term to a passive one. It is not simply a shift in semantics, but an issuing of a challenge to the congregants in the pews for a shift in value perception.
If I were to ask ten congregants today what true virtue within the church is, undoubtedly eight or nine of them would say living peacefully. At the risk of getting pierced by one of the many diligent ‘hedgehogs’ that may inadvertently cause pain, there are some that may even say that it is better to stay quiet in the church. However, this train of thought stems from a misunderstanding of what it truly means to ‘struggle against flesh and blood.’ Our fight is actually against the ‘prince of the power of the air.’ If I were to ask those that lived in the golden age of the Gospel message what true virtue was, the majority would say evangelizing. The motto of ‘Pray when together, evangelize when dispersed’ is still freshly beating against my eardrum, but I cannot help but feel that a sense of complacency exists as these aggressive terminologies get replaced by passive ones.
In that regard, I feel ‘missions’ is an aggressive term that whips us out of our complacency and back into shape. Our church’s STSM (Short term summer missions) can become that aggressive pulse of faith we need. The teams that have continued to break records every year show that the growth of the church is equal to the expansion of the missions field. So that the church does not become bloated, we must never cease in continuing to advance into the missions field to become a bright light on a mountaintop, as opposed to a light concealed within.
I believe that an overwhelming amount of grace will be poured out at Bethel as we honor the great commission again this year. Whether you just came back or are planning to depart, I am certain that God is overjoyed at the loyalty of all the participants. With the continued support in prayer by our congregants, I earnestly wish that our church will not be a church relishing in passive stability, but a church that displays an aggressive love of witnessing with an aggressive heart to achieve until the Lord returns again.
Rev. Bryan Kim is the lead pastor of Bethel Korean Church, located in Irvine, CA.