Pastor’s Corner – February 4, 2024

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place and there he prayed.” 

I often share my memory of my grandmother who use to wake me up at dawn to take me to morning prayer at the church. It’s part of the Korean church experience whether here in the US as immigrants or in Korea. Its tradition predates Christianity in Korea, as indigenous spiritual practice. The sanctuary would be dimly lit and the few who gathered were still waking up. We walk in and you can see individuals scattered here and there creating distance and private space. Some have already started praying, you can hear the murmuring and see lips moving, and others simply in quiet meditative state, with eyes closed. Then the pastor or someone who leads the prayer meeting would stand and open the scriptures and read, followed by reflection, then prayer requests would be suggested. We spent most of the time gathered in silence, soft spoken or loud prayers in private but holding space together. After about an hour, the sun is out and we find ourselves standing at the parking lot waiting for some to gather, to decide whether we should go to a nearby diner to eat breakfast! This morning ritual with my grandmother, dad and mom and sometimes my younger brothers became for me part of a lasting memory of church experience. 

In reflection, this discipline of prayer had a lasting impact and shaped my understanding of spirituality more than I realized. It’s not a perfect liturgical practice defined as a sacrament, nor does it have any deep theological underpinnings, nor is it some kind of church program up for review to be refined. It’s quite raw in form and simplicity. Perhaps I still have some unpacking to do, but to be sure, in times of uncertainty and challenging times, I was led to believe since childhood that I must return to that morning prayer, while it’s still dark, to pray and spend time with God before the world wakes up. I guess Jesus knew this and teaches us to do likewise. Amen. 

Pastor Dae