Pastor’s Corner – July 30, 2023

When I flew in last night to LAX the first thing I had in mind was to eat sushi at Sushi Gen, a local staple in Little Tokyo in downtown LA. First of all, I was hungry with two hours’ time difference from Dallas, way past my dinner time. And I was looking forward to seeing a friend at a place where I have many memories. Sushi Gen is a local joint where I shared meals with my sons, friends and family members over the years when I lived in LA. It’s not a high-end fancy restaurant nor an expensive joint but very affordable, with high quality food. They don’t take reservations. It’s first come, first served. And there is always a line!

When I think about church, I think about places like local restaurants where I enjoy eating and places where memories are made. Depending on what it serves, it also brings particular kinds of people. If you don’t like raw fish, a sushi joint is not a place for you unless you order a California roll or several orders of Kyoza for dinner! Sometimes the menu can be confusing or unfamiliar and needs to be more customer friendly, with pictures. And of course, hospitality and service are very important in making sure that all who dine feel at home.

How are we creating space to be more hospitable, accepting, accessible and becoming a local staple by contributing in meaningful ways that inspire and transform our community? What kind of food do we serve that satisfies a hunger for peace and justice in our world? What kind of people do we draw who are seeking meaningful lives that speak to them? How inclusive are we or do we discriminate against those who can’t eat the same kind of food we enjoy? What is our mission that defines us? What kind of restaurant are we as a church? While I’m away this Sunday I hope this will be one of the topics of your conversation after the church service. Meanwhile, I’ll be stopping by places I have enjoyed eating at over the years and I’ll report back to you what kind of restaurant we are. Of course, all metaphors have some limits if we push them too far, but there is a lesson we can learn from the places we eat and the memories we create. Amen.

Pastor Dae