1 I would like to share a relatively short message today. And then we will be using the paper and the pencil. I like sushi. I know some of you don’t like raw fish. But I like sushi. One of the good things about living in MA was that there were good sushi places. There was a sushi place around where I lived in MA. It was very affordable place. On my birthday, Myungso and I went to the sushi place. On Myungso’s birthday, we went to that place. On our anniversary, we went to the same place. It was 18 dollars. I think It is reasonable for sushi. Most importantly, it was all you can eat! I know there are some sushi places around here. But I assume they must be expensive. Last year around this time, I moved to Vermont. As they were welcomed many decades ago, Sue and John DeVos welcomed me on my very first day in Vermont. But after the moving day, there was something that made me so sad. I was really sad because I really wanted to go to the sushi place before I moved. But I couldn’t. It was closed because of the pandemic. After my moving, the first time that I had was ten days of quarantine. During the first two days, we finished unpacking. Every stuff found its place in two days. During the rest of eight days, we ate up all we had in the refrigerator. And we became so bored. We were bored to death. Ted Marcy came to the parsonage to bring me some stuff. I wanted to see him.I wanted to see a living person in Vermont. But he was gone like the wind. When no one was there, we went to the pavilion. I saw the beautiful sunset. And I saw the empty church building. As nothing was going on here, everything was surreal. After the ten days of quarantine, we went to some places around here. Most restaurants were closed. The church street in Burlington was empty like our church. So, it was not the best time to move. And the best thing that I could do during the last year and a half was to obey the time.
2 Today’s scripture says to us that there is a time for everything. Let me read this scripture one more time for you: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, based on what we heard, I think we can describe the last year and a half in this way. It was a time to stay home. It was a time to close the church. It was a time to be with our family. It was a time to zoom. Now, the time is changing. It is a time to leave home. It is a time to open the church. It is a time to work. And it is a time to be together. But, I would like to share my concern. This scripture says that there is a time to tear down and a time to build. What if we are not ready to building things up after we tear down, what should we do? What if we are not ready to building things up after we tear down, what should we do? It says that there is a time to mourn and a time to dance. Can you dance after you mourn? Many people worked at home for many months. Many people were able to take advantage of that time to be with their families. Now restrictions are lifted, and they are supposed to come back to the office. Would they feel up to do that? And here is my main concern. We have learned that more than 600,000 people have been lost to the virus during the last year and a half. Now all the restrictions are being lifted, and we want to go back to normal. But, there are so many people who have lost their family members. For them, there is no normal to go back to. But time tells them. It is time to move on. Time tells them that you have to move on; life goes on! Sometimes, time is the only medicine for our hearts. There are wounds that only time can heal. And there are things that only time can tell. But, reading this scripture, I thought to myself that time is so heartless. Time is so apathetic. No matter how we are, it says life goes on. No matter how we are, it says you must carry on.
3 The second scripture that we read together is about a group of people who were not able to move on. They were eleven of them. They were the disciples of Jesus. They used to be thirteen of them. One of them, Jesus, died on the cross. They saw Jesus was resurrected. But they missed Jesus so much. One of them finished one’s life by oneself. They ate together, drank together, and slept together at least for three years. So, they must be having a hard time after they sent away the two persons. But, they had to move on. Time said you have to move on. Life goes on! There should be a crowd that followed Jesus. The disciples had to continue to serve them. They knew the gospel that Jesus preached. They knew that they had to continue to spread the gospel. There should be sick people and the poor. As Jesus did for them, they had to continue to serve them. Yes, it was time to move on. Their life must go on. But they couldn’t. It was like dancing after mourning. So, they brought the net and the boat that they used to use in the past. And they started fishing. You may remember what happens afterward. Jesus showed up before them. Jesus knew the disciples were working at night. So, waiting for their work to be done, he prepared a breakfast for them. He prepared fire and baked fishes on it. I like this scripture. It feels like Jesus wants to prepare a breakfast for me. And I imagine what conversation Jesus had with his disciples. Based on today’s theme, I reimagine this conversation. What would Jesus say? Would Jesus say that you have to move on; life goes on! I don’t think do. I believe Jesus consoled them. I think Jesus comforted them.
4 Next week, we will be celebrating a special Sunday. We decided to call it the Grand Reopening. But, before we move on, there is something that we want to do together. There is an English expression that I like. It is “take stock of”. I would like to have time to take stock of the last year and a half. I brought three simple questions for us. If you have any questions that may help us to take stock of the last year, please share with us.
Lord, Jesus, when time urged the disciples to move on, you were with them and consoled them. You prepared a meal for them, and you asked Peter, “do you love me?” helping him take stock of the three years. Today, we remember those who do not have normal to go back to. And today, we come to hope to be a tool of your consolation for others. Help us widen our sight.
Help us deepen our love, so that we may step into a different future than the past. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.