Are You Lonely?

4 even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the Law, blameless.7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law but one that comes through faith in Christ,
the righteousness from God based on faith.
(Philippians 3:4-9)

First of all, I appreciate you all for allowing me to take a vacation. I had such a good time with my friends during while I was gone. We were happy to see each other again because we haven’t seen each other in person for such a long time because of the pandemic. Last year, one of my friends had planned to come over to my ordination service in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, but she couldn’t come because, at that moment, her husband had a minor heart attack. Since then, she has taken care of her husband preparing special dietary meals, and so far, her husband’s health has improved. We shared lots of stories about what we’ve been up to. Sometimes we teared up and sometimes laughed together. She would come with me to see what my ministerial fields looked like. So, we tested for COVID to make sure we were okay. As soon as we got a negative COVID test result, she booked a ticket. Finally, we came up to Wisconsin and spent two days together. She looked around the three churches I serve. Of course, she stayed in the parsonage with me. When I dropped her off at the airport in Minneapolis on Saturday evening, she said, “I knew you are happy ministering here in Wisconsin, because I could see it on your Facebook page. Nevertheless, I still worry about you because you are alone here and might be lonely. But I won’t worry about you anymore because I see you are happy with your ministry and the people you are surrounded by. You already look like a person from Wisconsin.” I said, “I feel I am a Wisconsinite.”

After I dropped her off, I thought about who I was. Of course, I am a KOREAN, FEMALE, and PASTOR who lives in Upper St. Croix’s area in Wisconsin. On the other hand, I am sure I am a foreigner, stranger, and marginal person in Wisconsin and the United States of America. Thinking of my appearance, someone may assume that I am not comfortable and happy to live in a rural area of Wisconsin. However, I am pleased because I am who I am, which means I love who I am. I love that I am a Korean and female, and especially a daughter of a farmer because I feel that here is my homeland. Also, I enjoy who I am, a foreigner, stranger, and marginal person in my current place because I have many things to learn and many people who welcome me and would be my friend.

If we accept that we are different and honor each other, we may live together at peace in a diverse world. We are all different even though we are siblings with the same parents because God made us all different, unique, and special. If we respect God’s work on us, we should respect one another’s differences and uniqueness.

The Apostle Paul had difficulty with persecution and rejection from Jewish, Gentiles and even early Chris-tians because he believed in Jesus Christ. He was a Jewish Pharisee (teacher of Law) and religious and political leader of the Israelites. He was a wealthy Roman citizen who could travel everywhere at that time. He had received a higher education and could speak several languages. He said that he had many things to boast about. However, he didn’t want to brag about them because all things were vain before God. He said, “I regard every-thing as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.” He could regard everything he had as vain because he knew Jesus Christ was the best value for his life. I love his attitude and faith in Jesus Christ. He was not afraid of anything, even persecution, because he believed that Jesus Christ was in him and he is in Jesus Christ. Above all, he was a person who was proud of being a Christian.

Again, I am a Christian and a family member of yours in Jesus Christ. No matter where I live and no matter what, I am with God, and you are with me. Wherever we are, we are connected through Jesus Christ’s love. Therefore, whether we are alone or together, we abide with God. Are you lonely? If you are, please connect with God through prayer, reading the Bible and devotional books, and joining Sunday service and fellowship in the love of Jesus Christ. Enjoy Spring! God made it for all of us!

Pastor Jenny