By Kyu Hahn
For those of you that didn’t know, I just came back from a whole month of fabulous vacation in South Korea. Visiting my home country in eight long years, and for the first time with my mom ever since we immigrated to the States sixteen years ago, I made the most out of it.
Out of 28 days we were there, I rested one day (oh, how I still regret this!). I was on fire; more precisely, I was the fire. Rumor has it that I snored like a beast every night for 28 consecutive days. Though my body inevitably fatigued down, my soul unceasingly rejoiced at the face of good gifts that God had prepared for us.
Sixteen years of immigrant life, my friends, were long enough to make me believe that my story is marked with unshared loneliness. Yet, my trip to Korea this summer offered two beautiful gifts that made me believe otherwise.
Sitting around a table at a coffee shop with families and relatives, sharing life and laughing together—which can be an ordinary experience for many of you (so don’t take it for granted!)—mysteriously healed something within me. And it’s because they knew me and loved me at a strangely intimate and unconditional ways; around them and with them, I felt like I was whole. That was the first gift: re-recognition of my origin. Surely, it was a great feeling to know that I’m rooted somewhere. Yet, it certainly couldn’t be the first time I felt this.
Interestingly, only upon opening the first gift did I realize that there also is a second gift—a gift of beautiful community that I may have been taking for granted.
Many of you, just this past Sunday, asked me as you so warmly welcomed me back, “how was your trip? Did you have fun?” My answer, friends, is that I deeply missed you; I longed to worship with you; I craved taking communion together. You, Granite Springs, were the reason I yearned to be back. It was during this time of separation that I came to realize more deeply than ever, that you are my home.
Granite Springs, when I first came to you three years ago, I was a Korean-American immigrant who carried around many wounds. In fact, you reminded me of my greatest fear—being different and unfit. However, you embraced me as who I am. You helped me to grow as a person and thrive as a follower of Christ. To me, your endless encouragements, unconditional love and hospitality are the living signs of God’s grace, and moreover a clear evidence that what we gather to do every Sunday are undoubtedly shaping us into the likeness of God our Father.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, take heart and continue to love and serve the Lord for he is unchangingly good and is bringing his kingdom through you. What you say and do today in honor of God testifies to the root of grace on which you stand. So do not hesitate to love. Receive it with gratitude and share it with joy. Praise be to our God!
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9