Green and Red
I guess these words are associated with traffic lights which we normally see. But I found out that in Ben’s classroom these colors are associated with good and bad behavior. Apparently if you do well in class you get a green card, or if you have good behavior, you get a green card. I vaguely remember this when Norah went to that same pre-k school. Now that I think about it, Norah always got a ton of these green cards in her bag. To be honest I had no idea what the heck all these green cards were doing in Norah’s bag a few years ago. I never asked, and I never really cared all that much.
But now I know what those little green cards were about! And I found out through Ben!
One day after school, Ben and I are in the car chatting about his day and I couldn’t help notice that He always seems to hug one girl every day when he leaves. So I asked about who he keeps hugging. He told me her name was Natalie and that he loves her. Oh boy… So I asked more about his “relationship” and he told me that Natalie is really nice and really fun. Then he says that she always gets “green” cards. So I asked, what’s that all about? And he told me that if you are a good kid, listen to the teacher, and do what you are supposed to do then you get green cards. And then he tells me that if you are bad then you get a red card. Ben proceeded to tell me that Natalie always gets green cards. So I said, “Ah, like you get green cards too!” I didn’t expect the answer from Ben, or lack of answer. It was total silence. Then I asked him if he gets red cards, and he answered, “Yes.” Hmm… I said, “But you also get green cards too, right?” And He answered, “Sometimes.”
I just started to laugh a little. It doesn’t seem like he thinks too much when he gets green cards or red cards. Which is fine. I don’t think he needs to feel bad about anything, or really care. But I am happy that He likes a “good” girl and that the “good” girl seems to like him. I can’t imagine that Ben would get so many red cards, but I am also not too surprised that he might get a red card occasionally.
Maybe, the teacher needs to figure out a different system other than green and red cards, because it doesn’t seem to bother Ben what-so-ever! I dunno.
Also, I don’t think Ben knows what “love” means. However, I think he knows he likes this girl a lot. She gives him pretty pictures and he goes home motivated, grabbing crayons and a piece of paper, drawing a bunch of hearts on it. And wakes up, excited to give Natalie this drawing, first thing in the morning, totally ignoring the teachers and other kids.
Don’t think I need to tell him about what it means to “love” someone but I do want to tell him that I am glad he likes someone so much and that it is important to him. I also want him to know to be a gentleman. I don’t think it’s too early for that. Things so as having good manners, open doors for people, say “thank you’s,” and ask for things politely, never bully someone, and don’t be bullied around. Stand up for yourself and stand up for others who may feel powerless.
And I’d like to tell him to reduce as much as possible in getting red cards. That be nice.
Be The Egg Salad Sandwich
That Sheetz Egg Salad Sandwich has been everywhere man! We bought it like a couple weeks ago and it has been in and out of our refrigerator every day. It still looks good, nothing wrong with it, but it has been in and out of our fridge for a very long time.
Eunkyung bought this thing a while back like a couple of weeks ago after finishing her day shift and it wasn’t eaten that night, so we threw it in the fridge. Before she began work, day or night shift, she’d take it with her in hopes that she could eat it during her breaks, but never had the chance. Hence, uneaten egg salad sandwich comes back home, enters the fridge, day in, day out. I have taken turns with this sandwich, by taking it with me when I had visitations or going out fishing, but still either I forgot about it, or just didn’t get the chance to eat, and hence back in the fridge.
This sandwich has been everywhere, traveling with us for work or play. But seems to always find its way back to the refrigerator. This sandwich not only has seen everything in Central PA, but also within the refrigerator it has seen different items leave, and never come back. And has seen new items enter. The sandwich has been a foundation for the refrigerator. It always comes back, and it will always exist in the refrigerator. It’s like you will always have ketchup, pickles, milk, and eggs in the refrigerator. Well now, we will always have Sheetz egg salad sandwich.
Now, let's get theological. I want us to be the Sheetz egg salad sandwich. Go place, travel, see people, experience life; the life that God has made for us! But remember, the refrigerator is like the church or maybe it’s like God. We always have to come back to God. If the refrigerator is like the church, just remember, items/people, will come and go, but you are the egg salad sandwich, a pillar or the church/refrigerator, sitting next to other pillars like ketchup and pickles.
You may leave the refrigerator, just as we leave church, after all, at the end of worship at the Benediction, we are sent out of the church to enter the world, to bring the message of hope, forgiveness, love, and peace. But once again, like the egg salad sandwich, we are called to come back to God, taking in all that we have experienced in our week, find rest, be restored, just so we can be sent out again.
I don’t know where this Sheetz egg salad sandwich is going to go tomorrow, or what it will do, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see if it leaves and comes back as it always does. God bless all who are the egg salad sandwiches of the Christian faith!
Excited About Communion
Communion. What does that mean to you? When you hear this word read or spoken, how does the word “communion” make you feel? What is communion like in your church? Now every Christian denomination will have its different interpretation of what communion is, but the basic concept is that the bread and wine (or juice) is taken in fellowship with the Triune God and Its believers. Theology can differ from denominations, but this is what it basically is for all Christians.
I am not arguing with tradition has interpreted communion philosophy correctly, but I am curious about how communion makes us all feel. When it is time to take in this sacrament (PCUSA tradition), what are we thinking and feeling?
Do you sometimes feel that communion is mundane or just some pattern of worship? Do you feel happy, sad, solemn, or exhausted when you have communion? Or do you feel excited?
Communion can be any emotion that we feel. There are moments in my pastoral career that I felt that communion has hit me with grief and sadness, and at other times felt peace and comfort, and other times it felt exhausted as if it was just another thing that I must do for work. But I would hate to admit that I rarely feel excited about communion. It’s not something that I would scream, “HOORAY” about. But then maybe I should. Shouldn’t we be excited about communion?
I know my son; Ben is excited about communion. He absolutely loves it. And at first, I thought it was so funny how excited he was about communion. Then it made me think why is he so excited? When I asked, he simply responded, “I don’t know,” with a big grin on his face going ear to ear. Basically, all Ben knows is that he is excited. Maybe he likes the communion bread and juice, or maybe he likes the ceremony of preparing the elements, setting the table, and inviting everyone to gather together. But he is always excited about communion. Then I wondered, why am I not sharing in his enthusiasm?
I mean I should be excited. We all should be excited! Think about it. We do communion about 4 to 5 times in a year, so it’s not too common in our church. That day a bunch of people gather together. On that day, regardless of good deeds, economic status, race, sexuality, political beliefs, popularity, or social status, everyone gathers together to be at one table provided by God to be part of His family. That is GOOD NEWS! Think about how exciting it is to remember your baptism, what it means. That is that you who are at the table, are redeemed, saved, forgiven, and loved! That is GOOD NEWS! Contemplate, that on communion day, we gather, eat, and drink, and await the day that Jesus will come back! That is GOOD NEWS! Communion is exciting! We should be smiling ear to ear!
So, the last couple of Sunday’s I have ad-libbed the sermons. It’s not that I didn’t prepare for them, but it was that when I re-read the bible passages during worship service, I felt that I didn’t want to use the prepared sermon. Which is kind of a bummer.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I did the right thing to suddenly change the message I had intended as part of all the preparations. But what is a harsh reality is that all that time that I had put in the prior week to research, study, and write the sermon feels like it has gone to waste. If you don’t know already, I probably average about 20 hours average in preparing a sermon and worship. So, when I do not use what I have prepared so hard at, I feel like I wasted 20 hours. What can I do about that?
Things happen in a quick flash. During the service and when I read the scripture passage, I realized something else. So, I needed to change my plan and go with an unprepared plan. Now, I am not very comfortable with public speaking, that is probably the reason why you may see me sweat a ton when I am at the pulpit at church! That is the reason why I write down everything, word for word. Also, by writing things word for word for the worship service, I can keep track on time, practicing the entirety of worship service in my home and make sure that everything is within a certain time limit in worship.
When I don’t use my prepared liturgy, I run the risk in saying the wrong thing, maybe an unintended thing! Or possibly I may ramble, and worship would be much longer than expected! It’s never a good idea to “wing it.” But I also must realize that plans change, and sometimes plans change at the spur of the moment.
But maybe that’s ok! Maybe I didn’t waste 20 hours of my week. Maybe I don’t always have to depend on my word for word transcript for worship. Sometimes, I can’t prevent the events of change or prevent when my heart decides to go in a different direction than what my brain had planned.
I guess this can happen a lot in life. We make carefully thought-out plans, only to realize the last minute, or day of, that those well-thought-out plans must change. Instead of feeling stressed out, or feel incompetent, or pitiful, find confidence in God. Maybe your heart changed, or an occurrence has happened to force change because God needs this to happen. And that God is using you as His agent to do something better that what was originally intended.
Also, we should never think that we wasted our time when a time consuming well thought out plan that we prepared will never be used. I do believe that the time we spent on planning helps us prepare for anything that happens that we were not prepared for. Roll with the punches, dig down deep, and embrace the moment. That is what God is giving you… the moment.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).