Last night I arrived in Tokyo, beginning a five-week “almost around the world” trip. After a week here and in Osaka, I will go to Korea, where Ellen will join me for a week at the YWAM Korea annual Staff Conference. Ellen will then return to Seattle and I will go to Sweden and Finland for a New Korea Servant Workshop and for a trans-Europe networking seminar for agencies working in North Korea. This year the seminar will be held in Helsinki, Finland. Then I will return to Korea to speak at a conference for migrant workers from many nations, sponsored by Onnuri Church. After a couple of days visiting friends in Kwangju, I will head back to Seattle.
Isn’t it wonderful that friends who are drawn together because of common participation in sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God reconnect with one another instantly after having been separated by many years! Pastor Joshua Kim and his wife, together with a young man, Lee Chang Mok, of his church met us at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Right away it was if we had never been separated, even thought it has been many years since we last met. God has used Pastor Joshua and his wife in wonderful ways, for many years, here in Japan, and we praise the Lord for him.
These days I am meditating once again on Paul’s letter to the Philippians, a letter marked by friendship in the Gospel. Paul began his letter by telling his friends that his first thought on remembering them is thanksgiving to God that they are “partners” (the Greek word stems from koinonia – usually translated as “responsible, caring, sharing” community) in the Gospel. The first thing Paul does for his friends as he remembers them with thanksgiving is to pray for them, and he prays with joy! And that is the first thing I am doing for you this morning. I’m sitting in a hotel overlooking the beautiful city of Tokyo, thousands of miles away from most of you, but resting in the arms of the same God who loves us without condition. Truly, as von Balthasar says, “love alone is credible!”
This morning’s meditation was on Philippians 1:8 (I meditate on only one verse a day. I can think, ponder, and reflect on more verses a day, but I can meditate on one verse only. One verse of Scripture could fill our minds and hearts for months, could it not?) – For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus! Not only His agape love, but His love that holds us, all together wherever we are, with great care and lovingkindness. We are dear to Jesus, and we are dear to one another in Him.
May the Lord bless you today and keep you – set His hedge around you to protect you – and be gracious to you. May He lift up His Face upon you and give you peace. Let’s rejoice in our friendship.