From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

One of the American presidents that I most admire is Jimmy Carter (39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.) He was best known not for what he did during His one term as President, but what he did after his presidency. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, “for work to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” He is also very devoted to his Christian faith and is an inspiration to many brothers and sisters in his home church where he has taught Sunday school for years. He had gone to the pinnacle of political power in the world, but after his political career, he devoted all his energy to humanitarian and evangelistic endeavour. To me he is an example of one who knew and exercised much political power, but also one who moved on to live out and practice a different power, spiritual power, to help so many people find life and life abundant around the world.

Over the past few months, wars such as that of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia have displaced millions of people, and also political turmoil and civil unrests such as that in Hong Kong and Burma have resulted in creating many waves of reluctant “immigrants” or refugee. Behind all these conflicts often lie the hunger and greed of nations and their politicians for power and wealth, as they try to build and expand their own earthy kingdoms. Here in Canada with the latest visit of the Pope of a six-day ‘pilgrimage of penance’ we are reminded again of the serious mistreatment of First Nations children in the residential schools in the past and the trauma of the survivors till now. As Christians we cannot turn a blind eye to all the atrocities and injustice around us. While we have responded a little to aiding the refugees in the neighbouring countries of Ukraine such as Poland, reach out to some people who have been forced to abandon their homes in Hong Kong and have come to Canada, and for a decade have tried to reach out to some first nation youths in Hazelton, we must redouble our effort because the need is still so great. We must do what we can to help all these people who have suffered so much to find their new home and new life. As Christians who have been blessed by God in so many different ways and we have the responsibilities to reach out to so many who are disadvantaged and so much less fortunate than us.  However, I must admit that I find myself helpless, overwhelmed and even angry at the enormous devastation caused by the powers of this world. What then can we do?

In reflecting on the situation we are in, I am reminded of the words of Jesus who said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”- John 18:36.  In our next issue we shall go deeper into this verse and the concept of “My Kingdom is not of this world”, but for now, let me outline the most obvious message. First of all, Jesus is not saying His kingdom is not concerned with the world and all its needs that somehow it is other-worldly. No, what Jesus is saying is, unlike the world around us, which is often power-driven and filled with violent politics, His kingdom is one of peace and justice, full of grace and mercy (that is why Jesus’ disciples were not encouraged to use violence to fight back). What we have to offer in the Church above all, is the gospel of the kingdom of God, a kingdom of love, peace and justice, one that the world does not offer. The gospel is therefore our top priority and our answer to the world of hate, unrest and injustice. (To be continued)

Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Simon Lee