June 23, 2014

Welcoming a Prophet

            In Matthew 10, Jesus offers an enigmatic statement, “Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous  . . . (v. 41).  Prior to this, he declared that when someone welcomes a disciple of his, they have welcomed him.  Further, this action is truly welcoming God, the one who had sent him.
            Most of the chapter leading up this pronouncement is about how those sent represent the sending one.  Granted the dignity of sharing the presence of Christ, these missionary disciples must depend upon the hospitality of those whom they serve.  Indeed, this is a continuing calculus for those who give themselves to ministry.  Receiving one sent by God brings its own reward.
            Last evening I was privileged to meet congregational leaders of the Kansas Mission Church, founded by a Central alumnus, Rev. Seung Lee.  A gifted church planter, he has founded two more churches subsequently, one in Atlanta, and one in San Diego.  The “returning home” visit of this visionary leader sparked enthusiasm in the church, and those elders (who probably were “youngers” then) were delighted to tell him of the flowering of what he planted.  He was deeply moved by their welcome.

            As the Korean population of Central’s student body has grown, I have grown ever more appreciative of the missionary history in Korea and, even more, of the concern Korean Christians have to bear witness around the world.  “We are every where,” one of the leaders remarked with appropriate pride.
            The first place I visited when in Seoul in March 2013 was the missionary cemetery, honoring those who arrived in the 1880’s.  Their labor was not in vain, and Christianity continues to grow in South Korea.  Beautiful in form and practice, this expression of discipleship has transformed a Confucian culture to a Christ-like faith.

            Today Central will host a significant Korean Doctor of Ministry cohort, taught by gifted Korean scholars.  As we learn more about global Christianity and the significant of contextual theology, we are more able to continue the mission Central has pursued for 113 years.  Working with global partners shapes church for the living of these days, and we are grateful.

            Molly T. Marshall

            Central prepares women and men for seeking God, shaping church, and serving humanity.

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