Monday, 30 September 2013

Angel in us - Jeju Island - between heaven and Earth

'Angel in us'  is the name of a global brand of coffee, from I've no idea where,  but I have only encountered it in Korea. It claims to be the best coffee in the world, but I've tasted better. I like the name though, but what on earth it has to do with coffee, again I've no idea..... (maybe someone can enlighten me)

Jeju Island 


Jeju Island is a famous Tourist resort off the coast of South Korea, loads of Chinese tourists and very few westerners. Many take the trail up to the extinct volcanoe Seonggsan llchulbong or Sunrise Peak, a world heritage site. 


I was visiting Jeju island with Bishop Jospeh.  He was preaching at All Souls Anglican Church, Episcopal Church of Korea. It was on the feast of St Michael and All Angels.

St Michaels and All Angels 

The church was a  simple,converted store, unadorned, unpretentious, seating about 100 or so. It was extablished a few years ago.  It has a corrugated roof. Loud when it pours.   It had been raining but fortunately not during the sermon.  Bishop Joseph is a softly spoken man of great integrity. He has a bit of an angel in him... 

He spoke on the supremacy of preaching good news to the poor, over just doing good works or justice. The church in Korea is famous for its House of Sharing programme, which is good but not first priority. Nor are demonstration against government, even though they about justice and peace, they are not priority one. The most important and basic responsibility of the church is to make people know what Jesus, who taught us of God's desire to save humanity.
An angel is fundamentally a messenger of God and a message of hope is what the world so sorely needs. 


Mind you the sermon was in Korean and I had no interpreter.  I did have a copy of the service in English to follow the structure.  And also the Bible Readings: 
  • Genesis 28:10-17. Stairway to heaven 
  • Psalm 103 
  • Rev 12:7-12.  War in Heaven 
  • John 1:47-51  Angels descending and ascending on Son of Man 
I found myself thinking about the Revelation passage and 'War in heaven' and a sermon I had preached (many times) on the War on Drugs and how to overcome addiction (Rev 12:11&12a) 
  • Work of Christ on Calvary (blood of the lamb)- salvation and deliverance
  • Word of confession (the word of their testimony)
  • Way of cross   (they loved not their lives, even unto death) A call to serve (Green Martyrdom)
  • Worship of church.  (rejoice O heavens and you who dwell in them)

Entertaining angels unawares 

The Kindness of Strangers is a book by Kate Aide. She like many of us, has been on the receiving end of overwhelmingly gracious hospitality. It is very humbling.   Barnabas and his wife picking us up and taking us for a meal as we arrived on Jeju Island. An 'angel' from Seoul who let us use her house during our stay.  The Priest, Jeoug Sung driving us to sites of around Jeju Island on the Sunday afternoon and Monday.  Paul and his wife Sarah (he runs and English academy) hosting meals......    One thing I have learned is the great missionary principle (Luke 10:8) : Eat what is set before you.......   #someonehastdoit  :-) 


Where heaven and earth meet


The Cheonjiyeon Falls  The 'Pond of the heavenly Emperor' is  a22 metre waterfall, where heaven meets earth.  Bishop Joseph and I are not quite angels, but the scene is heavenly  It is one of what the Celts called thin places.   
Angels are also meant to be creatures that ascend and descend between heaven and earth like of Jacobs ladder. 


We also went to visit Oedolgae Rock , with its Column apparanetly looking like a huge general looking out to sea who frightened off Mongolian invaders.   Leaving Jeju, as we broke though the clouds, entering the heavenly realms, flying Asiana bound for Gimpo airport, I was left reflecting....................  

........on the lousy airline instant coffee... hardly heavenly and certainly no angels in sight.