Council for World Mission (CWM) held its New Year Worship Service with Holy Communion during the staff devotion on 10 January 2022 at 5:00 PM Singapore Time, attended virtually by CWM global staff from various regions. The General Secretary, Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, delivered the sermon, followed by the Holy communion service led by Rev. Julie Sim, Mission Secretary to East and South Asia. The staff members have brought their own communion elements signifying cultural diversity and participated in the communion remembering Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection as a sign of hope in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
During his sermon, titled “The Holy Seed of Remnants”, the General Secretary spoke about three theological terms: “remnant”, “revival”, and “renewal”.
The term “remnants” echoes the biblical reference to Israelites who remained faithful to their covenant with God in Babylon, during a time when Israel and Judah remained divided kingdoms enslaved by foreign powers. Speaking from Isaiah 6:8-13, he said, “Even when the world is like a “cut-down tree” and there seems to be no hope, God still preserves “the remnants” as “the stump” and “the holy seed” in order to work through them.
The second term, “Revival”, refers to Isaiah’s promise that the remnants would return to Jerusalem for a God-given purpose after their Babylonian exile, where they will truly rely on the Lord, and not on secular power – a promise made concrete in the restoration of the Temple.
While the temple’s reconstruction symbolised the “revival” of faith in Yahweh, the remnant community of Israel had to undergo “Renewal”, or social transformation, to establish a fair and just society.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, mission works are like the ‘cut-down trees,’ with their activities curtailed. Dr Keum emphasised Isaiah’s promise that God still preserves “The Holy Seed of the Remnants” for the renewal and revival of the inhabited earth and asked, “Who shall be the remnants for God’s mission?”
In a world where accumulation of power and wealth and survival of the fittest is the norm, God chooses the poor, foolish and powerless (1 Corinthians 1:18-31) to further His mission of justice and peace so that life may flourish.
Believing that God has chosen CWM as the holy seed of remnants, Dr Keum called the staff members to be the ‘transforming disciples’ who are constantly open to being transformed, individually and communally, into people who reflect the Lord Jesus in their words, actions, and attitudes. He highlighted that in our discipleship journey, “we are privileged to join in the mission of the Triune God, working together towards life, living out the values of the Kingdom of God, and engaging in mission from the margins.”
Dr Keum had also emphasized vulnerability in mission, a concept which requires us to confront with every theology and mission strategy that glorifies money, power, success and greed, and to find practical ways to live as one Body of Christ, knowing that God opposes the proud, welcomes and empowers the poor and afflicted, through the power of the Holy Spirit manifested in our vulnerabilities.
Finally, Rev. Dr Keum exhorted the staff, as transforming disciples, to proclaim the hope and joy that God is creating from the margins. As he closed, he reminded, “In the midst of agonies, despair, and cries of life in this pandemic-stricken world, it is our mission to seek alternative values, ways of life, and communities to reveal the shalom in God’s kingdom on earth by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The sermon was followed by intercessions and the Holy Communion before the worship service was closed by General Secretary’s benediction.