Eugene Cho

I desperately need good news

communion

[photos by HageCreative]

Yesterday was a really sucky day.  A tough day for some reasons I won’t share here but I can share one thing.  I woke up to a phone call very early morning that our non-profit Q Cafe was broken into at some point in the middle of the night.  Whoever – broke in, made a little mess, broke into several office rooms, snagged a laptop, and took the cash from the cafe and live music venue.  We’ll get over the loss and damage but it just sucks bigtime to have someone rob your place. 

But in the scope of the bigger world, it’s nothing.  Even before the news of the break-in, I’ve been recently overwhelmed by heavy news:

  • One of our church folk’s cousin [only 24 years old] died in a tragic accident last week.  While they were ice climbing, she and her boyfriend were struck by ice slides.  She did not survive.
  • The escalation of the war in Gaza has been tough to hear and see.  I ain’t no fan of Hamas or Hezbollah but seeing the death toll of civilian Palestinians rise daily is painful.  Civilian deaths happen during war…  I get it. It still sucks.
  • 27 million slaves.  Still…in 2009?  Crap.  And stories of children as sex slaves?  Outrageous, disgusting, hideous, and painful.
  • And on Sunday night after a very intimate and meaningful evening worship service, I was winding down the night and reading some news online.  I was absolutely heartbroken over the news  in the Seattle Times about the body of a baby boy that was found at a garbage dump near Tacoma, Washington [just south of Seattle].  The dead baby boy was discovered at 2.10pm on Sunday Monday.  Reading the news just brought a dark gloom over me.   The 16 year old mother and 41 year old father are both in custody.  Details have yet to be released behind the story but it doesn’t matter…a baby literally thrown away as garbage?  Sigh.

Interestingly, I preached on the Lord’s Table this past Sunday and attempted to explain why Quest Church hosts and celebrates communion every Sunday.  For many folks, it’s an odd experience.  Some have said they would rather have more music and the occasional spiritual masochist wants longer sermons.

Why?

Simply, we celebrate communion because we desperately need to hear Good News.  We celebrate communion because we have been given Good News by the Grace of God.

There’s so much bad news all around us.  

But the Lord’s Table is a sacrament.  Sacraments are a visible form of God’s invisible grace.  In short, it’s a sign of God’s promise. It’s a demonstration of His Love and Grace.   It is Good News.

Why do we celebrate community every Sunday?  

Because the church must proclaim the Good News – even in the midst of brokenness around us.   God sending His Son, Jesus Christ,  is Good News.  Jesus as the perfect Lamb of God is Good News.  Jesus showing us the way of Shalom is Good News.   God’s new covenant through His son Jesus is Good News.  The resurrection is Good News.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is Good News.

I can’t speak for you but I need to be reminded of Good News – especially on days like yesterday when I was feeling overwhelmed.  

Good News.  

The world news to be reminded…

And I don’t care what kind of church you are:  Traditional, Mainline, Conservative, Liberal, Emerging, Post-emerging, Calvinist, Reformed, Presbyterian, Catholic, Missional, or [insert category here]…

We should always be committed to being heralds, doers, and ambassadors of the Gospel of Jesus that is truly Good News.

the Lord's Table

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, quest church, seattle

23 Responses

  1. Samuel says:

    I really appreciated your sermon from this past Sunday. As you shared, I come from a church background where we rarely celebrated Communion but at Quest, it’s a weekly reminder and renewal.

  2. gar says:

    Robbing the cafe / church offices? What a punk/punks. Glad to hear nobody got hurt, though.

    Hope God tugs at their conscience to return what they stole…

  3. Jim Chen says:

    Thanks for that reminder! Added to my list of goals for 2009 is pray for ministering opportunities with my neighbors.

  4. Eugene,

    Thanks for sharing and i am so sorry Q Cafe was vandalized. That sucks and even though there are far worse things going on, it’s still a sad thing for you guys. Will be praying for you guys!

    i lived in Northern Ireland for 2 years and trying to understand the “trouble” was very difficult. Some there told me that when you think you have a grasp and understand the ‘Troubles’, then you really don’t. This is me on the whole Paletine/Israel Gaza conflict. i just can’t seem to get my head around this mess. That is all i really understand: It is a mess that is killing innocents on BOTH sides.

    i appreciate your tender heart towards others and have much to learn from you. THANK YOU! i want to meet you when i visit Seattle the next time.

    Warm Regards,

    E{

  5. Thanks for sharing. I will be praying for you.

  6. It’s a cold world we live in. That’s why churches like yours and mine are necessary. I get sick too reading some of the garbage but I always temper it knowing that God has given us a tremendous responsibility to try to bring SOME hope to this dark world.

    Good post.

  7. Thom says:

    The Eucharist is our safe haven and mysterious reminder that the community of the kingdom is light in great darkness. Thanks for your meditation.

  8. jaredmlee says:

    wow – well said. The table should be a place we regularly run for comfort from the pain that comes from living in the brokenness.

    thanks for the encouragement!

  9. Matthew says:

    Eugene,

    I’m really sorry about what happened to the Cafe. It’s never a fun thing to have your home or place of work or worship be broken into and robbed. And along with everything else that’s going on in the world, I definitely sympathise – I’m one of those guys who sometimes gets really neurotic about these kinds of things (I remember being almost physically ill at seeing the plight of the civilians in Tskhinvali back in August when the Georgians attacked them; the Gaza situation for me was much the same).

    At the same time, thanks for reminding us why we share in the body and blood of Christ, and why we have to keep committing ourselves to the way of the cross.

    Best, and here’s to a better year than the last,
    Matthew

  10. jan owen says:

    Eugene, I rejoice today that your heart is tender enough to be broken. When we are unaffected by the sin and desperation around us, we are in more trouble than ever. Being broken over what surely breaks the heart of God is an indication of oneness with Christ, an indication that we are concerned for more than ourselves, an indication we care and are a human at it’s best, which is only possible through Christ.

    I think being broken over what breaks the heart of God means we are awake to God and to the world around us and to His purposes in this world. That is not a comfortable place to be.

  11. Judy says:

    Pastor Eugene,
    I am one of the silent ones that checks in on you regularly. I am sorry about the break in at QCafe. I pray these events, all over, do not become routine, but, I fear they will.
    Now for the good news…after my Bible time in the morning, I put my Cathedrals Quartet in the cd player and get a dose of good news…permit me to share some of the lyrics…
    I’ve just started living, I’ve found me a brand new life, changed my direction, washed away all my stife…load’s a gettin’ lighter, days are gettin’ brighter, I’ve just started living!

    Lily of the Valley, let your sweet aroma fill my life, Rose of Sharon show me how to grow in beauty in God’s sight, Fairest of Ten Thousand make me a reflection of your love, Daystar shine down on me, let your love shine through me in the night. Lead me Lord, I’ll follow, anywhere you open up the door, let me know your witness, show me things I’ve never seen before. Lord I want to be your witness, you can take what’s wrong and make it right, Daystar shine down on me….

    I’ve read the back of the book…and WE WON!!!

    How could a night be so long? Then came the morning, night turned into day, the stone was rolled away, hope rose with the dawn. Then came the morning, shadows vanished before the sun, death had lost and life had won for morning had come!

    Well, you get the idea. Hope this small voice from afar(Ohio) can help to encourage you today…

  12. JG says:

    Eugene – I am praying for you and your church today! God is doing amazing things through you and your church! I have been touched by what you are doing in the Seattle area. God is going to continue to do great things! Remember – He put you there for His purposes – Look for how He is working even in the midst of “sucky” days.

    I also appreciate your comments about the Lord’s Supper. We too share the Lord’s Supper weekly but not weakly! It is the highlight of every Lord’s Day.

    Hang in there! From your Brother in Florida!

  13. Johnny Laird says:

    So sorry to hear about the break in, Eugene. It’s gut wrenching when that happens.

    Keep walking the way of Jesus.

    Peace & blessings

    J

  14. This does sucks! Sorry to hear about that. May the Lord work through your days, Eugene, in some powerful and complicated ways…

  15. ryan says:

    Eugene – sorry to hear about the break-in. Ministry in the urban can suck sometimes. But so many leave and I’m glad you guys are there. I suppose it’s part of the cost.

  16. Andy Larsen says:

    Eugene,

    I’m with you. The story of the baby was rather heavy. I wonder how God carries all these burdens and am glad he/she is God and not me.

    Our home got broken into 6 times in the space of 2 years when we lived in Mexico, once when we were sleeping, with little kids and all. It is a horrible feeling. Another time we came home from a short vacation and found the house in disarray, drawers pulled out and contents missing or thrown. It feels like a personal assault. We later found out that one of the break-ins was a personal friend, a young teenager that we had trusted to wash our car. Uggg. All very ugly. But in the midst God protected us and carried us through and as you say, there are things going on in the world more weighty to be concerned about. But it weighs on you, personally. It is now fun being a target. I will pray for you today.

    Thanks also for the plug on Sunday. It was a tremendous worship service/sermon. I am continually uplifted and challenged at Quest.

  17. Andy Larsen says:

    Ooops. Meant to say “no” fun being a target instead of “now” fun being a target. Interesting how one little “w” can drastically change the meaning.

  18. eugenecho says:

    hey folks,

    thanks for the kind and encouraging words. the cafe staff are all fine. and i’m doing much better. just needed to dust off the initial sucky feeling. was encouraged when i gathered with the other staff and we prayed for whoever broke in.

    interestingly [and kinda funny], they broke into four rooms except the the two rooms with “queest church offices] on the doors. others didn’t. i don’t know. thought that was funny.

    @andy: pastor ray shared about an occasional attender at the former ICC breaking into their church years ago. as you know, he said it really sucked.

  19. Just Meee~ says:

    OK… it sucks! But let me tell you about my enlightenment. My dad was in a BIG name hospital for months outside of Chicago, on death’s door – my mom never left him for a moment… she knew every nurse and they all knew my mom and dad. I came to visit and my mom and when I was leaving she walked me to the elevator – in that brief 30 seconds one of his favorite nurses came in and took all the $$$ in my mom’s purse along with her gas credit card.

    I was devistated!

    AND often when I don’t understand, I call on GOD to help me understand… somehow HE opens my vision and lets me understand. I was troubled by this thift and asked HIM for understanding!

    The LORD opened my vision and told me how it was only $$$ to us,,, but it was the Nurse’s “test”…. and she didn’t do too well !

    So… sometimes you have to call on the LORD to open your vision and let you better understand why….

    Hope this made some sense… it did to me when it happened!

  20. jimmymccarty says:

    You need good news…

    Today someone was freed from slavery because of the work of good people.

    Today someone received a meal in Haiti because someone else donated money.

    Today someone who once was homeless is still in their own place with the help of our non-profit.

    Today someone with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa received cheap ARV’s and will live a little longer.

    God is still present today, often in the places we don’t want to look.

    Yes, the world sucks in many ways in many places, but don’t lose sight of the good that is being done and will be done.

    Grace and peace.

  21. Pam Christensen says:

    PE-
    thank you for your sermon on Sunday. I was at that place on Sunday, too-personal/family struggles, friends in pain, national/international news. Thank you for the reminder that even in the midst of whatever we are going through, we are in community. Communion reminds us that we are a part of the body of Christ TOGETHER.

    @jimmy-thank you for that.

  22. chad m says:

    amen on celebrating communion. it is the sustenance we desperately need.

  23. Joe Hunich says:

    Eugene-

    Great post. I like the idea of constantly being reminded of The Good News through communion, and I love the charge for the church to be the proclaimers of good news in the midst of tough times. Thanks for the encouragement on that!

    Also, if you want to read some good news (as in positive/uplifting news stories) check out our site http://www.majoritymag.com (We even wrote about the Q Cafe last summer http://majoritymag.com/2008/08/25/q-cafe/)

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I love my church. So proud of the ways they seek to embody compassion and justice. Some of them were in downtown Seattle this week to demonstrate their solidarity with Ferguson.

I'm in the middle of a 3 month sabbatical at Quest. I'm grateful for this time of rest and rejuvenation...but I miss my church dearly. Can't wait to be back in October. There are some amazingly beautiful churches around the world. Just remember though that true worship begins when you exit the church walls and live out your faith and convictions.

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