Pastor Paul’s monthly article (taken from the August edition of The Chimes):
Pastor’s Reflections
Rev. Paul H. Lee

With a sermon series on Moses, I’m reading the Exodus. In chapter 28, God anointed Moses’ brother Aaron and his sons as priests. We find the vestments for the priesthood: a breastpiece, ephod, robe, tunic, turban, and sash. These are so colorful with gold, blue, purple, crimson yarns, and fine linen.

What caught my eyes is “two onyx stones” on the shoulders. I love these onyx stones. God commends to engrave on them the names of the twelve tribes, six tribes on each. These two onyx stones will be set on the high priest Aaron’s shoulders for remembrance of the sons of Israel. It is a beautiful picture of the priest’s spiritual responsibility to listen, lead, and take care of the whole Israelites. Isn’t it beautiful?

With the onyx stones, I think of our communal responsibility in the Wesley community. As followers of Jesus Christ, you and I are called to be royal priesthoods, God’s people. (1 Peter 2:9) We have our spiritual “onyx stones” on our shoulders, engraved the names of other fellow Wesley family, our neighbors, and the people on earth. I have your names on my shoulders. And you also have many people’s names, including my names, on your shoulders. It is a mutual responsibility we have for all God’s people.

This beautiful picture of the onyx stone can be even more meaningful in this season. This global health crisis is not God’s punishment or one like plagues we find in the Exodus. It’s an epidemic disease that can rapidly spread on a large scale. If one is less careful, one might have a higher chance of having this illness, and bring it to the family members and community. So, these days, wearing a mask is an act of love, and protecting yourself is one of many ways to protect your beloved ones. We have a mutual responsibility for one another.

As we resume our in-person worship, this onyx stones have caught my eyes. We have community responsibility for one another, not only protecting our beloved ones, but also our spirituality. It is like, “I have your back in my prayers and supports. And you have my back in reverse.” I believe that’s the picture God wants us to have for our Wesley community and beyond. Amen.

Peace In Christ,
Rev. Paul H. Lee