Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Eve Neighbourhood Noël Dinner and Service


"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)." -Matt. 1:23

We appreciate your prayers for our 2nd annual Christmas Eve Neighbourhood Noël dinner and service. Our desire is to extend the love of Christ to our immediate neighbourhood on Christmas Eve, so we have invited our immediate neighbours as well as folks from the public housing and drop in centre just down the street. Also, we will be singing Christmas Carols in front of our building as we transition our small space at Grace Vancouver from dinner to the worship service.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hsu Prayer Newsletter, 7th Edition

Here is our most recent Prayer Newsletter to our prayer and financial supporters. Thank you for everyone's support and care of us and our work here in Vancouver. And, yes, spoiler alert,... it does include more on Royals baseball : )

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Royal Celebration


A Royal Celebration
Hey Kansas City, today was amazing. Relive the moments here - you'll be talking about this day for years to come. http://kmbc.tv/6185BP57b
Posted by KMBC 9 News Kansas City on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Downtown KC Victory Parade Celebrating the Royals

This is how much the Royals first World Series triumph in thirty years means to the people of Kansas City. Estimates are now that 800,000 people came out for today's parade.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

All Saints Day, . . . A Sacred Spin on the Dead

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?'"         -The Gospel of John 11:25,26

On this Eve of a Hallowed Day 2015, I thought I'd post something on how Nov. 1st, All Saints Day, has become one of my favorite days of the year:

I took the call to Vancouver in large part because of the memory of my late maternal grandparents who meant so much to me in life and are buried nearby in the Bellevue/Seattle area. After spending nearly a decade serving in Haiti among a very superstitious people, being raised in a Taiwanese culture, itself with much involvement with the occult and being somewhat familiar with the Chinese notion of "luck," I look back on my last 25 years as a follower of Christ, and I am deeply grateful that Christ has conquered the grave, and that because of His triumph for His Church Universal, we view death in an entirely different way from the rest of the world. Is death an intruder? Yes. Does it tear at the fabric of human relationships bound together in love and covenant? Yes. Did Jesus weep with a loud shriek of anger and pain standing before his friend Lazurus' tomb? Yes. But is death the great unknown like the Lord Voldemort, the one who must not be named? No. When Tanya and I were looking at one particular rental situation here in Vancouver, a Chinese family turned us down, the reasoning being this: Mike is a pastor, pastors conduct funerals that involve dead people; ergo, we do not want him living in our house for fear of evil spirits coming with him. I chuckle, and I grieve, for so many people live in this way fearing what is considered to be the great unknown; however, for those who know Jesus, we have a different kind of hope and formulate things differently.

In working on my dissertation, I came across this wonderful piece of reading from Philip Sheldrake's Spaces for the Sacred. Sheldrake speaks of how Christianity produced a "reversal of traditional beliefs and practices about death and burial" in the Roman Empire. A new equation emerged:

Cemeteries were sacred from the earliest times. Holy men and women eventually died. Thus it was their burial places, along with those of Apostles and martyrs, which became the most visible monuments of this changed understanding of the sacred as located in people. It was important that the holy dead should continue to exercise their drawing power in the midst of the living. Because a theology of resurrection altered the meaning of death to point onwards to another form of existence, dead people had a special role in Christianity by joining two worlds together. Their tombs were privileged places where contrasting worlds could meet.

The traditional practice in the pre-Christian Roman Empire was to relegate cemeteries outside the walls of cities. But by the end of the sixth century, the tombs of saints were becoming centres of public Church life. There was a kind of theology of real presence that suggested an equation: the saints are 'with God'; the saints continue to be with us; ergo they are mediators in our midst of the presence of divine power– a kind of 'taster' of what was on offer in the other world. This produced a reversal of traditional beliefs and practices about death and burial and was one of the most powerful symbols of the encroachment of a specifically Christian culture into the mainstream of the late Empire. The dead were no longer rigidly excluded from the public life of the city of the living. From the start of its public existence, Christianity engineered a massive and subversive transgression of important boundaries. Spaces for the Sacred, p. 48

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Go Royals!!!

A part of growing up near Kansas City and following a small market baseball team like the KC Royals is that the lows are low and the highs are high. The Royals had not been to the MLB playoffs for 29 years until last year when they went all the way to the World Series and then lost by one run in game 7 of the WS against the San Francisco Giants. I wrote about my excitement last year, of the Royals returning to the WS: KC, KC, Here I Come! My Royals ran into a performance of historic proportions in the work of SF pitching ace Madison Bumgarner, but I was so proud of how hard they played, never giving up, always playing with energy and purpose. Were it not for Bumgarner's other-worldly performance, they would have brought back their second WS title in franchise history back to KC last year. I was a 14-yr.-old in grade 9 when the Royals won their first WS title; back in 1985, I was able to attend Game 2 and an older gentleman leaned over and said, "you will remember this evening for the rest of your life young man." He was right. 

It is now 30 years later (wow, am I that old?! I am : )), and the Royals are up by two games to zero against the New York Mets in the 2015 WS; however, tomorrow night they go to NY for the next three games. Let's see if they can get it done; either way, it is an exciting time to be a KC sports' fan. I read somewhere that 79% of all the televisions in the metropolitan KC area were on for the first game of the WS a couple of nights ago. I imagine that number was even higher last night for game 2. Part of me has contemplated getting on a plane if the WS goes into next week as there is nothing like the broader Kansas City community on fire when one of their sports' teams is doing well; however, even from a distance, up in Canada, it has been an amazing October for me. Though I probably won't make the trip, it has been amazing to follow my team from a distance. In fact, it was fun wearing my KC Royals hat around town here in Vancouver BC while locals were all rooting for the Blue Jays in the ALCS!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Visions of Vocation


I consider Steven Garber to be a friend and mentor- the privilege of the last five years have in large part been due to my time spent with him in my doctor of ministry program. I cannot recommend highly enough to you his book Visions of Vocation. Here I quote an excerpt:

But when I was twenty, . . . in my own late-adolescent longings I thought Marx was close to the truth. He had a passionate commitment to a just world; at least it seemed so to me in my young idealism. He had a comprehensive critique of the world, and of our place in it, and I desperately wanted that too. But as tempted as I was by him, eventually I was drawn even more into another vision of the way the world should be–that of the kingdom of God. When push came to intellectual shove, the Christian vision for the way life ought to be answered my questions and addressed my hopes more fully than did Marx's–and it still does, more than ever.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Converting a Vision of the World and of Life


"There is no point in converting people to Christ if they do not convert their vision of the world and of life, since Christ then becomes merely a symbol for all that we love and want already-without Him. This kind of Christianity is more terrifying than agnosticism or hedonism."

-Alexander Schmemann in his journal

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

God's First Thought of the World


"The Sacrifice of the Son is God's first thought of the world."

-Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ascension Day!


"Today is Ascension Day, and that means that it is a day of great joy for all who can believe that Christ rules the world and our lives."


-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Gift of Resurrection


"Life comes again to us as Gift, a free and divine gift.... Adam is again introduced to Paradise, taken out of nothingness and crowned king of creation. Everything is free, nothing is due and yet all is given. And therefore, the greatest humility and obedience is to accept the gift, to say yes- in joy and gratitude."

-Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World


"He is not here; He is risen!"

-The two angels to the women in Luke 24

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday


"And Adam, when he left the Garden where life was to have been eucharistic–an offering of the world in thanksgiving to God–Adam led the whole world, as it were, into darkness. In one of the beautiful pieces of Byzantine hymnology Adam is pictured sitting outside, facing Paradise, weeping. It is the figure of man himself."

-For the Life of the World, by Alexander Schmemann


"If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. No–it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God's vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment. For this reason, he must also grapple hand to hand with the armies of hell and the dread of everlasting death."

-The Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin