Tuesday, November 26, 2013


We met more than a quarter century ago in an ecumenical meeting, and liked each other soon after.  Like most of his friends, we called him Bob who likes to stay anonymous.  Bob once said that if any one turned out to be anything special, it’d be a work of the Holy Spirit.  We share the belief that God called and turned the ordinary into someone special.

Bob was a pastor in the Bay area for almost 30 years before being called to be a faculty member of a seminary.  Now he faces his ‘second’ retirement by the end of the current semester.  As the news became public, I could sense that at least his students began to miss him already.

We traveled together quite a bit to several meetings internationally, tried building the dialogue/communication between the denominations as well as the inter-faith communities.  We shared the hotel rooms and ate in the so called Asian hotdog stand often in the past that he even picked up the menu interestingly.

What we shared essentially the most is how the sermons we delivered.  While I believe that a preacher should put one's heart into the sermons, Bob pointed out that he often invested his life in his sermons as if he is preaching his final sermon.  As I joked with him asking how many “final” sermons has he preached, “As many as the Lord allows,” Bob said.

Besides sharing “heart-felt” and “life-threatening” in our sermons, we also share an important friend we call him Jilo who is a retired church Elder and a semi-retired businessman.  What Jilo has done for us is beyond comprehension and we simply treat him as a God-Send-Angel.

When the last time we said prayers together, we had done that in our mother tongues and yet we shared the harmony deeply. 

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