Author: Jake Kim | Category: Lifestyle | Date: 06-20-2020
I love my church. Fifteen years ago, before I could even remember anything, my family and I walked our first step into the San Francisco Grace Korean Presbyterian Church. Throughout those fifteen years, I grew up spending 2/7 of my days at church, which is rare for a pastor’s kid, as most pastors move to a different church after working for a few years. Because of this, I was given an uncommon opportunity to witness the qualities of my church and how it changed over time.
My church has an abundance of loud, obnoxious children. They usually play by themselves, causing a ruckus around the church. Occasionally, I get bored and interact with the children, which is always a horrible, horrible decision. Once you satisfy them with a game of hide-and-seek or tag, they will consider you as their new best friend, and won’t stop bugging you for a few weeks. If you try to avoid them, they create a cacophony of screaming and restless footsteps that will annoy you just as much as any physical interaction with them.
And once you escape the cacophony of the loud children, you are met with the sounds of the grown-ups playing table tennis, which isn’t as bad as the children. But occasionally, they let out an unexpected shout that is certain to make you jump out of your seat and make your blood pressure spike up, no matter how prepared you are for it.
At times, you are met with quite the opposite. In contrast to the children’s group, the youth group is surprisingly empty. Even the absence of one person changes the atmosphere of the youth service and makes all interactions seem more awkward than usual. Sometimes I’m the only one who is there, which tempts me to stoop down to the children, which is never a good idea.
Then there are the elders. There’s nothing wrong with them in particular. They are all amazing people who always treat you with the kindest gestures. However, I find interactions with them to be the worst. Every time you have a conversation with them, you have to decipher their strong country Korean accent. At often times, I respond without really understanding what they said and they give you a surprising look or response, which happens to be the only decipherable part of the conversation. I always walk away in embarrassment, not knowing what I had just said or agreed to.
But I still love my church. Sure, there are loud children and adults, an empty youth group, and undecipherable elders, but everywhere I look, the church is full of life. There are children who grow up in the church just as I had in the past, who promise the future of the church. There are adults, who secure the current health of the church. While there aren’t too many people in the youth group, the emptiness allows me to escape from the ruckus. There are elders, who are full of wisdom and kindness and help govern the ways of the church. While these aspects of my church make me feel uncomfortable at times, they are also what defines the church. Without these aspects, there would be no church for me to love.