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Lenten Journey of Release & Renewal (Day Thirty-Four)

Day Thirty-Four

Scripture: Mark 11:27-33

27 Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him 28 and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?’ 29 Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.’ 31 They argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say, “Why then did you not believe him?” 32 But shall we say, “Of human origin”?’—they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’


I was ordained as an Elder in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since we could not hold the service inside a building, we gathered in the parking lot of the Conference office in Sacramento. Only a minimal number of participants were allowed, so neither my family nor church members could attend in person. Instead, it was live-streamed for them to watch at home. Thus, we, the pastors ordained on that day, refer to ourselves as the 'Parking Lot Class.' To be honest, I was a bit disheartened that such a once-in-a-lifetime special service couldn’t take place even in a church.

The highlight of the service for me, undoubtedly, was the moment when the bishop laid her hand on my head and said, 'Sungrae Kim, take authority as an elder, to preach the Word of God, to administer the Holy Sacraments, and to guide the life of the Church; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.' To which everyone watching, including myself, responded, Amen!

I often reflect on that day. What does it mean for me to take authority as a pastor? Am I assuming the authority as an Elder? What should it entail when I do so? Does it mean I get to 'rule over' the people in the church? No way! I understand it means I’m called to serve the people as Jesus served others, even to the extent of giving his life.

People questioned Jesus’ authority. 'Do you have credentials? Where did you receive your degree and license? By what authority are you doing these things?' They failed to recognize what Jesus had done—healing the sick, casting out demons, and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. His actions and teachings should have been sufficient proof that he was from heaven.

Now, I’m grateful for the ordination service in the parking lot. That humble beginning of the journey as an ordained pastor serves as a profound reminder that I wear the stole not to elevate myself with some authority but to serve and wash the feet of the people.

May my actions and teachings testify that I’m anointed to serve. May I continue to live out God’s calling each day.


  1. What kind of credentials, degrees, and authorities do you have to do your work?

  2. What kind of actions will testify to the world that we are Christians?

Prayer / Reflection:

Song of Reflection: Act Justly Love Mercy Walk Humbly

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