Recently, the World Cup in Brazil has sparked interest among Koreans, as well as people all over the world. Many Koreans were praying for the miracle that the team would make it to the semi-finals like in 2002. However on June 27th, The Korean team lost their match against Belgium, and failed to advance to the second round of the World Cup.
There was a man by the name of Hiddink, who brought Korean people great joy by leading the team to the semifinals in the the 2002 World Cup. As a foreign coach, he selected highly skilled players without the nepotism and regionalism which are still prevalent in the Korea Football Association. Under the leadership of Hiddink, the different players fused into one team, and South Korea made it to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup.
There is a similar example at the World Cup in France, in 1998. As the host country, France organized a very diverse soccer team. Half of the soccer players were pure-white Frenchman, and the others were African players from France's former North African colonies. The eleven players, came from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and won the World Cup.
There is similar event in the Bible. It is the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost written in Acts 2.
One hundred-twenty people, who had different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, had been meeting together in a place called, “Mark's upper room”. In that place, Jesus’ disciples were preaching the gospel, “the Son of God, Jesus, died on the Cross and rose again for our salvation.” Even though this gospel was spoken in Hebrew, something amazing happened: Everyone sitting in Mark's upper room spoke different languages, yet they understood the gospel.
How did this happen? This is because the Holy Spirit is with them. The Holy Spirit allowed people from diverse cultures become united and communicate with each other. The Holy Spirit allows it so people could open their mind to others.
People greatly rejoiced over the descent of the Holy Spirit. For this great joy, the book of Acts states: "They have had too much wine."
This joy and excitement of the pleasure the Holy Spirit are incomparable to that of the World Cup. It is so called “World-People-Cup” of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit makes us confess that Jesus is the Son of the God and our Savior. With this faith, the Holy Spirit changes our life from the sorrow to joy.
Recently, the number of the Church members in Korea as well as the West is decreasing considerably every year. Why is that? Korean churches members are quite group oriented. Church members want to make groups with people who have similar ideals as them and have the same background. It drives the Church toward division and conflict without embracing the diversity of people. On the other hand, western Christians have a strong tendency to confess their faith not communally, but individually due to individualistic dispositions.
However, the history of the Holy Spirit is totally different. The Holy Spirit can unite us and allow us to communicate with each other. It is not exclusion, but embracement. The Holy Spirit requires us to confess our faith together in a church community, not in alone. That is why the Holy Spirit is sometime called: "the Spirit of the Communication," or “the Spirit of the Unit".
Now, the Holy Spirit invites us to the festival of ‘World-people-Cup’. When the Holy Spirit comes on us, our life can be changed into great joy. Even though the World Cup is coming to an end, the World-people-Cup still happens.
Reverend and Doctor Jin O, Jeong is an assistant pastor for Korean congregation at Zion Lutheran Church, Belleville, IL. He graduated from Luther University and received a Ph.D from Yousei University. He was also a Research Fellow at Hebrew University and Visiting Scholar at Yale Divinity School. Tel: 618-920-9311 Email : email@example.com