I set aside time every morning to read the Bible and The Upper Room daily devotional guide. I have enjoyed and valued this time as sacred moments alone with God. However, my daily sacred ritual has become communal and global.
Last May, I visited the Chinese Methodist Conference Center in Taipei, Taiwan for a Walk to Emmaus ministry event. I eagerly met global leaders of the United Methodist Church throughout each day of the event. We shared stories and expressed our mission and vision, our hopes and dreams for the Walk to Emmaus movement.
One evening, at the end of our meetings, Jackie, a Chinese Methodist Conference staff member, kindly offered me a ride back to my hotel. When we arrived at the hotel entrance, he asked when he should pick me up in the morning, a question that left me overwhelmed by hospitality. Thus far, the city taxi had been my only form of transportation. He invited me to the conference staff’s morning devotion, held every day before work in the office began.
So the next morning, Jackie picked me up and we attended the morning devotion. I did not know what to expect, but my heart trembled with joy and surprise when Bishop Lin began our time together with a reading from the Chinese edition of The Upper Room daily devotional guide!
We gathered around the table, worshipping with hymns, prayers, scripture, and The Upper Room daily devotional guide; it was a time of celebration, a magnificent feast! I was taken aback by their use of The Upper Room daily devotional magazine, and they were pleasantly surprised that The Upper Room supported me. The Chinese Methodist Conference Center of Taipei has been ordering the Chinese edition of The Upper Room from Hong Kong and holding morning devotion every weekday for more than ten years!
When was the last time you had this kind of sacred communal moment? Was it with The Upper Room daily devotional?
Although I constantly travel, now being several thousand miles away from Taiwan, whenever I open my Bible and The Upper Room daily devotional guide and encounter God, I also encounter the people of Taiwan, knowing that we can partake in the same devotion around the world. In my experience, The Upper Room daily devotional is how the world encounters God both privately and communally.
Rev. Im Jung is a Korean-American Christian serving as The Upper Room’s Regional Coordinator for the Program and International Asia-Pacific Ministries. She also leads Walk to Emmaus and Academy for Spiritual Formation communities. Im and her husband, Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, live in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and have two grown sons.