This past April 20th – 25th, Brother Kyeong Jung Kim attended the second Northeast Asia forum that was jointly hosted by Duke University and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). This forum was more meaningful than last year’s because it took place in Nagasaki, Japan, where the atomic bomb landed in 1945.
The 60 participants, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, American, each from their respective fields and of all denominations, took time to divide and discuss how to apply Christ’s reconciliation ministry in the Church and world, while having earnest concern for the great harm already done. All day, bygones of three countries pressed to learn the question, that can only be settled in Christ, of how the new church as creation can accomplish the impossible work of reconciliation and how to advance this very precious calling of truth given during the reconciliation forum.
The Anabaptist Church is traditionally known to be peace focused. Because of Anabaptist reconciliation ministry, we want to be dedicated to working on the heavy reconciliation things from God. God sent Christ to take care of reconciling people and things, and the church must follow the call to reconciliation ministry. Therefore the redemption side of reconciliation can illuminate how very meaningful this work is.
“That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).
The picture on the right is of the sculpture named “Parable of the Prodigal”, created by Margaret Adams Parker, utilizing the idea of reconciliation as a representative image at Duke Divinity University. However this reconciliation figurine has been filled with a much deeper interpretation from the biblical story. The image captures the father running out in joy and only his slippers to welcome his returning barefooted second son and hear out his story, while the older son turns his face away in despise of the younger brothers repentant words. The younger brother squandered his fortunes, but the older brother obediently listened to his father’s sayings and lived with him. The father’s question shows the older brother that treating the younger brother with mercy and forgiveness is the truth we hope to follow.
As this Northeast Asia Reconciliation forum passes, we received an apology and recompense from Japan for it’s colonization of Korea. Although we were the victims in Japan’s rule, we also admitted the uncomfortable truth that we have also been an attacker and acknowledged the many people Korea killed during the Vietnam war. The truth that may shock everyone is that nations who are victims in a situation, can also be an attacker in another. However the question is church. Christ’s church can never be a victim who also becomes the attacking side and robs people of their lives, because self-indulgent work with national violence is contrary to Christ and blocks the work aligned with him. This forum was a time of peaceful fellowship to hear and see the deep thinking of reconciliations calling.