We are in the Auschwitz concentration camp at night. The early winter moonlight is cold and white as it shines inside the barracks.The inmates look ghostly lying in line and the barracks in complete silence. It is not too difficult to imagine such a scene. This is often the background in movies and documentaries.
Breaking the silence is a song from the corner of the barracks. It is a song of an ancient Hebrew prayer called "Kol Nidre". Moonlight shines on the face of an old man staring at the night sky through the window. The prisoners wake up quietly, one by one, and stare at the moonlit face of the old man. At the end of the song their faces show signs of joy. The old man was so engrossed in singing his prayers that he didn't notice that the inmates were listening.
One of the survivors from Auschwitz, Leon Szalet testified that the hope that had begun in the death camp that night was "a delight that only those who have fallen to the bottom" can experience. The testimony of Szalet arose in the thoughts of our writer in his article in the Peace Weekly for Mission Sunday Oct. 20th, due to Korea's gloomy religious reality.
Religious people talk too freely and easily about God they believe. Questions about the biggest difficulties and puzzles in life are met with ready answers and great conviction. For a while, this was heard on TV healing programs, but nowadays the public square has become a battlefield for political ideology. The writer does not have the ability to comment on the extreme remarks of the few people coming from the square.
In the society in which we live, if a religious scandal hits the media, all religions will be mocked on a large scale. Many of the Zacchaeuses (Luke 19,1-10), who are in the Sycamore trees will, descend from the tree and just return home. God-denying atheists, skeptics, who have been curious about Jesus Christ just turn their backs and walk away.
What song should Christians sing in this dark night? What song should you sing to the Zacchaeuses in the trees.Those who cry in the pit of pain what song will bring them the hope of deliverance?
The Zacchaeuses of this age want to hear God's promise to be with us even at the time of death. When such a song of salvation is heard, you will sit and listen in a devotional manner like the Auschwitz prisoners. In addition, the Zacchaeuses are thirsting for unity. This is because we are tired of conflict and dividing into factions.
The Christian faith is small but an intense spark. The flame must not be buried in the ashes of conflict. To be neutral or have vague attitudes are signs of spiritual laziness. Coming out of the ashes, you have to ignite the desire for harmony and healing. People are hurting because of all the conflict and hatred, but why not sing the gospel song of reconciliation, forgiveness, love, and brotherhood?
We look forward to seeing in our religious leaders a message of healing and unity. That is the song that Christians should sing now, and the good news for which Korean society is waiting. Suddenly, our writer misses Cardinal Kim Su-hwan.