Saturday, September 28, 2019

North/South Korea Unification


In the Bible and Life magazine a priest begins his article: "Tears came to his eyes" recalling the meeting of the two leaders at Panmunjom. From deep inside he felt great heat rising up. "Our desire is unification." Korea to be again one, overcomes us with emotion. The words of our Lord are the prayers of many: ...So that they may be one just as you and I are one" (John 17:11).

 What does this 'oneness? mean?  This is what we should be working and desiring in life. In Korea we all desire unification: some want dialogue, cooperation, but some shout 'Red', we need to overcome them and put them in their place. All want unification but the meaning of the word is different.

 For some unification means all the same—uniformity. North and South both with the same structure, way of thinking, lifestyle no difference. It's like going to a Chinese restaurant and asking for an order of noodle and bean sauce for all. Is that what is meant by unity? Is that even possible?

 We have been separated for over 70 years. The North and South have gone their own different ways. Is it possible to give it all up to become one? We are asking each to give up what they have become. When we shout out North/South Unity— 'Unification Jubilee', we are asking the Communist North to disappear for an iron-fisted type of unity.

 What is the unity that is possible? It is not the unity without differences but a oneness that accepts differences and yet lives together as one nation. This is the unity of the Trinity. Different but understanding one another, respecting each other, patiently influencing each other, compromising, and living together as one nation.

 We have not been able to do this for over 70 years. The reason is the way we understand differences. Differences bring about uncomfortableness. At times fear arises. Different thinking, appearances, personality, different behavior, which at times becomes a threat. Consequently, some see this as wrong and when it comes to living together with the North it means the absence of Communism.

 So what is demanded is both the North/South accept the differences. Jesus showed us the way in his life. He had no difficulty mixing with all kinds of people: the sick, poor, possessed, tax collectors, sinners, Samaritans, foreigners, etc. To the Jews, they were not different but wrong. Jesus saw what was different and what was wrong
and separated what was not according to God's will and accepted what was different and joined them and gave them life and did this with love.

 The love that we need is being separated by the 38th parallel in our hearts. This has to be removed and find ways to begin talking. God is calling us to do just that. "We are ruled by the love of Christ." (II Cor. 5:14) When we can do this all the barbed wire that keeps us separated with disappear and we will be one people again.

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